CHAMALEVRI - Manouses - 2004
Bath - Agricultural facility - Hearth/Kiln/Oven - Inscription - Lamp - Glass - Cemetery - Production/extraction site - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
Type of Operation
Ministry of Culture and Tourism: ΚΕ'ΕΠΚΑ
Chamalevri, Manouses (Psarros field). N. Tsatsaki and E. Kapranos (ΚΕ’ ΕΠΚΑ) report the discovery in 2002-4 of an exceptionally well-preserved Roman oil press plus a potter’s kiln (not excavated) in which amphorae were fired. Further trials revealed continuing walls, perhaps indicating an industrial quarter.
The press building was covered with the debris of its superstructure and tiled roof following its sudden destruction perhaps by earthquake. A second-century BC inscription recovered from the debris (in secondary use) records the dedication of a public shrine. The building has two phases of use. In the first, the large (13 x 7m) structure was built of large-medium dressed and partly dressed stone blocks (the walls are preserved to a height of 1.64m), with a floor of the marly-limestone bedrock. Below the destruction debris lay the machinery for crushing, pressing and separating the olives. This represents the main period of use. Thereafter the building was largely cleared and a wall inserted into the southern half, over some of the machinery, to create a 3 x 7m area of unknown function.
Two large crushing mills (mola olearia) to north and south occupy most of the interior space: they are of a type which appears late in the first century BC. That at the north preserves part of the stone support structure, and both have the pair of rollers once attached to a horizontal beam. At the south is a domed millstone with vertical perforation (orbis) from a type of crusher (tropeion) typical of late Classical to early Hellenistic mills: half of a second millstone was recovered from the debris. These millstones may indicate that a tropeion was placed between the two molae oleariae in the middle of the building. A large rectangular storage area against the north wall held the crushed pulp (as indicated by the black-stained earth inside it).
Three pulp presses are set against the walls, one at the west and two at the east. All are of the same two-part type: notches cut into the two short sides of a large, heavy, rectangular stone base held a wooden superstructure. Large stone counterweights with holes at one end to insert wooden levers were recovered from the debris. Pressing platforms were built of half-dressed stones. In conjunction with these platforms, a stone collecting tank linked by a channel to a separator removed plant debris and water from the oil. The finished oil was stored in pithoi against the west wall.
Both use phases yielded amphorae, cooking pots (subjected to heat), pithoi, vessels such as basins and juglets, and lamps. Amphorae are by far the most numerous (some 80% of the total), followed by cooking pots. Terra sigillata occurs only in the later phase. Cretan amphorae are accompanied by imports notably from Africa (perhaps Tunisia in the earlier phase). Other wares (including red-slip) also come from Africa and Asia Minor. Lamps from the earlier phase include both Cretan products and imports, all dating consistently to the late first - early third century AD, with some going down to the fourth. The more complete, later group from the south room includes local Cretan and imported amphorae, local cooking wares and juglets, and imported terra sigillata, and dates from the third to the fifth century AD. The little glass has fourth-century parallels. The first phase (the construction and main use phase of the building) thus spans the second and third centuries AD (based mainly on the lamps), with the end of the south room dated to the late fourth/early fifth century.
The sudden destruction of the complex is attributed to an earthquake, of which a number occurred in the first half of the fifth century AD. The press and kiln likely formed part of an industrial quarter which served the wider local community: to the north are baths, destroyed at the same time, and to the northwest a number of Roman cist-cemeteries.
10th Cretological Congress (2006) A4, 147–169; for the inscription, see ZPE 157 (2006), 87–94.
Date of creation