The excavations of 2009

 Fig. 1.Fig. 1.

In keeping with the overall goals of the Kalaureia Research Program, the 2009 excavations at the Sanctuary of Poseidon still focused on the areas where investigations have been ongoing since 2007: Area H to the southeast of the Temple of Poseidon and Area I at the entrance to the present-day archaeological site (Fig. 1). In Area H we expected to have finds pertaining to the cult of Poseidon as well as to establish the border of the sanctuary towards the east. In Area I the aim was to further investigate the character of the activities at a location close to the entrance of a major sanctuary of the ancient Greeks. Smaller-scale excavations were conducted inside the peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon, inside and outside Building A and in a cistern named D019 next to Building E. The following report is based on preliminary studies of the finds and personal communications with various specialists in the Kalaureia team.

Area I
In Area I the previously excavated area was extended towards the southeast in Area I005 and deep excavation was conducted primarily in Area I004 in the southwestern part of the area. A wall in the latter area has a different orientation from the later building in the area and would, together with another wall in the easternmost part of Area I, seem to belong to the earliest phase of activity. Some pottery and a couple of coins point to dates in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. In the next phase a regular building with large, rectangular rooms and possibly an open courtyard in the east was erected in the area. A coin hoard, found against the foundation of one of its walls, contained 12 coins of the local Kalaureian mint, one illegible coin and one from Troizen datable to the later part of the 3rd century BC. An almost complete mold-made relief bowl was found nearby and can probably be connected with the hoard (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2.Fig. 2. 

The lay-out of the building as well as the character of pottery and other finds indicate that the building was originally a residential one. At some point during the 1st century BC a number of internal structures, such as an oven and various storage facilities were added to the building, and at least one of its rooms was divided into two by means of an internal wall. Signs of repair in some of the walls also suggest that the original building had previously suffered some damage, although there are no signs of fire. Among the finds from this phase are many tools and weights as well as a large number of coins. This suggests a commercial use for the building. Finds among the collapsed roof of the building date its destruction to the second half of the 1st century AD. A number of rubble wall foundations close to the present-day surface  point to activities in the area in later Roman times and perhaps also in Late Antiquity, as a 7th century AD coin is among the finds. A drain, built of re-used roof-tiles, post-dates the destruction of the earlier building, and can perhaps seen as an indication of agricultural production in the area during the Roman times or later.

Area H
The two walls recovered in Area H in the excavations 2007–2008 (Walls 48 and 49 in Fig. 3) were previously thought to make part of an enclosure constructed in Hellenistic times. The 2009 excavations showed that Wall 48 is actually a monumental drain leading from the peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon towards the southeast (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3.Fig. 3. 

The drain meets Wall 49 at a right angle. Wall 49 was built in the late Archaic period, perhaps in conjunction with the deposition of the three monumental column drums located in previous excavations in the area. Wall 49 is now considered the temenos wall of the sanctuary and was most likely still in use in Hellenistic times. The stratigraphy shows signs of extensive terracing and leveling works during both periods. Finds from the many trenches dug in the area both inside and outside of the temenos wall, such as animal bones, miniature pottery and metal objects, certainly pertain to activities inside the peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon. A deposition of a number of miniature lamps, some pottery and a bronze bracele close to the entrance to the peribolos is datable to around 500 BC, and a one-time occurrence. A deep stratum with finds of Archaic pottery and metal objects, such as personal ornaments and weapons, was excavated to the southeast of the temenos wall and thus outside of it. The finds are preliminarily interpreted as cult refuse thrown out from the sanctuary when the wall was built. Remains of a large bronze vessel found within ashy soil and with animal bones and corroded iron knives and daggers scattered around it perhaps constitutes evidence of a ritual carried out at the same point in time.

The peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon
Inside the peribolos, nothing but the foundation trenches remain of the temple that was once there. The objectives of the 2009 excavations in the area were to establish the dimensions of the foundations, and, if possible, the level of the krepidoma. Both objectives were reached, and the contrasting interpretations made by Wide and Kjellberg in 1894 and Welter in the 1930s can therefore be corrected.  A large number of roof-tiles, found in one of the excavated trenches (Fig. 4) now constitute new evidence of the design of the Late Archaic temple.

 Fig. 4.Fig. 4.

A number of earlier Archaic roof-tiles may point to the existence of an earlier tiled structure in the area.

Building A
Building A, the most well-preserved of the three stoas in the Sanctuary of Poseidon, has previously been dated to the late 5th century BC based on the preserved Doric capital of the exterior order. However, the closest parallel to the unusual interior Ionic base comes from the Hypostyle Hall at Argos (450–425 BC).

Fig. 5.Fig. 5.

In 2009 excavations were conducted both outside and inside Building A in order to establish its chronology (Fig. 5). Outside of the building parts of its lime-stone geison was found in situ as it had fallen, whereas other architectural members of hard lime-stone had obviously been cut into smaller pieces at some later stage to be re-used in other buildings or burned to lime. Inside the building, the progress of excavation into its floor level was slowed by the find of an internal structure. The excavations will be continued in 2010, and as the finds are still under study, no conclusive results can yet be presented. 

 Fig. 6.Fig. 6.

A lone, Hadrianic coin (Fig. 6), found outside of the building in a 1894 excavation dump may suggest that the building was still in use in the early part of the 2nd century AD.

Cistern D019
Excavations in the cistern situated immediately to the south of the southernmost wall of Building E (Fig. 1) were continued to a level of c. 2.5 m from the present-day surface. The existence of a subterranean gallery between this cistern and the one excavated previously in the same area was confirmed, but the excavation was halted for security reasons at that point. The finds from the fill, still under study, display the same characteristics as the finds from the previously excavated cistern. Animal bones, such as of dogs and snakes, were discovered, as well as a large number of roof-tiles and architectural terracottas. Among the latter, a 5th-century BC sima, presumably from Building E, is prominent (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7.Fig. 7.