ITANOS - 2011
Numéro de la notice
Année de l'opération
Antiquité - Archaïque - Classique - Hellénistique - Romaine
Habitat - Nécropole - Espaces
Nature de l'opération
Fouille - Programmée
Belgian School at Athens
Notices et opérations liées
Itanos. A. Tsingarida and D. Viviers (Belgian School/ULB) report on the first season of a new five-year project focused on completion of work in the North Cemetery, conservation work towards the public presentation of the site, and documentation of the plan and function of so-called ‘Archaic building’ in order to understand its nature and importance for sixth-century Crete.
Graves and multiple, successive structures revealed in the North Cemetery present a very different picture from the single, large funerary monument restored on the basis of earlier excavations. The area is organized in two parts around a north-south path. To the east lies a densely packed Late Classical-Late Hellenistic cemetery, and to the west several structures including the Archaic building (which dates to the Archaic and Early Classical periods).
An Early Roman wall (MR 6310) built on a backfill layer covering the north-south path acted as a terrace and retaining wall, at a time when the cemetery was slowly being abandoned and the area used for cultivation. This wall was also found at the southern limit of the excavated area of the Archaic building, continuing south above the path. The bottom course of another wall (6706) was also found here.
Excavation at the west side of the main room of the Archaic building completed the plan of this area. The bedrock was cut away outside the room for the construction of its west wall (6647), and to form a level floor surface covered with small pebbles (perhaps a yard). A stone threshold indicates that the corridor originally led to an open or semi-open area on its west side: this door was later closed. The main room has a centrally placed hearth: a destruction layer within the room contained patches of reddish clay from collapsed mud-brick walls. The scarce material from this layer includes shells and stone implements of as yet undefined function. No faunal remains were found. In the south-west corner of this excavation area lay a wall of medium-sized rubble, earlier than, and very different in character to, the walls of the Archaic building. This was cut by the construction of the west wall of the main (hearth) room.
The Archaic building had three successive occupation phases. The earliest was Archaic, but earlier than hitherto believed. The only structural elements preserved are the wall partly destroyed by the west wall of the main room, and the first phase of north wall of the Archaic building, which extends further to the west (where it acted as a terrace wall).
The second and main Archaic phase (late seventh to early fifth-century) consists of the main (hearth) room and a corridor (pastas) that opens to the west. Finally, during the Classical period the doorway of the pastas towards the west was sealed, and a basin and an altar placed inside the corridor.
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