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The 2011 Survey

The Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly, in collaboration with the 13th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture, continued the survey at the site of Kephala, on the island of Skiathos over a restricted period of time (27/6-6/7/2011).

 

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Topographical plan of the site of Kephala (2010).

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Detail of the topographical plan .


During the season of 2011, the following activities were carried out:

  1. 1. Surface cleanings were carried out and plans of parts of the fortification wall -in particular of the section T1.1 (T1.1.1 – T1.1.4)- were made.
  2. The section T1.4 of the fortification wall was cleaned.
  3. At the section T1.3 of the wall, where the erosion is extensive, the stratigraphical section was extended, in order to further study the subsequent levels of occupation of the plateau.
  4. A rescue excavation of a grave, hanging over the hill, southeast of the settlement, was conducted.
  5. The rescue excavation extended at the neighbouring area of the grave and an ancient well was detected.
  6. A systematic survey and collection of surface finds was conducted.

A. THE FORTIFICATION WALL (T1.1 – T1.7)

The 2009-2010 survey allowed the detection of parts of the fortification wall, preserved along the south and southeastern sides of the settlement, which are accessible from the coast. One of its sections at the southwest preserves a series of indentations (T1.6). At the visible parts of the fortification, the construction is indicative of an early date. At certain points (in particular at T1.4) the preserved height is over 3 m. Parts of the wall could belong to the Geometric period, as indicated by the Late Geometric and early archaic sherds, found within the “emplekton” fill of the wall at the section T1.4, in 2009.

Fortification Wall T1.1

The best preserved section of the wall is situated at the southwestern part of the settlement (T1.1), where a gate should be sought. The part of the construction, which has been cleaned during the previous seasons, proved finally to be an interior room inside of the wall. At this section, well-preserved parts of the external face of the wall and its “emplekton” fill (T1.1.1), as well as part of a transverse wall, 1.04 m. long and 0.80 m. long (T1.1.2) were detected. During the 2011 season, another transverse to T1.1.1 wall (T1.1.4), of 0.50 m. width, came to light in a distance of 7 m. from T1.1.2. Moreover a rectangular part of the fortification wall, running parallel to T1.1.1 was discovered, in a distance of 2.80 m. It is therefore clear that four walls (T1.1.1-4) frame a rectangular space with approximate internal dimensions 7 X 2 m. Wall T1.1.3, which is 12 m. long and 1 m. high was founded on the bedrock. It is constructed of large and medium-sized worked, rectangular stones and represents the external face of the fortification wall. Its width is not known. The precise form of the fortification wall here cannot be deduced due to the vast vegetation, even though it has been observed that it meets at a right angle the indented part of the wall T1.6.

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The internal space T1.1.1, 2 and 4, from SW.

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The SE corner of the internal space T1.1.1-4 (corner of T1.1.1 with T1.1.4).

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Details of the external face of T1.3, from W.


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The external T1.3, from South.

Outside the wall, Geometric and Archaic sherds were collected, including fragments of black-figured and black-glazed Attic pottery of the late 6th or the early 5th centuries B.C. Part of a Siana cup, dating to the third quarter of the 6th century, which can be assigned to the Griffin-Bird Painter was found too.

Early archaic sherds were collected from the foundation level of the transverse wall T1.1.4, which provide a chronology for the construction of this wall.

Fortification Wall T1.4

At this section, the fortification wall has been preserved to a height of over 3 m. The external part of the wall has largely collapsed. During this season, the survey attempted to define the external course of the fortification wall.

The construction was cleaned until its foundation layer. The external face of the wall presents a stepped formation, but its bad state of preservation does not allow for fully understanding its form at this section. A shoulder fragment of a large closed shape, decorated with concentric semicircles of the Protogeometric period, came to light slightly higher from the bedrock,

 

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Part of the T1.4 wall from S.

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Protogeometric fragment from the foundation layer of T1.4.


