Paper abstract

Evidence of Early Iron Age activities in the Poseidon Sanctuary at Kalaureia

Wells Berit

Excavations in the Poseidon Sanctuary at Kalaureia in 2003-2004 have revealed an intriguing set of data from the second half of the eighth century BC. Around 750 a building was constructed of which a stretch of wall has survived together with a portion of its floor. The ceramics trampled into the floor suggest a short life for the building. In order to create good drainage for it a fill of soil, stones and cultural material had been brought to the location. The fill lay on bedrock and covered a pit cut down into it. Also the pit had been filled with cultural material mixed with soil and stones and carefully sealed with closely packed stones. Underneath them a goat horn core and several pieces of the goat's scull were found. The sealed pit is one of three such features, the other two being located less than ten m distant to the west. One was partly damaged through the digging of a cistern in Archaic times; the other lost its probable sealing of stones through an extension of the area also in the Archaic period. It can with confidence be said that the material found in the three pits is coeval and has a number of characteristics in common, the most conspicuous being that all three contain fragments of very large Late Geometric vessels and pieces of large Late Mycenaean IIIC kraters. Several of the LG fragments come from large richly decorated amphorae, one of which is certainly a work by the Hirschfeld Painter and others emanating from the Dipylon Workshop and perhaps from the Master himself. The following questions will be discussed: 1. How are we to understand the relationship between the pit underneath the building and its construction? 2. What are the LH IIIC kraters doing in the pits? There is no other Mycenaean material in the pits whatsoever. What do they tell us of what was going on in the area? 3. The large amphorae are of the type generally associated with Attic burials. Why were they brought to Kalaureia? One of them may not have been brought for its own sake but for its contents, which has been determined through residue analysis. 4. What was going on at Kalaureia? What do these spectacular vessels tell us about the society, which used them, and about their contacts with the outside world?

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