The excavations of 2011

The Swedish Institute at Athens continued the excavations in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia in 2011 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 2011 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.

Plan of the excavations in 2011, E. Savini.Plan of the excavations in 2011, E. Savini. 

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.

The hellenistic building in Area I. Reconstruction model, J. Pakkanen.The hellenistic building in Area I. Reconstruction model, J. Pakkanen.

In the small-scale excavation conducted in the eastern part of the area in 2011, it was realized that the Hellenistic building had been constructed on top of one, if not several buildings, dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC. In the east, the Classical building plot is delimited by a well-built terrace wall in the east, which is preserved to a height of c. 1 m.

Wall 62 in Area I. J. Habetzeder.Wall 62 in Area I. J. Habetzeder.

As the remains from the Classical period are superimposed by thick accumulations from the Hellenistic period, finds from the Classical period are scarce so far. An interesting feature among them is a well-built drain leading to a kopron in of the buildings. This feature will be further investigated in 2012.

Building E in the westernmost part of the sanctuary has been considered its entrance building or propylaion. The excavations in the building, and the documentation of its architecture were concluded in 2011. 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. Work towards a digital reconstruction of the building is ongoing

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 and 2011, 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.

Area P001 west of the Peribolos. Vertical photography and plan, E. Savini & M. Lindblom.Area P001 west of the Peribolos. Vertical photography and plan, E. Savini & M. Lindblom.

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.

Pottery from Area P001, M. Lindblom & L. Klintberg.Pottery from Area P001, M. Lindblom & L. Klintberg.

Among other finds two miniature double-axes from bronze, and a bronze-coated gold ring with a depiction of a waterfowl stand out. The last-mentioned was found in a layer of later fill, and is probably of a Roman date.

A miniature double-axe of bronze and a gold ring, C. Mauzy.A miniature double-axe of bronze and a gold ring, C. Mauzy.

The excavations in the area were concluded in 2011, as it was realized that the architectural remains were not continuous to the west, and that they to the east had been demolished when the peribolos wall of the Temple of Poseidon was erected at around 500 BC. Yet it can now be concluded 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 can shed further light on living conditions on a Greek island towards the end of the Bronze Age.

In Building A, a stoa from the 5th century BC, a trench was opened in the northeastern corner of the structure in 2009. The excavation in that trench was concluded in 2011, and a new trench was opened in the northwestern corner of the building.

Building A. Vertical photography and plan, E. Savini.Building A. Vertical photography and plan, E. Savini.

In the latter trench, a layer of fallen roof-tiles was recovered and examined.

Vertical photography of the layer of roof-tiles. E. Savini.Vertical photography of the layer of roof-tiles. E. Savini. 

Even though many of the roof-tiles could be restored almost complete, it seems that the layer of roof-tiles was tampered with at some later stage, and that some, flimsy structures were erected on top of the tiles.

Roof tiles from Building A. J.-F. Billot.Roof tiles from Building A. J.-F. Billot.

Finds from underneath the tile layer have been preliminarily dated to the 2nd century BC, which would seem to mean that Building A was for some reason destructed at an early stage in the history of the sanctuary, and was then allowed to remain as a ruin in its midst. This is an interesting hypothesis that merits further investigation. The excavations in Building A will continue in 2012.

In co-operation with KST’ Ephorate, the western peribolos of the Temple of Poseidon was conservated and consolidated, so that it no longer poses a danger to the visitors’ safety.

The peribolos wall before and after conservation. M. Friden and J. Pakkanen.The peribolos wall before and after conservation. M. Friden and J. Pakkanen.

Outside of the sanctuary, where the ancient city of Kalaureia is located, and area which has been expropriated by the Archaeological Service was cleared of vegetation, so that the archaeological remains there, including the remains of the city wall, are now visible.

Remains of a tower in the city wall of Kalaureia. C. Mauzy.Remains of a tower in the city wall of Kalaureia. C. Mauzy.

In the Archeological Museum of Poros, finds were conservated and studied throughout the year. An extensive publication of the Hellenistic and Roman phases in Building I, which includes analyses of both the artifacts and the bio-archaeological remains, will be handed in for publication in December 2011. In 2012, a final publication of the investigations at Kalaureia in 2003 – 2005, and reports of the Bronze Age remains, described above, and on Archaic pottery from the area of Temple of Poseidon, are foreseen.

Digital Terrain Model of the archaeological site. E. Savini.Digital Terrain Model of the archaeological site. E. Savini.