Sikyon Project

Northwest complex and adjacent street

2016 season

The area north of Wall 3045 at the end of the season, looking southwest.

North of Wall 3045 and east of the stone channel Context 3053 this year’s excavation brought to light parts of terracotta pipes and of the surface of one of the most important arteries of the ancient city. With the removal of the upper layers (Contexts 3083 and 3086), ca. 70 cm thick, the eastern continuation of Wall 3045 was exposed along with the top of two aligned blocks preserved in situ along the north side of the trench. The underlying layers (Contexts 3087, 3095, 3103, 3109), ca. 35 cm thick, had mixed pottery with the latest dating to the second half of the 6th century CE. Under them, sections of three different terracotta pipes were revealed (Contexts 3112, 3120, 3131), 10 and 11 cm in diameter, which relate to the pipes that we found further to the west in previous seasons. Between the two stones on the northern side of the trench, we identified a robbing trench of the intervening blocks over a length of ca. 1.20 m (Context 3107), and from the soil found inside this trench (Contexts 3106, 3113, 3117, 3119), we collected pottery dating up to the 1st century CE. At 0.56 m south of this wall, a section less than 2 m long of another wall was discovered, consisting of stones 0.20 to 0.22 m wide, set on their short sides. Directly south of this wall and in a less than 4 m² area we found a distinct surface of rubble and pebbles, which likely represents a road surface (elev. 166.21 masl). In fact, it is possible that the wall directly north of this surface defines an open channel. The road surface is not preserved well to the east of this section, but it is most likely preserved to its west, and we shall check this in the course of the next season.

The foundation of Wall 3045 at the end of the season, looking south.

In order to investigate the possible presence of earlier road surfaces we decided to dig deeper on the eastern half of the trench (2.5 m wide). Having removed a pass ca. 15 cm thick (Context 3116) with mixed pottery and six coins among which four Sikyonian issues of the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, the continuation of the terracotta pipes emerged, while to the north of these a layer of cobble and pebbles (Context 3121) from where we collected pottery mostly of the Late Hellenistic period. This layer lies on a whitish clayey surface which we preserved. The presence of this surface and of the pipes forced us to continue the excavation on the southern part of this section, in a trench of ca. 2.5 x 3.2 m. The dark reddish and stony layers that we excavated here (Contexts 3123 and 3133), of an overall thickness of ca. 0.70 m, contained very little pottery dating up to the Early Roman period. The layer below (Context 3133, elev. 165.40 masl), lies on bedrock, which is roughly leveled. At this level we identified the foundation trench of Wall 3045 (Context 3137), 0.25 m wide. Unfortunately no finds came from the fill of this trench (Context 3136).

It is now rather clear that during Roman times, when the large pi-shaped complex came into being, this area was reorganized and that the earlier horizons were disturbed to a large extent. We hope that by extending the excavated area next season, especially towards the east, more road surfaces will emerge which will help us to reconstruct the history of this central road artery from the Early Hellenistic to the Late Roman period.