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Informations générales
Numéro de notice 806
Année de l'opération 2008
Date de modification 2010-03-04
Nature de l'opération Fouille - Programmée
Institution(s) American School of Classical Studies at Athens: Ministry of Culture (ΙΔ' ΕΠΚΑ)
Fiche(s) associée(s) 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013
Mitrou. E. Zahou (ΙΔ' ΕΠΚΑ) and A. Van de Moortel (ASCSA/Tennessee) report on the 5th season of excavation in 2008, which focused primarily on 2 areas in the NE and NW of the islet. In addition, 3 outlying trenches were opened in previously unexcavated areas in the NE corner (LR797), at the E sea scarp (LX784) and in the central-E area (LR770) of the islet (Fig. 1).
The earliest levels reached dated to EHIIB.  In trench LX784, at least 2 EHIIB occupational levels with substantial walls were found, situated close to sea level.  EHIIB and EHIII levels were also exposed during cleaning of the W sea scarp of the islet, and EHIII walls were uncovered in trench LR797 in the NE corner of the islet.  The EH settlement was therefore extensive.  In all these locations, fired roof tiles were found as well as Lefkandi I pottery and EH vessels of the local tradition. Too little was exposed to understand building plans or the layout of the settlement.  A clay seal found in the sea NW of the islet may be EHII in date.
The MH settlement may have been equally extensive, with architectural remains identified at the E and W sea scarps as well as in the NE and NW excavation areas.  A LMH wall (no. 149) and pebble surface were uncovered E of and below the LHI−LHIIIA2 E monumental building D in the NE excavation area (trench LP783) (Fig. 2).  These are the first securely dated remains of the MH settlement in this area.  In the NW excavation area, at least 5 successive MHI and MHII occupation strata and cist tombs were excavated in 2007.  A wooden boat partially excavated in 2007 has now been dated to MHI.  In trench LX784, on the E sea scarp, at least 5 successive MHI and MHII strata were likewise uncovered, including 2 rectilinear buildings: building K (MHI−MHII E) and building L (MHI).  Too little was exposed to reveal the plan of those buildings.  Building K had at least 2 rooms; its northernmost exposed room had a built oval hearth covered with plaster. Substantial amounts of pottery were associated with these MH strata.
Excavation of ELH levels continued in the NE excavation area (Fig. 2).  The remainder of the W wall of building D was uncovered, revealing that its S part had been robbed out over a distance of ca. 5m.  No floor deposits have yet been found inside building D, although the excavation is not finished.  The central interior area of building D had been converted into a monumental tomb during its last period of use, and possibly as early as LHIIB.  The tomb is rectangular (ca. 5m x 2m) with walls of mud-brick, and lined on the interior with large cut sandstone slabs, ca. 1m w. and 1.2m h.  One slab is preserved intact and fragments of several more were found in situ.  The tomb had been robbed in antiquity, but some human bones remained, as well as a gold ring, a fragmentary gold bracelet, a bronze ring, a piece of pierced gold foil and a small rock-crystal disk.  Possibly at this same time, the exterior walls of building D were rebuilt and widened.  The absence of interior faces is remarkable and may indicate that at this time the entire building was filled with debris and turned into a tumulus.  Building D was bordered by pebbled streets to the W and N.  No street was uncovered E of building D, but remnants were found of LHI, LHIIB and LHIIIA structures that apparently belonged to the same architectural complex as building D, but had much thinner walls.  Most of this complex lies outside the excavation area. 
In the NE corner of the islet, a grave plot was uncovered with a monumental cist grave (grave 51), ca. 1.8m x 1.5m x 0.9m, built of roughly hewn large limestone slabs.  Parallel and perpendicular to this monumental grave were smaller cist graves. All graves of this plot had been robbed, but one cist tomb (grave 50) could be dated to LHI by a bichrome matt-painted amphoriskos contained within it (it also held a small bronze spiral).  Study of the pottery continues, but it is likely that all these graves are of ELH date.  Two more LHI cist tombs (graves 53 and 56) as well as an MHIII or LHI wall were found in trench LX784 at the E scarp of the islet.  Grave 56 belonged to a juvenile buried with an LHI Grey Minyan teacup, a spindle-whorl and an obsidian blade.  Fragments (perhaps not in situ) of a collapsed MHIII or LHI kiln were found, representing the latest BA occupation in that location.
