Khavania - Khavania Topographic and Architectural Mapping Project - 2021
Khavania. D. Matthew Buell (CIG / Concordia University) & Rodney D. Fitzsimons (CIG / Trent University) report on intensive survey carried out in the area of Khavania, conducted between 19 July and 6 August 2021.
The overall goal of the project is to study the development of the site, especially in terms of its local, East Cretan, and broader, island-wide, socio-political, economic, and ideological relationships. Owing to limitations placed on travel and student participation by the covid-19 pandemic, however, only two specific goals were investigated this year:
1. to develop an understanding of social, political, and economic development in and around Khavania through study of the portable material collected during survey
2. to lay the groundwork for future archaeological work at the site.
Standing architectural features were cleaned and documented, employing UAV-captured aerial imagery. The decision to clean certain walls was based on one or a combination of the following objectives: to reveal stretches of walls that potentially communicated with others, to determine the type of features, to reveal inside/outside faces, to correct or adjust drawings, and/or to provide more general information. During the process, some objects were discovered (typically pottery and grindstone implements.
Intensive pedestrian survey was also conducted, with a view towards determining the general settlement history of the site, to determine spatial patterning, specifically as it pertains to defining the site boundaries for each period of use, and to establish a comprehensive ceramic profile and sequence. The area was divided into 17 units defined by the local topography. Transects were walked with walkers spaced 1m apart, picking up all identifiable objects.
Study on material collected in 2019 was also conducted.
Twenty-four new architectural features were discovered, including 19 previously identified features (i.e., W1, 3, 5–7, 11–13, 15, 17–20, 22–25, 33/34, 35) and five newly identified ones (i.e., W36, 38–40, 53). These were all drawn, photographed, and integrated into the overall site plan and DEM and SLOPE maps. To date, 77 architectural features, including a quarry, have been identified and fully documented on the Khavania peninsula. Nearly all identified features may be classified as walls. In general, the walls have been constructed from locally available materials, principally, limestone tripolitza.
Partial outlines of at least three independent buildings have been identified on the Khavania peninsula. The remains of one, large structure (ca. 100m2 measurable extant area), comprising walls 15, 17–19, 39, 40, and 58 can be see on the northern slope of the peninsula. The northern façade, consisting of W17–19 is impressive with a maximum width on the northern façade (i.e., W17) of ca. 1.80m (avg. width is 1.40m). Walls 17–19 are well-bonded, clearly indicating that this part of the building was built in one phase. In addition, W17 sits on a projecting plinth course. This is a sophisticated architectural technique, used to stabilize buildings. Finally, as W15 abuts W17 it is clear that later additions were made to this edifice. Another building comprised of walls W8–12, 38, and 42 (ca. 116m2 measurable extant area) appears just below the summit of the promontory on the north side. This building appears to have at least two phases as W42 abuts W8. W33/34 is an unusual architectural feature, consisting of two rows of stones, one behind the other, each with flat, finished faces on their northern sides. These may be part of a series of risers, perhaps providing access from the summit of the hill to the northern side of the hill and to this building. Finally, a third building comprised of walls W3–6 and 35 can be seen to the west of the site’s summit (ca. 143m2 measurable extant area). This building is multi-phased, as walls W5 and 6 clearly abut W3 and 4; they are later additions.
Of the 414 sherds collected during the 2019 field season, 320 were completely studied and analyzed. The remaining 94 sherds, all historic in date (i.e., Early Iron Age to Medieval), will be studied by historic pottery specialist, Jane Francis (Concordia University), during the winter months of 2022. The prehistoric ceramic assemblage consists of all fabrics (coarse, medium, cooking, fine). Phyllite fabrics seem to dominate, suggesting that this is typical for the site. Identifiable shapes include amphorae, basins, bowls, cooking pots, cooking trays, cups (e.g., conical, kylix, ogival, rounded, straight-sided), dishes, gutters, jars, jugs, loomweights, and pithoi. The prehistoric periods represented include, EM II, MM II, MM III, LM IA, LM IB, and LM III. The majority of the pottery can be attributed to the LM I period, though Prepalatial and LM III remains are common.
The intensive pedestrian survey produced 1,603 ceramic sherds, 19 groundstone implements (i.e., hammerstones, handstones, querns), 17 fragments of mudbrick, nine fragments of bone, eight pieces of obsidian chipped stone, and one fragment of a WWII era mortar shell. Although the materials must still be cleaned and analyzed, an LM II goblet stem in a very pale buff fabric typical of Knossian wares was identified in Area 4 (Fig. 14). The goblet stem is short and hollow and painted in a brownish lustrous paint. Both features are hallmarks of LM II vessels. Cursory analysis of associated sherds from this analysis indicates that there are other LM II sherds. This is a remarkable find in and of itself, since LM II materials are rare in East Crete and still rarer in the Mirabello region. The nearby sites of Priniatikos Pyrgos, Pseira, and Gournia, for instance, have not produced any LM II materials. Indeed, it is thought that these sites either went out of use by this time (Priniatkos Pyrgos and Pseira) or were abandoned for a short while (Gournia). The finding of LM II materials may indicate that Khavania was occupied during this period and that it was interacting with Knossos at a time when other sites on the Mirabello were not.