Sikyon survey project

The 2007 season

Archaeological survey - South Plateau

Absolute sherd and rooftile counts from the 2007 season in the South Plateau.

In the South Plateau we investigated the area south of the agora (SP 54-81) as well as the ridge projecting off the south-eastern edge of the plateau (SP 82). Ceramic densities in the area south of the agora showed large variation depending on soil condition and cultivation. Concentrations in the range of 400-600 sherds or more were observed only in a few squares (around SP 60, 65, 70, 76, 77 and 79). At the latter, which is an olive grove with excellent visibility, a square yielded over 900 sherds and 600 tiles, and its adjacent squares densities higher than 600 sherds. Most likely this square represents the nucleus of a habitation with a space reserved for food preparation as betrayed by its associated finds (cookpots, loomweights, lamps etc.) and the high magnetic responses produced by the gradiometer survey.

Architectural remains, either in situ or discarded, abound. Most common are walls of ashlar masonry which, as in the rest of the plateau, are oriented N-S, E-W, in other words they were incorporated in the ancient city-grid.

Most important is the double wall located in SP81.6, 1 m wide, which seems to belong to the same large complex than the walls located in adjacent squares.

We also located a conglomerate quarry in SP69.3, part of a rubble and mortar wall (SP76.7), and a shaft of a cistern in SP80.3.

Architectural remains in SP 71.1.

Part of the double wall in SP 81.6.

Among the movable finds we recorded several grindstones, and in SP79.9 the trapetum of an olive-mill -the first that we find within the walls of Sikyon.

Part of the quarry in SP 69.3.

The trapetum of the olive-mill (upside down) in SP 79.9.

Research in the narrow knob projecting off the south-east corner of the plateau (SP82) produced results markedly different from those in the rest of the plateau. The hill itself has undergone severe erosion on all sides, as a result of natural and human activity.

Absolute sherd and rooftile counts from the 2007 season in SP 82.

Ceramic densities here are less than 100 sherds per square with the exception of two squares (SP82.5 and 82.23) which have higher concentrations.

What makes this area to stand out from the rest of the plateau is first its pottery, which in its majority is of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date, and second the fact that in most squares the number of tiles is twice or even more the number of sherds. Regarding ceramics, its preliminary study showed that they go back at least to the Early Helladic period and continue down to the Late Helladic III, whereas very few sherds can be dated between the Classical and the Roman periods. On the opposite, we observed several sherds and tiles of Byzantine and post-Byzantine date, which are periods that are minimally represented in other areas of the plateau. These observations are important with regard to the Mycenaean presence in the broader area, that was thus far substantiated only by the Mycenaean burials of Tragana, but also vis-a-vis the activity from the Byzantine period onwards when Vasiliko was an important castle of western Corinthia. Many of the roof-tiles in particular belong to later periods and most likely relate to defensive works in this naturally fortified hill, with its unimpeded view towards the coastal plain and Acrocorinth. We have located a number of stone blocks, occasionally in situ, and in SP82.19 part of a rectangular building with ashlar foundations, inner division and E-W orientation. At its eastern end we discerned an apsidal formation, with its preserved upper masonry made of rubble and mortar. It seems that we are dealing with a church of small dimensions built on top of an ancient structure. The study of the pottery retrieved from this area may help us to date the church.

The narrow ridge projecting off the south-east side of the plateau.

Part of the building in SP 82.19.