The Thesprotia Expedition
THE THESPROTIA EXPEDITION
A Regional, Interdisciplinary Survey Project
in Northwestern Greece
The preliminary results of the first two seasons of the Thesprotia Expedition are as follows.
I. Archaeological survey
The Prehistory of the Kokytos Valley
The earliest remains of human activity in the area date to the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic periods (ca. 100,000 to 11,000 BP). Epirus as a whole is renowned for its plentiful finds from these periods and our finds fit well into this general picture. We have documented three large sites dating to this time span. Two of them were previously known and are located in red soil beds (PS 22 and PS 23). They have now been sampled intensively for the first time, revealing several find concentrations. The third site of this period (PS 4) is interesting because it is located next to a natural source of flint and thus should most probably be interpreted as a knapping site.
Of greater interest is the fact that we have located the two first known Mesolithic sites in Thesprotia. One of them (PS 3) produced a wide range of tools and flakes, including arrowheads, trapezes, end scrapers, perçoirs, bladelets, and cores. The total sample consists of several hundred lithics. It is worth noting that the two sites are located in an inland valley and not, as usually occurs, on the coast.
The later prehistoric period is represented by another four sites. The dating of these is uncertain due to the rudimentary state of the local pottery chronology. On the basis of our present knowledge, three of them can be dated broadly to the Late/Final Neolithic to Bronze Age (ca. 4000 to 1000 B.C.). Two of the sites (PS 18 and PS 20) produced nice examples of arrowheads dating to the Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age. The fourth one (PS 17) produced large quantities of Orange-Red pottery, a local ware dated to the Iron Age (tenth to seventh centuries BC). This last prehistoric site (PS 17) is located at the foot of Agios Donatos of Zervochori (PS 25), a small acropolis site that was inhabited from at least the fourth century BC until the second century AD.