The ancient Kerameikos was on the north – west fringes of ancient Athens and extended both inside and outside the walls which now traverse the site of the excavations. In the centre of the site, very close to each other, can been seen the most famous gates of ancient Athens, the Dipylon and the Sacred Gate. The area around these gates was the most ancient and largest cemetery known in Attica, which was continuously used from the 9th century B.C. until the late Roman period. It was also the burial site of the citizens honoured by the city of Athens. Kerameikos, according to the traveller Pausanias, was named after Keramos, a hero of the deme oh Kerameis. But most probably the name is due to a settlement of potters on the banks of the Eridanos River. (Kerameikos, ceramic or having to do with ceramics or ceramists).
The ancient demos of Kerameikos included an area much larger than the one excavated. It is believed that it stretched from the north-west limits of the Agora to the grove named after the hero Academos.
Its tombs and stelae are what Kerameikos is mainly known for. Strolling around them you will have the chance to admire the marble bull inside the enclosure of the tomb Dionysios from Kollytos; also the replica of the well known stele of Dexileos, placed where the original used to be and the stele of Hegeso (late 5th century B.C.). If you wish to see the original stele as well as other finds from the excavation, you may visit the Kerameikos Museum as well as the National Archaeological Museum.