The Thesprotia Expedition

2004 - 2005




and palynological

Trial excavations












A Regional, Interdisciplinary Survey Project

in Northwestern Greece

The preliminary results of the archaeological work conducted during the fifth season of the Thesprotia Expedition are as follows.

Geo-archaeological and palynological work

The intensive field survey was finished in 2007. Thereby the fifth consecutive field season of the Thesprotia Expedition consisted of continued geo-archaeological work, taking of further palynological samples from lakes in the region, and trial excavations at three different sites.

The geo-archaeological survey was finished this year by taking more soil samples with a hand auger at several locations. A special emphasis was put on establishing the size of the Neolithic to Bronze Age site PS 12 in Sevasto and the village located next to the Early Christian basilica Paliokklisi of Zervochori (PS 27. The preliminary results, especially of the work done in the immediate surroundings of PS 12, are very promising and seem to indicate that the site is much larger than what was previously thought. It may even be close to 100 x 100 m large, although this needs to be checked by further trial trenches.

A separate investigation was also conducted this year, focusing on Middle and Upper Palaeolithic site-formation processes and palaeo-environmental analyses of associated terra rossa deposits. In PS 23/Unit 5 (part of Mikro Karvounari), where Middle Palaeolithic artefacts in 2005 had been recovered in what appeared to be a primary context, three trenches were dug in order to expose underlying palaeosoils. Samples were collected for possible dating with Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) from the profile. The palaeosoils appear to have developed on secondarily deposited terra rossa and, based upon colour and ped structure, may be categorised as MS4 or MS5 (40,000 to 80,000 years old). Samples for OSL dating and laboratory analyses were also collected from the site of Morphi, where a thick tephra layer underlying the terra rossa deposits and dating to 374,000 ± 7,000 yr has been detected by previous research (Quaternary Research 49, 1998, 280 - 286).

The coring work in the lakes of the region was continued and finished this year. In the Kalodiki lake of Morphi, coring was concentrated at the centre of the lake, partly at a small island of peat, with a maximum depth of coring of 10.65 m. The objective is to reconstruct the development of the vegetation history of the Holocene. In conjunction with the geological record, including C-14 dating, a landscape history will be presented with possible climatic scenarios. Some coring was also done in the Acherousian lake with the aim of better estimating the lake’s size in ancient times as well as defining what type of environment/landscape the lake deposits represent. Finally, one core was drilled in the centre of the Chotkova lake. Here several levels of palaeosoils are present and the objective with this year’s core was to try to sample organic horizons in order to obtain C-14 dates for dating possible periods of dryness and associated soil formation.

The geo-archaeological and palynological samples taken in 2008 are presently (March 2009) being analysed in laboratories in Helsinki, Amsterdam and Bloomington, IN.  

Trial excavations