SISI Kefali tou Ag. Antoniou - 2008
Fortifications - Tomb - Tools/weapons - Dress and personal ornament - Metal - Bone - Stone - Domestic space - Cemetery - Production/extraction site - Sanctuary - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
Type of Operation
Belgian School at Athens
Sisi. J. Driessen (Belgian School/UC Louvain) and I. Schoep (Belgian School/KU Leuven) report on a 2nd season of excavation at the M settlement and cemetery on the Buffo (Kefali tou Ag. Antoniou), working in 6 zones across the site (Fig. 1).
In zone 1 (Fig. 2), the burial area occupies several natural terraces on the NE slope. To the W, a rock-shelter produced a dense fill of MM, LMI and LMIII sherds, associated with animal bones, charcoal fragments and a human leg bone. Burial building 1.9−10 contained 2 chambers, the 1st of which held the skulls of 9 adults, a child and a newborn, as well as long bones, all probably cleared from other burial buildings. The 2nd, not yet fully excavated, yielded 3 skulls and other bones. No objects accompanied the depositions in either room. E of the building are traces of sandstone quarrying. Upslope are burial buildings made of small fieldstones; the entrances may have been through the eroded N walls. Dense deposits of pottery and bones between the rear wall of each building and the rising bedrock may represent tomb clearance. In burial building 1.1−2−3, space 1.2 preserved 2 articulated skeletons deposited in EMIII/MMI. An MMII pithos burial contained the trussed skeleton of a woman aged around 40. Space 1.3 contained EMIII−MMIAcups placed upside down, with a bronze pin and a single bone. Excavation of burial building 1.6−7−8 continued from 2007. Room 1.8 held 3 adults and 2 children, and room 1.7 an adult and a child. One of the adults in 1.8 was in an articulated position, 1 of the children was associated with a shell; a quartz bead and 2 MMIB−MMII cups were also recovered. In burial building 1.11−12, 1.11 contained 4 primary burials, at least 3 vases, the remains of a larnax and a fragment of stone vase. In 1.12, at least one burial was found in the N, while to the S, 2 jars, 2 spouted jars and an EMIIA tumbler were found; at least 2 of the jars held the remains of foetuses or newborn infants.
In zone 2, further exploration of the megalithic building revealed a mature LMI destruction deposit in room 2.1. The main structure is a large room, ca. 10.3m x 8.86m, with a few thin partitions. A platform was constructed against the E wall, with a possible column base in front of it. Finds include bronze needles and fragments of other bronze tools, a steatite button, a schist disc, loomweights and stone tools. Four small rooms added at the SE contained pottery, stone tools and loomweights. Since neither the layout nor the contents of the building appear domestic, it is interpreted as an industrial complex. Two structures to the NE of similar construction and plan may also be industrial facilities.
In zones 3 and 4 on the summit of the hill, excavation in 2007 revealed a large building probably constructed in EMIII/MMIA and reused in LMI and LMIIIA−B (Fig. 3). The terrace walls defining the W and N edges of the summit largely mask the exterior walls of this building, but where visible, they are built with large, sometimes dressed blocks of limestone or conglomerate, presenting imposing façades. During LMI and LMIIIB the building was ca. 40m x 25m, and of irregular shape, constrained by the shape of the hilltop and a road on the SE. The SW façade of the building may have been reached, though it is possible that there is a court located further S. It is likely that this was the main structure on the site during these phases. Many rooms have been traced but not yet fully excavated. In 2007, a LMIIIB destruction level with pithoi and kraters was found in rooms 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3, and in 2008 this was confirmed in room 3.4. Pithoi were recovered in rooms 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5, there was a probable hearth in 3.4 and a small staircase may lie between 3.3 and 3.6. Room 3.1 was probably the main room of the complex. In addition to a range of vessels, more than 80kg of pumice may have fulfilled some workshop function, since obsidian blades, steatite cores, a circular stone with a central depression, stone vase fragments and other stone debris were also recovered. A large clay tube with 3 attached horns of consecration raises the possibility that there was a shrine in room 3.8. Outside the entrance to room 3.3, a niche containing 4 identical juglets may be some kind of ritual deposit.
In zone 4, room 4.4 (E of the monumental threshold revealed in 2007) may have been an open court. Where the S wall of room 4.5 abuts the W wall of room 4.4, a foundation deposit was discovered. This consisted of a large open vessel closed with a sherd (with a handle), an inverted (Neopalatial) conical cup contained within this vessel and, above, fragments of a triton shell. In the middle of room 4.6, a slab probably supported a column. The ceramic material may suggest an earlier destruction (LMIIIA) than in zone 3. In the NW corner of the complex, some destruction was caused by a probable World War II gun emplacement; other possible such emplacements extend downslope to the NW.
Exploration of zone 5 revealed rooms belonging to one or more buildings. Rooms 5.6, 5.8 and 5.12 preserve burnt debris and pottery including fine decorated LMIIIA1 drinking vessels. In the SW corner of room 5.8, hidden beneath the floor, a large (d. 0.46m) handleless lead vase was recovered.
In zone 6, tests made in a large structure revealed the E façade and at least 3 rooms. From the destruction layer outside the building came tiny fragments of coloured wall-plaster, a fragment of a stone vase and an ogival cup. Excavation of the interior is unfinished; a fragmentary potter’s wheel, a lead weight and an LMIIIA2 amphora have been recovered. A massive cyclopean wall (Fig. 4) forms a corner at the SW foot of the hill. One segment is about 2m h. and is preserved for almost 10m. A Neopalatial deposit was stratified against this wall, although a fragment of a Rom amphora was also recovered. Since this is the easiest access to the hill, the walls may have been intended to serve as a defensive bastion.
Excavations in 2008 confirmed the chronological span and historical interest of the site. Some FNeo/EMI sherds suggest that the hill was at least visited at this time. The cemetery was in use from EMIIA onwards, and the settlement from at least EMIII: both continued to be used in MMII, although perhaps on a more limited scale. During LMI, the EMIII/MMI building on top of the hill was reused, and industrial buildings may have occupied the middle terrace. There is evidence for fire destruction in mature LMI on the summit and middle terrace. From at least LMIIIA1 onwards, only the summit was densely occupied. The final destruction, by fire and perhaps also earthquake, occurred in the mature LMIIIB period.
Unpublished field report, Belgian School at Athens: see also the project website, http://sites.uclouvain.be/sarpedon
Date of creation