The excavations of 2007

In 2007 the investigations in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia were largely based on results from two geophysical surveys in 2004 and 2006. They were conducted by Apostolos Sarris and his team from the Institute of Mediterranean Studies at Rethymnon, Crete. The 2007 excavations focused on two areas: Area I, close to the entrance to the archaeological site and to the south of Building D; and Area H to the southeast of the Temple to Poseidon.

Digital reconstruction of Area I after the end of the excavations in 2007. E. Savini.Digital reconstruction of Area I after the end of the excavations in 2007. E. Savini. 

In Area I a large building complex consisting of four rooms or spaces emerged. Objects found in the different rooms indicated their function. Thus in a room in the southwest, five coins were found together with two bronze fish hooks and a number of lead weights from fishing nets. Broken pottery in a small compartment in one corner may have fallen down from shelves in a kind of cupboard. The room may have been a fish shop or a tavern. In the second room food was prepared. A grill had been built in one corner and in front of it a pit was full of ashes and broken cooking pots. Yet another room may have been a storage space. Large broken pieces of storage jars were found together with a heap of ashes and charred olive pips. Building I obviously had at least two architectural phases, which can possibly be dated to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Judging from the way roof-tiles had fallen into the rooms, the building was not destroyed suddenly, but was abandoned in the Roman period and left to slowly disintegrate.

Digital reconstruction of Area H after the end of the excavations in 2007. E. Savini.Digital reconstruction of Area H after the end of the excavations in 2007. E. Savini. 

Area H turned out to be a complex area, where several cultural periods were represented. In the 2nd century BC, a large level area was created through a substantial fill of large boulders for a peribolos, a circuit wall similar to the one surrounding the temple area but of larger dimensions. Why this was done is not obvious, but specific activities must have taken place inside it. A bronze figurine of a Syrian type known as Reshef and datable to the late Bronze Age, was found in the leveling fill for the peribolos. Figurines of the type are commonly believed to represent a god.  Why this specimen was found in a context roughly a millennium later than the figurine itself, is a question that remains to be answered. In the southeast of Area H, three unfluted column drums, more than a meter in diameter and thus too big to have belonged to any of the known buildings in the sanctuary, are most likely the remains of a votive column from the end of the 6th century BC. Such votive columns are known to have existed in sanctuaries, such as Delphi and that of Aphaia on the neighboring Aigina. Underneath the fill for the peribolos a cultural layer datable to the late 8th century BC was found.

In both areas we decided to open large trenches in order to recover as much as possible of the architectural structures before excavating to any considerable depth. Our plan is to continue the excavations in the spring of 2008.

AP