The Thesprotia Expedition
THE THESPROTIA EXPEDITION
A Regional, Interdisciplinary Survey Project
in Northwestern Greece
The preliminary results of the archaeological work conducted during the fourth season of the Thesprotia Expedition are as follows.
Continued survey and prospecting
The fourth consecutive field season of the Expedition consisted of intensive field survey, a geo-archaeological survey, geophysical prospecting, and taking of palynological samples from lakes in the region, as well as trial excavations at three sites.
This was the last field season in which the intensive field survey was continued. The total area covered by the intensive survey in four years amounts to ca. 4 km2. The area surveyed in 2007 was located on the actual valley bottom to the east of the Kokytos river. We identified a total of 13 new places of special interest (indicated by PS), most of which are to be considered as sites. This brings the total number of places of special interest documented by us within the 4 km2 to 49, which corresponds to roughly 12 sites per km2.
Among the places of special interest documented this year was a cluster of Middle to Upper Palaeolithic lithics (PS 45) as well as a Mesolithic site producing a large spectrum of tools and flakes (PS 43). We also documented several sites dating to the Classical to Hellenistic period with black glazed pottery and loomweights as well as coarse ware and roof tiles (PS 37, PS 44, PS 46, PS 48 and PS 49). One of them, PS 46, which lies only some hundred metres away from the Early Iron Age site PS 36 (cf. AR 2006 - 2007), also produced some Early Iron Age sherds and some Early Roman terra sigillata. Finally we found one Middle Roman site (PS 41), two Late Roman sites (PS 38, PS 39) and at least one Early Modern site (PS 47).
The geo-archaeological survey continued along the same lines as in 2006 with e.g. further coring at Mavromandilia of Prodromi. The Early Iron Age through Classical finds made at PS 31 and PS 36, as well as at a third place explored by the 32nd Ephorate, all seem to belong to one and the same site located next to several springs and a small stream once flowing into the Kokytos river. The geophysical prospecting with magnetometer and georadar continued. The most interesting finds were once again made next to the Early Christian basilica of Zervochori, where the magnetometer survey revealed a large square building, measuring at least 25 x 30 m and probably belonging to the same village located next to the basilica which was partly uncovered already last year.
This year the palynological team, under direction of Henk Kars and Sjoerd Kluiving from VU University in Amsterdam, began its work by coring in the lakes of Prontani, Chotkova and Kalodiki. The most interesting results regarding climate reconstruction and geomorphology were obtained from the Kalodiki lake at Morphi. According to the C-14 dates, the timescale of the analysis of the calcareous gyttja layer is set to a minimum of 40,000 14C yrs BP. The pollen sequence correlation suggests a possible Middle to Late Pleistocene dating of the calcareous gyttja sediment. It seems that in that period the basin was enclosed and the surrounding hills were most likely vegetated. These conditions prevented the occurrence of erosion and provided the conditions for accumulation of an undisturbed sedimentological sequence, which is an ideal archive for regional climate and environmental reconstruction. These ideal conditions changed with the activation of the alluvial fans and the subsequent erosion of the lacustrine deposits. It is suggested that this event is related to the dramatic climate change from the Pleistocene to the Holocene period.