One of the largest and most important caves of Diros, the cave of Alepotripa was detected by accident by the couple Petrocheilos in 1958. The cave consists of spacious rooms and labyrinthine corridors with a total length of 280 m depth. Within the largest room of the cave, lies a lake with clean potable water. Excavations in the cave began in 1970 by G. Papathanasopoulos and brought to light findings confirming the use of the cave by humans during the Modern and Final Neolithic period (to 3000 BC, approximately). These findings include utilitarian pots, storage jars, stone and bone tools, loom weights, jewelry etc. What is more, archaeological investigations produced evidence that there was habitation of both the interior, and the cave was used as a dwelling, a warehouse for goods or a place for various group activities or a landfill.
The cave of Alepotripa goes about 500 m deep and has various levels surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites. The total length of the area is 6,500 square meters and the main cave leads to a beautiful lake with depth of 6 meters. The findings of the excavations also include human skeletons and skulls and skeletons of animals that were not being buried. At the end of the Final Neolithic (3200 BC), severe earthquakes occurred, resulting to the trapping of the caves’ inhabitants inside. Speleologists N. and A. Petrocheilos, who located the cave in 1958, discovered their remains. The entrance of the cave was closed for more than 45 centuries. Among the findings are tools, marble small statues and vases and Neolithic shells. Today, visitors can visit the small museum as the cave is not open for the public yet.
The cave of Alepotripa was a place where many ceremonies and group burials occurred. Scientists report that there are so far about 160 burials inside the cave, dating from 7,000 to 5,200 years ago, when the spread of agriculture in Europe began. Archeologists claim that there are no other Neolithic communities as such with so many burials, elsewhere in Europe. The director of the excavations and president of the Center Neolithic Studies, George A. Papathanasopoulos, has devoted his life to this monument since 1970.