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The 2012 excavation
The first season of the systematic excavation at the site lasted from the 2nd to the 28th July of 2012. It followed the three-year surface survey conducted by 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. Professor A. Mazarakis Ainian represents the University and Dr. A. Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou the 13th Ephorate.
Initially the area was divided into a grid by the topographer of the 13th Ephorate. The squares measure 5 x 5 m (comprising the bulks which are 1 m wide).
In 2012 the excavation works were limited to 11 squares.
1. Area outside the Fortification Wall at the section T1.1
SQUARE IE 15.
The part of the fortification wall at the section T1.1 was further excavated. In particular the continuation of the wall T1.1.3 was explored. It has been clarified that this wall ends at a distance of 1 m. south of the transverse wall T1.1.2. It is possible that the entrance to the settlement might have been placed at this spot. At the southeastern end of T1.1.3, an extensive layer of roof tiles was detected, which has not been removed at this stage.
SQUARE ÉÓÔ 17.
The corner created by the interior wall T1.1.1 and the transverse wall T1.1.4 was explored. T1.1.1 continues towards south. It seems therefore that a row of rectangular rooms existed behind the internal face of the fortification wall (T1.1.3). The presence of the fallen roof tiles indicate that these spaces might have been covered with ridged roofs.
The excavation of this sector lasted only a few days and the survey needs to be continued in order to allow for more secure conclusions. It is clear in any case that the form of the fortification wall at this spot, where the entrance was located, as well as that of the adjacent space must have been rather complicated.
The pottery revealed from squares IE 15 and ÉÓÔ 17 mainly dates to the Archaic period (with presence however of Protogeometric and Subprotogeometric sherds). Interesting Attic imports, like the Siana cup discovered in 2011, are included among the finds.
2. The Lower City
2.1. North Squares (ÉÆ 14, ÉÇ 13-14. Wall 7)
The partly preserved Wall T7 came to light within the limits of square IH 13. It is 0.50 m. Wide and it forms a right angle at its SW edge (its northeast edge has fallen from the cliff). The wall might have belonged to a roofed edifice, as indicated by parts of pebbled floor which were detected in situ inside the neighbouring square IH 14. The largest part of this construction must have fallen from the cliff too.
The supplementary exploration of the small rectangular cist detected in 2010 within square IZ 14 did not bring to light more finds. It should be reminded that the cist contained a few bones (one possibly human?), a few sherds, including the bottom of a miniature kotyle and partly preserved bronze and iron objects, as well as sea shells. Part of a bronze fibula, bronze arrow head, iron weapons and a bronze plaque with a relief rosette should be mentioned. The function of the cist remains unknown, but it is more possible that it served as a cult eschara. It does not seem to be an intra muros child burial. Unfortunately the erosion at this area is too extended with large part of the finds and the construction being lost.
2.2. South Squares
2.2.1. Square ÊÁ 17. Street?
A number of large stones were visible. However the excavation at this section was not fruitful due to the extended erosion. The bedrock came to light just under the surface and the pottery finds were too limited. The partly worked stones seem to follow a southeast to northwest direction and could have framed a road of approximately 3 m. width, which followed the direction of the fortification wall (T1.1-T1.3).
2.2.2 Square KB 19. Area Wall T1.3. Building T8 (oval edifice – industrial area (?) - PG-SubPG burnt layer with sea shells and bones, Wall T10).
The square KB 19 occupies the sector in which the explored stratigraphical section is located. As expected, the systematic exploration of this sector led to very interesting results. Directly under the surface, the archaic layers came to light. An oval edifice oriented from north to south, with dimensions 2.50 X 1.60 m. belongs to the early archaic phase. Its entrance must have been placed at the north-northwest narrow side. The foundation wall is carelessly made of a single row of stones and had a 0.50 m. width. Parts of its interior were covered with a layer of slabs, in particular in contact with the north and south foundation walls. These slabs represent either benches or remains of floor.
The south side of the oval structure is attached to the internal face of the fortification wall T1.3. This provides an important terminus ante quem for the construction of the latter and verifies the initial suggestion that it is early possibly Geometric. The excavation showed that T1.3 is not a terrace wall, since it presents a well-constructed internal face and an emplekton fill. Its preserved width is 1 m. (the external part at the section T1.3 was not preserved). The preserved height is 0.70 m. On this basis, the parts T1.1 - T1.6 belong to the early fortification of the settlement.
A triangular construction, composed of vertically placed roof tiles, which came to light at its west, can be associated with the oval edifice. Its sides have the same dimensions (0.59 m, max. height 0.24 m.). Its use remains unknown.
Two hearth-bottoms detected in close distance from the entrance of the oval edifice can be linked to the early archaic or archaic phases. This discovery suggests that the area close to T1.3 at the periphery of the settlement might have served for industrial uses and more particularly iron smithing. It should be noted that during the survey lumps of slag were detected outside the wall around the terrace wall T2.
