SPARTA - 2000
Type of Operation
Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ε' ΕΠΚΑ
Sparta. Platanista Street (O.T. 6, I. Panagaki property). E. Zavvou (then Ε' ΕΠΚΑ, now Epigraphical Museum) reports the discovery of a Roman residence during rescue excavation in 2000 (Fig. 1: site 1; Fig. 2). Construction was in brick (with a plaster coating) on a stone foundation. Five of the six rooms uncovered had third-century AD mosaic floors with geometric motifs and central figure scenes.
The probable triclinium (area 2) lay in the north and west of the plot: a double doorway communicated with an atrium to the south, although the orientation of the central emblema of the floor mosaic indicates that the main entrance was on the north. This exceptionally well preserved mosaic has a rectangular border with geometric designs: on the east and west intersecting circles form four-leafed designs; on the south is a series of lozenges; the north is divided into three smaller areas (the east contains shields, the centre eight-point stars and the west is lost). The far side of the floor, bordered by a band of perspective meander swastikas with interspersed squares, contains a composition of lozenges within squares. In the central area (bordered by monochrome bands and a garland) is Dionysos in a chariot drawn by two panthers, with a Maenad to the left and an actor to the right. In the lower part of the scene is a basket with a snake coiled around it, and a cradle.
The triclinium communicates with room 4 via a doorway with a marble threshold and a mosaic by the opening. Within room 4, beneath a destruction layer containing roofing material, was a floor mosaic. Two frames of geometric motifs border the further part, which is decorated with octagons in contact with parallelograms (an unusual motif in the Greek world); in the central area is a rectangular maze.
Room 1, in the northeast corner of the plot, also has a well-preserved floor mosaic. The external border, a series of shields, is so far unique among Spartan mosaics. The second border contains meander swastikas with interspersed parallelograms. The further part has a composition of intersecting circles forming four-leafed designs. In the central area (bordered by a stylized floral band) is a gladiator wearing a short-sleeved chiton and brandishing a spear against a wild beast rearing up on its hind legs. The orientation of the scene indicates that the main entrance was at the north.
Room 4 communicated with room 5; a threshold mosaic has a circle within a lozenge within a parallelogram. The floor mosaic in room 5 has geometric decoration: the frame is a row of parallelograms decorated with a double anthemion and the main area a grid of four-pointed lozenge stars.
Only a few parts of the floor mosaic of the southeast room of the house (room 3) survive, all with geometric decoration. Large zones which may belong to the main area contain eight-point stars which delimit upright and perpendicular rectangles, a grid of lozenges forming four-point stars and a band with a repeated fusiform motif. Part of the framing band has a row of isosceles triangles (a common motif in Sparta). North of room 3, a room (6) has a terracotta tiled floor which continues east beyond the trench.
In addition to Roman pottery, one Hellenistic coin of Sikyon and two Imperial Roman coins (third- to fourth-century) were collected.
Further traces of this residence have been located in neighbouring plots. On the property of S. and Z. Politi on Platanista Street (O.T. 141), directly opposite the Panagaki plot and next to the Moiragia-Doulia property (Fig. 1: site 2), was a northeast-southwest stone wall founded on a layer of cement, pithos sherds and stone which probably stabilized the ground since the local water table is high. At the southern end of it was an enchytrismos in a fragmentary pointed amphora. An apsidal wall belongs to a later building phase.
In front of the Moiragia-Doulia property, a trench dug by the water company of Sparta revealed part of a floor mosaic with geometric decoration, bordered to the south by a wall. Two bands are evident, the exterior with lozenge decoration and the interior with wave-spirals and four-point stars below.
ADelt 55 (2000) Chr, 211−14
Date of creation