KENCHREAI - 2014
Residence - Lamp - Dress and personal ornament - Architectural revetments - Metal - Glass - Domestic space - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
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American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Kenchreai. J. L. Rife (ASCSA/Vanderbilt) and J. J. Bravo III (ASCSA/Maryland) report on the study of a large building complex on the Threpsiades property (along the modern Isthmus-Epidavros road ca. 200 m northwest of the south harbour mole) which was first excavated in 1976 by K. Kristalli-Votsi of the Greek Archaeological Service. (Fig. 1). Cleaning revealed a structure measuring ca. 41m north-south and at least 26m east-west (the walls continue far under the highway) consisting of a peristyle court surrounded by at least eight large rectangular rooms, with a secondary entrance in the southwest exterior wall and a large stairway up to a second storey. At least two phases of construction in mixed brick and rubble masonry date to the Roman era. In places the walls incorporate decorative architecture from different buildings, some apparently pre-Roman. The distribution of the fallen architecture and a distinct level of burned matter in the visible stratigraphy indicate a catastrophic collapse. While the building’s function is uncertain, its monumental scale and rich decoration suggest an impressive, centrally located private residence or a grand public facility.
The building produced a large quantity of pottery (ca. 50,000-100,000 sherds) and diverse glass vessels, lamps, and metal, the large majority of which date to the sixth century. These include Late Roman Amphorae 1-5, African and Phocaean red slip vessels, stemmed goblets, and late African and Corinthian lamps (Fig. 2). The presence of so many amphorae, along with numerous stoppers and funnels, indicates the large-scale distribution of transported commodities which continued through the sixth and perhaps into the seventh century. The size and appearance of the building do not indicate an exclusively utilitarian or industrial purpose. It is therefore possible that the ceramic assemblage represents a final phase of activity, though whether preceding or postdating the major destruction event is at present unclear.
Spoil heaps from salvage excavations conducted by the Greek Archaeological Service on the Koutsongila Ridge in 1988 and 1989 were investigated. Sieving of the dumped fill from tombs 3 and 23 produced a considerable quantity of Early to Middle Roman artefacts, including fine serving vessels, cooking wares, lamps, jewelry from burials, and numerous human bones, which will be studied along with other finds from the cemetery.
Unpublished field report, American School of Classical Studies at Athens
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