CAVE GRAVA GARDIKI (HALIKOUNAS)
Cave Grava Gardiki is located in Agios Mattheos, 22 kilometres southwest of Corfu in an olive grove on an altitude of 60 metres. The cave overlooks the sea and gives a wonderful view across the entire southern part of the island. The area is very close to the Byzantine fortification of Gardiki.
Cave Grava Gardiki is a horizontal cave with two entrances and a length of about 20 metres. Near the southeastern entrance there are large rocks, indicating a larger extent of the cave in the past. Cave Grava Gardiki is 20 metres wide and 13 metres high and has a rocky roof which succumbed to gradual erosion and massive precipitation.
It used to be a base for hunters and food gatherers and is considered to be one of the most important locations in the pre-historic era in Greece. The first excavations began in 1965 by professor-prehistorian Augustus Sordinas. Evidence of human population was revealed, dating back to the last phases of the Upper Paleolithic Era (20,000 B.C). Excavations found tools made of flint, animal bones such as boar and deer and two tiles with ochre remains.
It is worth noting that in the Palaeolithic period the level of the sea was much lower and Corfu was not an island but connected to the mainland of Greece. Separation from Epirus occurred during the Neolithic period, around 10,000 B.C., when the sea level rose as the ice melted.
The cave is accessible and very informative for children (under direct supervision of an adult only). The cave is not suitable for people with disabilities, because of some climbing.