Sikyon survey project

The 2008 season

Geophysical research

Geophysical survey this year has been conducted by the University of York, which covered with a gradiometer an area of 81922 m2.

Overall, from 2004 to 2008, an area of some 40 hectares has been surveyed with geophysical techniques.

Results of magnetic survey during 2008.

The areas surveyed with geophysical methods from 2004 to 2008.

During 2008 emphasis was placed on the Upper plateau, which was less investigated in previous years, in an effort to locate possible traces of installations -sources of the thin ceramic scatter in this area. The extensive geophysical research at the center of the plateau, where surface survey recorded higher ceramic densities than in the surrounding region, did not yield clear signs of building, although the processing of the data is still under way. Obvious geophysical anomalies observed here are due rather to geological phenomena (mostly faults) and to modern anthropogenic features (ploughing ditches). On the contrary at the eastern side of the plateau results were astonishing. For the fist time we have clear signs for the existence of a city-grid here, which we had so far detected only in the lower plateau: more specifically, three perpendicular (N-S) and two horizontal (E-W) streets were detected, which are fully integrated into the ancient grid system (oriented to the cardinal points and consisting of squares almost 69m of a side).

In addition, at the easternmost tract among the ones surveyed this year, the extension of the recognized ancient street towards the east brings us into a ground of strong slope nowadays, rather prohibitive for an ancient street suitable for wheel traffic. This suggests that the slope of the upper plateau at least in this area was much less pronounced in antiquity, and that its current slope is a product of an artificial leveling of the ground for cultivation in the course of recent decades.

Traces of streets as detected with magnetic prospection in the upper plateau.

Traces of streets and architectural details as detected with magnetic prospection in the south plateau.

In the lower plateau we concentrated on the apricot groves immediately to the east of the agora as well on scatted fields in the south-eastern sector of the plateau, both close and within the modern settlement. Because of the kind of crops, research in the tracts to the east of the agora was difficult yet necessary in order to draw information on the limits of the agora in this direction and its relation to the residential area of the ancient city.

At least two perpendiculars and one horizontal street were recognized along with various walls some of which are connected with the bath complex that we mapped on the surface. Streets and various components of city-blocks were also recognized in fields close to the southern edge of the plateau, even in fields within the modern settlement and despite the substantial background noise from modern activities.