The excavations of 2010

Fig. 1. Plan of the excavations in 2010, E. Savini.Fig. 1. Plan of the excavations in 2010, E. Savini. 

The Swedish Institute at Athens continued the excavations in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia in 2010, now under direction of Arto Penttinen, in the framework of a larger research program titled "The Sea, the city and the god". Within the program an important Greek sanctuary is studied in its maritime setting using a multitude of scientific and other approaches. The archaeological fieldwork in 2010 aimed at bringing to a conclusion some of the investigations, which had been commenced previously at various locations both inside and outside of the sanctuary proper (Fig. 1.).


Fig. 2. Reconstruction model, J. Pakkanen.Fig. 2. Reconstruction model, J. Pakkanen.

Excavations in Area I, at the entrance to the archaeological site but outside of the sanctuary, have been ongoing since 2007. In antiquity the area housed a fairly large building, which has been dated to the later Hellenistic and Early Roman times. In its initial phase, the building was a two-storey house with room units on the three sides of an open court-yard in the east (Fig. 2.). This corresponds well with well-known Hellenistic types of residential buildings.
Fig. 3. Fishing implements from Building I, S. BocherFig. 3. Fishing implements from Building I, S. BocherIn the next phase, which has been dated to the 1st century BC, some of the room units were divided into two, and installations for storage and processing of agricultural produce and food were added into others. A rich assemblage of mammal, bird and fish bones, of seashells, of several hundreds carbonized olive stones and also ash and charcoal from hearths reflect these activities. Among the finds from this period, the large amount of various fishing implements is striking (Fig. 3.). This may suggest that the building now had a mixed residential and commercial function or that the social status of its residents had somehow changed. The small-scale excavation conducted in one of the rooms in the southern part of the building in 2010 aimed at producing a stratigraphical sequence for the main phases of the building. The attempt was met with some success, as two discrete floor levels were found with finds such as various metal implements and lamps in situ (Fig. 4.).

Fig. 4. Lamp. Drawing A. Hooton.Fig. 4. Lamp. Drawing A. Hooton.

The investigations in the area need to continue, however, as substantial remains of an earlier building were found underneath the Hellenistic levels.

Building E in the westernmost part of the sanctuary has been considered its entrance building or propylaion. The large-scale work conducted in the building in 2010 aimed at removing soils and rubble that had been deposited on top of the building since the 1894 excavations in order to facilitate a renewed study of its architecture (Fig. 5.).

Fig. 5. Building E. Rectyfied photography and map, E. Savini.Fig. 5. Building E. Rectyfied photography and map, E. Savini. 

The width of the building's eastern wall and the southernmost part of its western wall now seems to suggest that the building had an open colonnade facing the open space in the middle of the sanctuary, whereas its facade towards the west was only open at the entrance to the building. The building technique suggests a date in the late 6th century BC and not in the Late Classical times, as has been proposed previously. This date was partly confirmed in the soundings made in the southern part of the building. An earlier wall with a slightly different orientation and a preliminary date in the late 8th or early 7th century BC was also recovered. The character of this wall and its possible continuation to the east of Building E need to be investigated further, however.

Fig. 6. Rectified photography and plan of Area P, E. Savini & M. LindblomFig. 6. Rectified photography and plan of Area P, E. Savini & M. Lindblom

In 1997 a trench was opened against the western peribolos wall of the Temple of Poseidon, and the result, a set of walls dated to the very end of the Bronze Age, were published in Opuscula Atheniensia 2003. New investigations were conducted in the area in 2010, partly as the presence of Bronze Age materials in different parts of the site has become more substantial since then, partly because excavation in the area was deemed necessary due to the poor state of preservation of the peribolos wall. As a result, parts of a multi-roomed structure or parts of two structures with slightly different dates, were recovered underneath a thick layer of rubble, dated to the Archaic times (Fig. 6.).

Fig. 7. Pottery from Area P. Drawings M. Lindblom & L. Klintberg.Fig. 7. Pottery from Area P. Drawings M. Lindblom & L. Klintberg.

The walls of the structure are preserved to a height of one to four courses of stones, and the pottery found in preserved patches of floor deposits date them safely to LH IIIC Early to Middle (Fig. 7.). Among the other finds, a folded bronze vessel and three small gold discs, probably used as jewelry or adornment of clothes, stand out (Fig. 8.).

Fig. 8. A folded bronze vessel and gold discs, S. Bocher.Fig. 8. A folded bronze vessel and gold discs, S. Bocher.

All were found in mixed Archaic/Mycenaean levels. More excavation is needed in the area for both reasons cited above. Yet it seems safe to assume that we here have the remains of a short-lived settlement, which post-dates the collapse of the Mycenaean palace society. Extensive analyses of the recovered environmental material will shed further light on living conditions on a Greek island towards the end of the Bronze Age.

Finally, the excavation into cistern F04 (Area D019), which was begun in 2009, was concluded in the fall of 2010, as the bottom of the cistern was reached at a depth of c. 4.5 m from the present-day surface. The circular shaft of the cistern has plastered walls and a diameter of c. 0.85 m. Its bottom has a moulding around a circular depression, which is obviously designed to catch silt (Fig. 9a.). A tunnel, 1.6 – 1.8 m high  and 0.55 – 0,65 m wide, leads from the cistern towards cistern F03 in the east, which was excavated in 2004 – 2005, and published in Opuscula Atheniensia 2006 – 2007 (Fig. 9b.).

Fig. 9. Cistern F04. Its bottom (left) and the entrance to the tunnel (right), P. Klingborg.Fig. 9. Cistern F04. Its bottom (left) and the entrance to the tunnel (right), P. Klingborg.

Similar systems of interconnected cisterns are well-known in Greece, but their uses merit further studies. Cistern F04 is obviously contemporaneous with the main phase of Building E, which has now been assigned a date around 500BC, whereas the previously excavated cistern F03 is in the context of Stoa D with a similar date. In the fill of F04 were found large amounts of roof-tiles as well as animal bones, sea-shells and other environmental materials. The pottery suggests a date for the final abandonment of the cistern in an advanced stage of the 1st century BC. However, an assemblage of iron objects and pottery with an earlier Hellenistic date, which were found near the bottom of the cistern, indicates an earlier episode of objects being dumped into the cistern.

Finds from the excavations in the sanctuary are being studied all year in the Poros Museum in view of publication in near future. Conservation of objects also takes place there. On the archaeological site, some of the recovered structures have been covered by temporary roofs, and measures of emergency conservation have been taken at some of the structures in co-operation with the 26th Ephorate of Classical and Pre-historic antiquities at Peiraeus (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. A protective roof being constructed next to the peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon, M. Lindblom.Fig. 10. A protective roof being constructed next to the peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon, M. Lindblom. 

It is also among the program's objectives to keep the local community informed about the work being conducted in the sanctuary. This has been done through guided tours on the site and an exhibition of photographs in Poros town. In August a full-moon concert with classical music was organized for the second time  in co-operation with the Ephorate and the Municipality of Poros.