KEROS Kavos - Dhaskalio - 2007
Fortifications - Residence - Figurine - Tools/weapons - Dress and personal ornament - Metal - Stone - Domestic space - Sanctuary - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
Type of Operation
British School at Athens
Keros. Kavos-Dhaskalio. C. Renfrew (BSA/Cambridge) reports on the 2nd season of renewed excavation at Kavos and on the neighbouring islet of Dhaskalio. (Fig. 1)
Kavos: documentation of the extent of the Special Deposit South continued, extending its distribution somewhat to the N and W. Characterization of the Special Deposit South as the product of deliberate deposition at this spot was confirmed by geomorphological study (C. French), noting some areas of considerable surface stability, as well as the repeated excavation and back-filling of pits in the past, thus reworking the same ‘special deposit’ material. The whole soil profile is severely bioturbated, which would have helped to obscure other cut features in the ‘special deposit’, especially as the fill would essentially be of the same material. Beneath the dark brown layer with the principal finds was an orange-brown silty clay loam, missing in places (the weathering product of the local limestone). This contained few special finds, which may have been inserted during the early phase of deposition of the high-status materials which characterize this deposit. It also contained a scatter of obsidian blade and flake fragments.
Finds included ca. 25,000 sherds, mostly EBA (plus some LCl, Rom and Byz). Among the ca. 25% of diagnostic material are the familiar Keros-Syros forms, including conical-necked jars and sauceboats. Other identifiable shapes such as jugs, ‘multiple lamps’, bowls, pyxides and basins appear in quantities of less than 5%. About ¼ of the diagnostic sherds are decorated, with incised or painted dark-on-light decoration, etc. Overall, the pottery is similar to that in the Special Deposit North. Also common were fragmentary stone vessels (studied by G. Gavalas), again with a shape range known from the Special Deposit North. Figurines divide into folded-arm figurines of canonical type and schematic figurines of the Apeiranthos type. The Spedos, Dokathismata and Chalandriani varieties are well represented. An exceptional find is the pelvic area of a folded-arm figurine of Spedos form measuring 0.17m across the max. w. of the thighs as they widen below the waist (Fig. 2). When complete this figure must have exceeded 1m h. A single obsidian bead was found; a lead pin was the only metal find. A number of ‘spools’ or ‘pestles’ of stone or shell may have served as balance weights.
As noted in 2006, finds were very fragmentary: apart from a few small pestles, every object in the Special Deposit was deliberately broken and clearly some limestone pestles (and perhaps also the larger marble figurines) had been sawn. Some surfaces and breaks were in almost pristine condition, whereas others were heavily weathered: the juxtaposition of pieces displaying very different degrees of weathering confirms that breakage occurred before deposition. This was not done in situ, and no central locus for such breakage has yet been recognized on Keros. It therefore seems that the materials in the Special Deposit South (and probably the original Special Deposit North) were brought from elsewhere. So far, only one figurine join has been found within the Special Deposit South, confirming the conclusions of 2006.
Definitive interpretation of the Special Deposit South awaits the final field season in 2008 and full study of the finds. This will include study of marble provenance (Y. Maniatis) and petrological analysis of ceramics (J. Hilditch). The pottery certainly came from several islands: abundant sherds with a filler of blue schist possibly from Amorgos, stamped and incised decorated pottery from Syros and talc ware from Siphnos. Kouphonisi itself may be the source of multiple lamp vessels and the stone vessels and spools of local orange-pink limestone. Animal protomes on some sauceboats, possibly from the Corinthia or the Argolid, enlarge the catchment of Kavos as a ‘symbolic attractor’.
Nonetheless, the residue from deliberate artefact breakage has yet to be recognized on other islands and the presence of fragments of very large plain bowls also requires explanation, since they are not found elsewhere in the Cyclades.
In the central area between the N and S Special Deposits, 3 further trenches (AA, AB and AC) were opened close to trench L of 2006. Finds were few, but an EBA date for constructions here is confirmed by sherds associated with the wall in trench AB (and the absence of later material). At present this area shows few indications of structures beyond the building near the sea investigated in 1963 by Doumas.
Investigation was made of a system of rock fissures caused by faulting E of the site (M. Kersel and T. Kinnaird): limited soundings revealed no PH use. On the Kavos promontory, where metallurgical remains were investigated in 1987 and 2006, several small trenches were opened to secure better dating evidence and fragments of metallurgical ceramics selected for TL dating. M. Georgakopoulou reports results of her analysis of finds from the 1987 survey in this area: the small collection of metallurgical remains consisted primarily of copper slags but also included metallurgical ceramics. Two distinct copper production processes can be identified and cupellation of silver was also carried out.
J. Dixon and T. Kinnaird studied the geological history of the Kavos area. Y. Maniatis and D. Tambakopoulos investigated sources of the high-quality, fine-grained white marble used for the manufacture of marble bowls and figurines, and of the marbles and schists used as building materials on Dhaskalio and near the Doumas House on Kavos.
Dhaskalio: in 2007 trenches were set across a wall which runs N−S for ca. 30m on the E slope of the island (facing Kavos). Trench I lay E and outside the wall; trench II W and inside. Trench I contained a well-built drystone wall in front of the long wall (Fig. 3). This was built of thin laminar pieces of non-local marble. Geological study of Dhaskalio (J. Dixon) showed that most of the building stone used here during the EBA, other than boulders of conglomerate limestone, was neither local nor from Keros or Kouphonisi: rather, it was brought from outcrops on SE Naxos (Y. Maniatis). This represents the shipment of large quantities of building material over considerable distances. Trench II, inside the wall, revealed a series of EBA constructions with at least 2 phases. Finds − domestic in character − include pithoid jars and neckless jars with the characteristic horizontal arched handle and numerous stone discs, mainly of marble or schist. Two trenches (IV and V) were opened on the W slope.
At the N end of the summit, W of a prominent curved wall, trench VI produced a lead ‘spool’ comparable to those from the ‘special deposits’. Two complete Apeiranthos type figurines were found in the same area. In the relatively flat area S of the Med or later church, traces of several walls were visible on the surface (Fig. 4). Here trench VII contained a rectangular building ca. 8m l. (oriented E−W) whose W wall was overlain by later walling. The buildings so far examined yielded much pottery and other finds of domestic character, including querns and grinders and numerous stone discs of schist or marble 0.1−0.5m di.
Further areas at the summit were cleared to reveal walls and structures which will be examined further in 2008.
C. Renfrew, O. Philaniotou, N. Brodie, and G. Gavalas, BSA 102 (2007) 103-136; unpublished field report, British School at Athens (C. Renfrew).
Date of creation