ANDRITSA CAVE - 2012
Type of Operation
ΕΠΣΝΕ and 2nd EBA.
Andritsa Cave. L. Kormazopoulou (ΕΠΣΝΕ) and D. Hatzilazarou (2nd EBA) present a study of pottery from a Late Roman closed deposit excavated in 2004. The cave had a single large chamber (75x65m) accessed via two 14m deep, almost vertical cliffs. Four clusters of finds inside it include the skeletal remains of more than 40 individuals (mostly young people – infants, children and some new-born babies – who either died here or were brought to the cave soon after death): in situ in groups around them were 119 vases (mostly intact), 59 lamps, many metal everyday objects, and numerous sixth-century coins.
The central cluster 1 (around at least eight individuals) contained 18 lamps and 51 vessels in three groups (including an LR2 amphora, a smaller amphora with ring base, large and small prochoes, and oinochoae). The similar, western cluster 2 (at least none individuals) contained 17 lamps and 36 vessels in two groups, similar to those from cluster 1. Clusters 3 and 4 appear different. Cluster 3, in the deepest and least accessible part of the cave, consisted of human remains with a few small vases (prochoes, oinochoae) and lamps (deposit XXXIV in cluster 3 consisted of a single burial with a small oinochoe, a lamp, and a bronze probe and fibula). Cluster 4 (closest to the cave entrance) had a very few vessels by a group of five skeletons and then close by on a separate ‘loft’ a large amphora with four pithoid-amphorae.
A homogeneous group of vessels with painted decoration probably derives from a single workshop: this consists mostly of oinochoae and prochoes with crudely painted red or black circle decoration (the oinochoae also bearing incision on the shoulder). In general, parallels for the range of vessels at Andritsa are found in the late sixth- to mid seventh-century repertoires of the Argolid and Corinthia. Many vessels may have been imported from these areas, although local production of at least some is possible. Close similarities with material from the baths at Argos, Corinth, and in particular with the final phase of the farmstead at Pyrgouthi outside Berbati, indicate a date from the end of the sixth to the beginning of the seventh century. A large collection of coins was found at the back of the cave beneath cluster 3, fallen into a crevice in the rock near deposit XXV. These include 30 large bronze coins (folles and semifolles), numerous nummi, and a solidus of Tiberius II (578-582AD): one mass of coins was preserved with a piece of cloth adhering to it. The solidus provides a terminus post quem for the transport of the assemblage to the cave. The coin evidence spans the sixth century from Anastasius I to Tiberius II, with the majority dating to the reign of Justinian II (565-578).
The group is interpreted as connected with a short episode that ended in tragedy for the settlers in the cave. The cave was a place of refuge for the local inhabitants in times of danger: the nature of the space and difficult access preclude systematic settlement here. The absence of vessels for food preparation and consumption, and the near absence of food storage vessels is striking: provision focused on oil and others liquids for lighting and basic sustenance. Clusters 1, 2 and 4 (which contain most of the pottery) were laid down first, while cluster 3 likely represents the last survivors. The five collections of vessels in cluster 1 and 2, deposited around large amphorae, may indicate family groups.
L. Kormazopoulou and D. Hatzilazarou, Σπήλαιο Ανδρίτσας: Μοιραίο Καταφύγιο (Athens 2005); L. Kormazopoulou and D. Hatzilazarou, ‘Τα αγγεία του σπηλαιοβαράθρου Ανδρίτσας Αργολίδας’, in D. Papanikola-Bakirtzi and D. Kousoulakou (eds), Κεραμεικη της Ύστερης Αρχαιότητας από τον Ελλαδικό Χώρο (3ος -7ος αι. μ.Χ.) (Thessaloniki 2010), 169-184; ADelt 60 (2005) Chr. 1208-9.
Date of creation