Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Lefkada is responsible for the works at Aktio Fortress, Vonitsa and Nafpaktos Castles. The works in all three castles started in the summer of 2020 when the recruitment of the required personnel was completed according to the current legislation. Immediately, hand tools, technological equipment (laptops, printers, digital cameras, etc.) were purchased, the supply of fuel was contracted, project launch signs were placed at the castles, and the first aerial photography of all three monuments was carried out.
The supply of building and special building materials and the rental of various (for each castle) vehicles-machines with operator – after a tender – are in the stage of contracting. The scientific staff of the project (archaeologists and architects) conducts historical and archaeological research for all three castles. The composition of studies began, as well as the collection of the necessary display material (drawings, engravings, old photographs, etc.). At the same time, entries are being written, and display material is being collected for ca. 15 more Byzantine and post-Byzantine castles in Aetolia-Acarnania, material that will be used in the implementation of the permanent digital exhibition at the Castle of Vonitsa.
A detailed photographic archive for each monument is gradually created (photographs with details of the fortification and the various monuments inside, as well as photographs before, during and after the completion of each work).
As in the case of the Castle of Vonitsa, so in the Fortress of Actium, extensive purifying and deforestation were carried out inside the wall and its allure, but also in its external surroundings, covered by a grove of eucalyptus trees. Trees and plants, creating a major static problem at the monument, were uprooted (AKTIO 1).
Work inside the Fortress was focused on the inner triangular courtyard, the ascent ramp and the allure. In the courtyard, dense vegetation and earth removal works were carried out, which led to the discovery of new information, concerning the past and the historical and archaeological documentation of the monument: part of the floor, walls and a rectangular built tank of modern times (AKTIO 2). In the eight small, open semi-outdoor spaces extending along the southern inner side of the ground floor, pilot trenches were initially dug, and then fragmentary surviving floors or floor substrates were fully unearthed (AKTIO 3-4) proving that the Fortress was in use until a few decades ago. A landing was discovered on the ascent ramp, which we did not know existed, while on the allure of the western side but also in the north-western bastion, the shaping and excavation works brought to light remains of floors and new walls (AKTIO 5–6).
Regarding the planned restoration works, the architectural study has been carried out, and the approval for its implementation is pending by the competent Council of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. By the end of the April, the drainage works of the water flooding the courtyard and the surrounding area of the Fortress, due to its direct contact with the sea, making it extremely difficult to protect, will be completed. Finally, the supply and installation of external lighting of the monument have been assigned (with respective dates of delivery of materials and installation of floodlights on the 28.02.2021 and 30.09.2021), so that it is bright at night and visible from the opposite side of the Ambracian Gulf (i.e. the city of Preveza).