In trench LR770 in the E-central area of the islet, 2 substantial parallel stone walls bordered a 2m w. earth and pebble street.  This street runs parallel to that on the N side of building D, ca. 65m further N, and appears to be part of the same orthogonal street pattern.  The 2 walls date at least to LHIIB, but may have been constructed earlier.  On the latest surface of the street, in a mixed LH/PGeo context, was a small clay figurine of a parturient squatting female, which appears to be of non-local origin (Fig. 3).  In the NW excavation area, only one trench was opened (LG790), connecting 2 previously excavated trenches.  Here walls and surfaces belonged to the same 2 successive LHI occupation levels found in the adjacent trenches in previous years.  An earlier cist tomb (grave 72) of a child buried with a Grey Minyan amphoriskos of LHI or MH date was also found.  On top of the LHI strata were successive LHIIA and LHIIB levels, including a few walls and a substantial LHIIB burned destruction level with broken pottery and several animal horns.  To the NW, these strata were much disturbed, and the stratigraphy of the adjacent trench LF790 will remain unclear until further study is undertaken.
Palatial period occupation (LHIIIA2 L and LHIIIB) remains scarce at Mitrou.  No new architectural remains dating to this period have been found in the E of the islet.  In trench LG790 in the NW excavation area, limited architecture was revealed. One wall (no. 64) was reused, and perhaps a small curved enclosure wall (no. 65) abutting it was built at this time.  A largely intact LHIIIA phi-figurine was found in a disturbed context.  In the same unit was a steatite lentoid seal stone modified into a bead, which is not closely datable.  A large LHIIIB2 L pottery dump was found against the S scarp of trench LP782, SE of building D.
At the end of LHIIIB or the beginning of LHIIIC, 2 new walls (nos 119, 120) were constructed in trench LG790 and a new surface laid.  On this surface a bronze knife was found. In addition, the 2 palatial period walls continued in use. Contrary to previous reports, these are the first securely dated post-palatial architectural remains found thus far in the NW excavation area.  They establish for the first time that the post-palatial settlement reached this far W.  In the NE excavation area, the latest surface of the pebbled street W of building D dates to LHIIIC.  Thus the mass of large roughly cut blocks found on top of it and blocking this street must have fallen there in LHIIIC, and not during the LHIIIA2 E destruction, as  previously conjectured.  It is not yet clear from which building these large blocks came.  More excavation and study is needed in order to reconstruct the architectural history of this area. 
Inside building B (the LHIIIC successor to building D), one or two LHIIIC L surfaces were uncovered as well as fragmentary walls (nos 40, 41, 116) of a small structure (building J) that must postdate building B and probably also building C.  The remains of a largely destroyed cist grave were found on top of the monumental tomb, and can be plausibly associated with an LHIIIC L clay feeding bottle.  At least 2 cist graves (nos 70 and 71) found E of building D may date to LHIIIC L or EPGeo.  Cist 70 included a handmade miniature dipper cup similar in style to the miniature vases of building C.  A 3rd cist grave (no. 69) in this area is datable to the SubMyc or EPGeo period by an intact cup on top of its capstone.  Burial 52 S of building B, excavated in 2007, can now be dated to LHIIIC.
One new PGeo structure was uncovered.  Building I is a small rectilinear structure with thin walls just S of building E. Because of its close proximity to building E, it probably also dates to LPGeo.  Below the apse of building A was a rough semicircular platform, possibly a hearth and probably LHIIIC or PGeo in date, on top of which was a steatite seal stone of the Mainland Popular Group (Fig. 4).  Nearby were a miniature stone axe, a spindle-whorl and possibly a clay spool.  In addition, the walls of trench LR770 in the E-central area of the islet may have been reused at this time.  Several new PGeo cist graves were uncovered in many locations just below the plough zone, including at the E sea scarp, although not in trench LR797 in the NE corner of the islet.  Most of these tombs had been robbed.  Cist 57 W of building I contained a miniature patterned amphoriskos or amphoroid krater, and cist 49 in trench LX784 at the E scarp a fragmentary obsidian blade.  Cists 59 and 63 in trench LR770 in the E-central area are of MPGeo or LPGeo date.  Each contained a baby skeleton but no finds.  By far the richest finds were found in the LPGeo cist grave 62 in trench LG790 in the NW excavation area.  The tomb belonged to a ca. 6-year-old child buried with 3 small clay cups, a juglet, a feeding bottle and a pyxis, as well as 2 bronze pins, one or more bronze earrings, a bronze bracelet, a bronze ring, an indeterminate piece of bronze jewellery and a bead.
Mots-clés Bois - Figurine - Habitat - Maison - Métal - Nécropole - Os - Outillage/armement - Parure/toilette - Pierre - Sépulture
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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