Sikyon survey project

The 2005 season

Archaeological survey - North Plateau

In the Northern Plateau, we continued the investigation of the northern corner of the plateau, which had begun in 2004. We started by resurveying NP1, which had low visibility in 2004, but was now recently ploughed, by following the square division of 2004 in order to compare the ceramic density. On average we recovered twice as many sherds and the same amount of tiles as we had recovered in 2004. Similar checks in the future will allow us to calculate statistically how visibility and type of vegetation/cultivation influence the recovery of artifacts and subsequently to rectify the ceramic density maps for low visibility areas. Besides ceramics, re-survey of NP 1 yielded a few stone blocks, small mosaic fragments and a well which were not visible in 2004.

Absolute sherd and rooftile counts from the 2004 and 2005 survey in the North Plateau.

Distribution of architectural fragments from the 2004 and 2005 survey in the North Plateau.

Following this, we investigated the tracts adjacent to the edge of the Northern Plateau and the line of the city-wall (NP 27-28), where we recorded a very low density of sherds (in the range of 100-150 sherds/square) as well as many stone blocks from the city-wall. The low ceramic density suggests the existence of a vacant zone between the inhabited space and the city-wall, perhaps corresponding to an inner ring-road. The rest of the squares at the northern corner of the plateau yielded an average of 400-700 sherds/squares (i.e. 1-1.75 sherds/m2) with peaks of 1000-1200 sherds/square (i.e. 2.5-3 sherds/m2) at relatively close intervals. This pattern in conjunction with the pattern detected last year indicates that houses here were built close but not adjacent to each other.

The situation appears to be different in tracts lying closer to the modern village (NP 36-37), where ceramic density in almost all squares is in the range of 2000 sherds (that is 5 sherds/m2), which befit a rather crowded district of the ancient city. Among the abundant Hellenistic and Roman sherds collected here, we identified some of Byzantine and late-Byzantine date, which are rare in the other areas of the plateau investigated so far. Given that tracts NP 36-37 are located at the edge of the modern village, the presence of these sherds indicates the northern extent of the settlement during the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, which was by far smaller than in Hellenistic and Roman times.

The tracts investigated in the Northern Plateau yielded many stone blocks, pieces of wall plaster, a few lamps, loomweights, grinders, iron slag and no fewer than seven ancient wells. The depth of the wells ranges between 10 and 17 meters, and the diameter of their mouths is 0.7-0.8 m.

Stone wellhead as found in NP 38.1.

Fragment of a Doric column drum from NP 35.1.

The best preserved wellhead was found in NP 38.1: the drum of the head sits on a square base, carved of the same block, and has cuttings on its upper surface for fixing the lifting mechanism, certainly made of wood.

On a stone pile near the edge of the plateau, we also found a fragment of a Doric column drum, 0.6 in diameter.