Sikyon Project

Intensive Survey

The plateau of Sikyon with the survey squares and the areas covered by geophysical methods (shaded grey)

Earlier archaeological research on the plateau of Hellenistic and Roman Sikyon, first by the American School of Classical Studies and then by the Archaeological Society of Athens, was limited to the excavation of the large, public monuments of the city’s center. As a result, we knew almost nothing on the rest of the city, spreading over a surface area of ca. 230 ha. The investigation of the broader urban area was the focus of the intensive surface and geophysical surveys conducted by the University of Thessaly in collaboration with the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, the Institute for Mediterranean Studies, and the University of York, from 2004 to 2009. This was a gridded survey, with squares 20 x 20 m of average size. An area of almost 100 ha was surveyed at this resolution, corresponding to 2,870 survey squares. In addition, 43 ha were geophysically surveyed, mostly with a fluxgate gradiometer, but in certain areas a resistivity meter and ground penetrating radar were also used. The area that was investigated represents almost 40% of the entire urban area of Sikyon, and the material collected is rich in number and kind of artifacts. Most of the pottery that was kept, numbers more than 200,000 sherds, in their majority of Hellenistic (34%) and Roman (57%) date. The architectural remains, both the in-situ and the scattered ones, exceed 1,200 in total, and were mapped with a differential GPS unit. Thanks to their mapping as well as to the interpretation of the geophysical results, we were able to reconstruct the ancient city grid. In addition, thanks to the digital recording of all spatial data of our research with the use of the ArcGIS software, we are in a position to display artifact distribution on the plateau, by density, kind, and chronology.

Chronological distribution of the surface pottery

The plateau of Sikyon with the pottery density and the mapped architectural features (in red)

The plateau of Sikyon with the reconstructed ancient city grid

From 2008 to 2011, the project included the study of selected rescue excavations conducted on the plateau by the Greek Ministry of Culture, so that our surface data can be complemented by stratified deposits. Together, the results of the surface survey and the rescue excavations help us to reconstruct the history of habitation of the plateau of Sikyon from prehistoric times to the early modern era.