Fortification Wall T1.3 Stratigraphical Section

At the section T1.3 of the wall, where the erosion is extensive, the stratigraphical section, which was opened in 2010, was further extended. Six layers have been defined from the surface until a depth of -1.75/1.85 m.:

(1) From a depth of -0.80 m. to that of -1.06 m. from the surface, the soil was loose and disturbed.
(2) A layer of fallen stones, which seems to be linked to the emplekton filling of the fortification wall, extended from a depth of -1.26 m.
(3) The soil of the layer extending from 1.26 m. to -1.52 m. was too hard
(4) Sparse small stones occupied a layer extending from -1.52 m. to -1.58 m.
(5) The layer extending from -1.58 m. to -1.76 m. (at parts to -1.84 m.) presents a sudden fall towards south. The soil was loose and contained ashes, animal bones and sea shells (cardium, limpets and oysters). This layer contained many Protogeometric and Subprotogeometric sherds (10th – 9th c. B.C.). Since the stratigraphical section was not extended enough, it cannot be concluded where the layer represents a deposit area or a habitation layer. In any case, this layer was detected over a construction with a NW-SE direction made of small stones which should belong to a lower level.
(6) The final layer composed of light brown soil extended at least to a depth of 1.86 m., where the bedrock appears.

The fortification wall at the section T1.3 is destroyed, but according to the first indications, it seems that it was founded higher from the Protogeometric/Subprotogeometric layer 5.

 

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T1.3. View of the stratigraphical section from S.

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Protogeometric fragment with concentric circles.


Â. OUTSIDE THE PLATEAU

The necropolis

One of the burial grounds of the settlement should be sought southeast of the settlement, in close distance to the coast, where a grave with one of its cover slabs in situ was visible at a height of 8 m. from the sea level, ready to collapse into the sea. Large stone slabs were detected in the neighbouring area removed from their original position, possibly due to illegal activity.

A JCB created a stepped terrace, which allowed the excavation of the grave. The slabs covered a shaft –and not a cist, as it has been firstly assumed- grave opened in the soft rock. The preserved length of the shaft was 1.70 m and its width 0.60 m. The grave had an interior flange, 0.12 wide, at a height of 0.25 m. from the bottom of the tomb. The skeleton lied in an extended supine position, oriented from east to southeast. The head and part of the upper body have fallen over the cliff. Two Attic red-figured aryballos lekythoi were found in contact with the left hand and the left leg of the deceased. The first shows a ram, while the second is decorated with a winged female figurine seated on a stool. The vases date to the transition from the fifth to the fourth centuries B.C. The discovery of the grave is of major importance, since it indicates the area which needs to be explored for the detection of the later necropolis of the settlement. Moreover, it testifies that the activity at the settlement continued until the Classical period.


Well

The small-scale excavation, which aimed at creating access to the grave, brought to light an ancient well in a small distance from the grave and at the same depth (-2.50 m. from the surface level). The well had a diameter of 0.85 m. and it was explored until a depth of 3.12 m. A ring, composed of stones, 0.80-1 m. wide, surrounded the mouth of the well. The well seems to be contemporary with the grave and it must have destroyed earlier graves, as indicated by the vertically placed slabs which formed part of a round construction around its north and east side.

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The area of the well and its association with the plateau from SE.

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The well from NW.

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Protogeometric sherd.


C. FINDS

The finds, collected during the 2011 survey, testify that the earliest activity at the site goes back at least to the Protogeometric period. A number of collected sherds, dating from the 10th to the 8th c. B.C., must be Euboean. Except from the pottery, the vases from the grave also attest that the settlement was occupied during the Classical period too.

The finds were catalogued and they are now kept at the Archaeological Museum of Volos. The 165 characteristic finds, which were given a specific catalogue number, were described in detail and photographed.

THE RESEARCH TEAM

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The members of the research team (2011).

In 2011, the research team of the University was composed of Professor Alexander Mazarakis Ainian, the archaeologists Dr. Alexandra Alexandridou, Dr. Katerina Tzavelopoulou, the Master degree holders Ioanna Andreou and George Chiotis, the Masters students Lito Nikolaidi, Olga Prappa, Arianna Sacco, Dora Strinopoulou, Paraskevi Theocharidou, Natalena Zachou, the BA holders in Archaeology Eleni Mastrogianni and the BA students Argyro Kontou, Evaggelia Liapi, Eleni Makedona, Myrto Manatou, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Eugenia Papadopoulou, Theodora Patsika, Eleni Papadimitriou, Maria Rentifi, Tonia Stephanou, Stauroula Stratou, Athena Trebiska. The BA student in architecture Niria Kountouri was also part of the research team. The 13th Ephorate was represented by Dr. Argyroula Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou and Eleni Chrysopoulou.

The survey was financed by the University of Thessaly (ĘÁĹ 4129), while the residence expenses of the team on Skiathos were covered by the Cultural Association of Xanemos and the municipality of Skiathos. Mr. Vasileios Tambakis should be specially thanked for his valuable help.


Á. Mazarakis Ainian
Professor of Classical Archaeology

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