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Informations générales
Numéro de notice 455
Année de l'opération 2007
Date de modification 2009-10-21
Nature de l'opération Fouille - Sauvetage
Institution(s) American School of Classical Studies at Athens:  Ministry of Culture (IΔ' ΕΠΚΑ)
Fiche(s) associée(s) 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013
Mitrou. E. Zahou (IΔ' ΕΠΚΑ) and A. Van de Moortel (ASCSA/Tennessee) report on the 2007 excavation season.
In 2007, the excavated area expanded to 608.95m2 (1.7% of the site above sea level). Surface survey continued (covering a total of 6,175m2, or 17% of the site). Documentation of the E sea scarp of the islet has now identified 27 occupational strata spanning almost the entire BA occupation of the site. Geological drilling (J. Foss) established that archaeological strata in the terrestrial part of the site continue at least 1.1m below sea level.
Excavation in 2007 substantially increased our understanding of the E LBA as well as of the LBA/EIA transition: it also revealed the first evidence of EBA and MBA occupation. In the E sea scarp (trench LX784), an EH II building with baked roof tiles similar to those from the House of Tiles at Lerna must have been an important building of its period. There was continuity of occupation from EH III to MH II, despite occasional fire destructions.
The discovery of the remains of an EH III or MH I wooden boat is very important for our understanding of BA Aegean boat building. No wood survives, but the disintegration of the hull left a black stain in the clay ground (Fig. 1). The upper part of the boat had disappeared, but its presence could be identified in the scarp’s stratigraphy. The excavated part of the hull (around half) is ca. 3m l. The total l. is estimated at 5.5−6m and the w. at ca. 1m. The hull is only 0.02m thick. It curves gently in plan view, profile and cross section, but had a blunt extremity. The boat was found in a long, narrow space between 2 walls. Its use and mode of propulsion are as yet unknown, but its modest size suggests that it was a fishing boat or small transport vessel. This is only the 4th small boat discovered at a PH site in Greece and the first of BA date. Outlines of 3 much smaller LNeo and FNeo boats have been discovered at Dispilio in Macedonia and the very scant wooden remains of a much larger sea-going cargo ship, possibly of Cypriot origin, were found in the sea off Point Iria in the Argolid. No wooden boat remains have ever been found in M Crete or the BA Cyclades, despite their seafaring tradition in PH. Such scarcity of finds makes the discovery at Mitrou highly significant for our understanding of boat building in the BA Aegean.
Habitation in the NW area was temporarily interrupted before the end of MH II until the beginning of LH I, and the area was used as a burial ground. Further excavation is required to determine whether there was a similar shift in the NE area.
In LH I new buildings were constructed in both areas, including in the NE area the monumental building D (Fig. 2). Throughout its lifetime building D was bordered by 3m w. orthogonal pebble streets to the W and N: the area to its E may have belonged to the same compound, separated by a terrace wall from the higher pebble street to the N. No pebble street has been found to the S, but this area needs more exploration. It is now clear that building D was destroyed by fire in LH IIIA2E, contemporary with the fire destruction of building F and of structures to the N and S of building D.
In the NW area, occupation levels from LH I through LH IIB, contemporary with building D, have been traced over a substantial area. At least 2 rooms belong to a new LH II structure, building H, of which the full extent is yet unknown. A  no point in LH I or LH II is it clear whether this was a single structure, as suggested by the 2005 geophysical survey, or whether it was always a cluster of structures. LH I−LH IIB architecture in the NW area consists of small rooms with thin rubble walls usually ca. 0.4−0.5m w. Exposed areas have a utilitarian character and show diverse craft activities in both LH I and LH II. The most important was purple dye manufacture (LH I−LH IIB). Other activities were stone tool production (LH I) and lead working (LH IIB). In LH I, animals of different kinds, including deer, were slaughtered and prepared on or around a platform in an open area in trench LE792. The presence of high-quality fine tableware in the same levels suggests the presence of a well-appointed residential area somewhere nearby. Aspecial find is the horse bridle piece from the Balkans in a LH I destruction level (Fig. 3).
Following the LH IIIA2 E fire destruction in the NE area, a reoccupation level of unknown extent is identified in building F and at least a partial resurfacing of the pebble street immediately adjacent to it and further N.
A new discovery in 2007 was an LH IIIC L occupation stratum in the NE area, including reoccupation of building F and new structures, buildings C and G. Poorer quality construction and a preference for sunken floors continue into EPGeo and MPGeo (building A).
After the LH IIIC L occupation (but possibly still within LH IIIC), the NE area, except for building B, became a burial ground for cist and pit graves. Most burials were disturbed and found empty, but some had pottery vessels, including a small EPGeo tripod cauldron in cist grave 42. Other finds are pins, faience and shell beads for one or more necklaces, and a tiny gold spacer bead.
The EPGeo construction date of the first architectural phase of apsidal building A is confirmed, along with the MPGeo date of the 2nd, and a clear picture was obtained of the reuse of the apsidal area of building A as a courtyard of building E. Activities carried out in this courtyard included purple dye manufacture. A pithos had been sunk into the level of the courtyard for reasons unknown.
Mots-clés Bois - Fortification - Habitat - Maison - Métal - Os - Outillage/armement - Parure/toilette - Pierre - Wooden boat
Chronologie Âge du bronze - Bronze ancien - Bronze moyen - Bronze récent - Âge du fer - Protogéométrique
Référence bibliographique Unpublished field report, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (A. Van de Moortel).
Auteur de la notice Catherine MORGAN
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