A number of oval clay objects, badly fired, with holes for suspension, which might have served as loom weights, were found.
The excavation continued further deeper where the absence of overlaying constructions allowed it and brought to light the burnt layer with the charcoal, the animal bones, sea shesll and the PG and SubPG pottery, which has been already detected during the previous seasons. The amount of sea shells is huge. They represent mostly the types Cerastoderma glaucum and Patellidae. According to Dr. Tatiana Theodoropoulou which is responsible for their study, the former type must have been collected from marshy area with brackish waters. The lake of Ay. Georgios near the modern town of Skiathos, at a distance of ca. 1.5 km to the SW of Kephala, was a deep but probably marshy closed bay, which was much closer to the Kephala promontory than it is today. Many broken murex might indicate the production of purple. If this hypothesis can be verified, then Kephala will be one of the earliest sites in the Aegean providing industrial evidence already since the 10th century B.C.
The discovery of a fragment of a transport amphora of Catling’s Type I (Catling, R. 1998. The Typology of the Protogeometric and Subprotogeometric Pottery from Troia and its Aegean Context, Studia Troica 8, 151-187), which dates to the late 11th century should be noted.
The Protogeometric layer partly covered a construction with a northwest-southeast orientation (T11). This construction could represent a terrace wall which bordered the plateau during the Early Iron Age, when the site was firstly inhabited, before the construction of the fortification wall in the Geometric or early Archaic period. In order to This observation can be only verified when the excavation will be extended in order to bring to light the wall.
The settlement seems to have flourished during the 10th and 9th centuries, while the activities intensively continued during the archaic period in this area. It should be noted that sherds dating to the 8th century are absent from square ÊÂ 19. It is unknown whether this absence points to a gap of occupation at that period or is simply dependent on the limited area, which has been excavated. Except for very few sporadic finds, Classical and Hellenistic finds are lacking.
3. Upper City ("Acropolis"). Walls T5, T6, T9 and T10.
Squares ËÆ 2-3, ËÇ 2-3.
The top of the plateau is situated at the northeast edge of the hill at a height of +57.22 from the sea level. Two walls forming a right angle have been already detected (T5, T6). The area has been illegally explored and subsequently explored by the Greek Archaeological Service. Therefore the soil was disturbed at places until the bedrock. The area was further disturbed by the construction of the lighthouse of the airport in the early 70’s. According to the locals, a hastily made cell was situated on this spot.
Apart from walls T5, T6, which have been explored in 2010-2011, new walls came to light. Walls T9 and T10 were detected within square ËÆ 2, as well as an opening with threshold between T9 and the external corner of walls T5 and T6. They are carelessly constructed with a loose connection among the stones with large gaps. T6 does not connect with T5. In contact with the external corner of walls T5 and T6 at their base and in contact with the bedrock, contemporary objects, like plastic bags and a plastic bottle were discovered.
The collected material mostly belongs to the Classical and Hellenistic period. An almost complete glazed oinochoe and many fragments of "Megarian" bowls were found, while east of the external part of T5 and in contact with its lower edge, a small pit containing many sherds of transport amphorae some of which bearing lead links, was explored. Parts of clay figurines, glass beads, bone niddles come from the area west of wall T5. These finds could indicate the existence of a shrine which remained in use even after the abandonment of the settlement. A few seventh-century fragments come from the slopes around the top of the hill.
4. Early Iron Age Necropolis?
In 2012 a Classical shaft grave has been excavated in close distance southeast of the plateau. During this season, a careful inspection of the wider area around the site of Kephala led to the detection of one more burial on the either side of the Classical burial at the south edge of the Xanemos bay. The burial has been detected by the Master student Antonio Bianco. An urn burial is visible. An (Archaic?) amphora, 0.60 high is situated at its side with its mouth turned to northwest. Its lower part is surrounded by vertically placed stones.
Many rooftiles covering thick layers of charcoal, as well as constructions and walls were observed some dozens of meters northeast, where the sandy beach meets the slope of the settlement. It cannot be said whether they belong to burials, industrial or other installations. Only the systematic excavation of this area will allow some concrete conclusions.
The excavation team of 2012 was composed of the archaeologists:
Moreover a number of BA students in Archaeology of the University of Thessaly participated:
The architect Niria Kountouri undertook the drawings in collaboration with George Chiotis.
The 13th Ephorate was represented by its director Dr. Argyroula Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou, the archaeologist Eleni Chrysopoulou, the DPhil candidate Alkiviadis Ginalis, the topographer Roi Koutroumani and the workmen Thomas Papadogiannis and Thanasis Saltis.
The excavation was financially supported by the Research Committee of the University of Thessaly and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP). Mr. Vasilis Tambakis is to be specially thanked for providing residence for part of the excavation team. The excavation would not have taken place without his generous help and contribution.
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