On the 19th of October (19:15-19:30 Athens time), we will be participating in the 2nd Conference of Local History, hosted by the Municipality of Mt. Pangaion. The conference aims to promote the dissemination of scientific reasearch relating to the region to the local community.
Our presentation will be titled: “Metallurgy, Religion and War: an Argive shield from the sanctuary of Oisyme”, and will involve the first unveiling of our photogrammetry reconstructions. The proceedings will be streamed live here
As part of our project, we are attempting the photogrammetric rendering of arms from our studied sites. Currently, we are working on the 3d reconstruction of spearheads and swords from Tragilos (Aidonochori) as well as weapons from the sanctuary of Oisyme.
–Simplified model of a shield-band fragment from Oisyme.
Photogrammetry is a fascinating method of reconstructing a three-dimensional object from a set of photographs, taken from different angles. These photographs are fed into a specialized software suite, where points of reference are identified on the objects; then, through a process called ‘Structure from Motion’, these points are used to track the movement of the camera between photos and, through that, ‘assemble’ the shape of the photographed object.
Our stay there will enable us to have a close look at the finds from Aidnochori / Tragilos, one of the most important 6th-century cemeteries in eastern Macedonia.
–A ‘light’ spear- or javelin-head from the Aidonochori cemetery.
The site was excavated from the 1970s onwards and is still visible today, near the Monastery of Timios Prodromos. It has yielded several dozen graves, most of which were looted, or contained very few grave goods. However,these graves also include several ‘warrior’ burials, with spears, swords, knives and other pieces of military equipment. All of these finds remain unstudied and unpublished, and only one knife is currently exhibited in the Kavala Museum!
–A 6th-century shield-band from the sanctuary of Oisyme, rendered in 3D.
We are also excited to report that, as part of our research trip, we will be using photogrammetry techniques to reconstruct many of our finds as 3d models! We will be using 3DF Zephyr, an excellent, lightweight and fast photogrammetry software suite. We will be making many of these models available here, on the project website, so stay tuned for future updates!
Around the second quarter of the 7th century, the first indications of an organized Greek settlement can be identified on and around the Thasos acropolis. The sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena on the acropolis hill, and of Heracles and Artemis near the 6th-century agora are established. The material recovered from these sanctuaries consists primarily of fine pottery, jewelry, loom weights, figurines and statuary. Unfortunately, very little in the way of early votive weaponry has been recovered from these holy sites. This is quite interesting: in the central and southern Aegean, weapon dedications in sanctuaries are considerably more common than in the Thasian sphere during the 7th and particularly the 6th century.
–7th-century BCE reliefs depicting panthers, from the sanctuary of Apollo on the Thasos acropolis.
We are pleased to report that the Warriors on the Periphery project has received an extension for the academic year 2018-2019. This will allow us to incorporate the finds from the sites of Drama and Tragilos in our study, establish a geographical and historical context for the developments in the Kavala Gulf and chemically analyse the metal alloys of our dataset, for more in-depth provenance studies.
Our sincere thanks go to the Wiener-Anspach Foundation for their kind support and to the Université Libre de Bruxelles for hosting us for another year.
In previous posts, we established the basic geographical and historical context of our study; it is now time to discuss the actual archaeological evidence. We will begin with the earliest, pre-apoikism periods, and have a closer look at what types of weaponry have been brought to light.
The blades of Kastri
Thasos, and specifically the site of Kastri, has provided us with the most extensive corpus of early knife and dagger blades on the island. More than fifty distinct blades (both bronze and iron) have been identified, primarily from the cemeteries of the settlement. Their typology is varied (Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, in her original study, Protohistoric Thasos, identifies at least five separate bronze types, and several more iron ones). It is difficult to establish a strict typological sequence, given the partial state of preservation of many of the blades and the disturbed stratigraphy of many of the graves: these built chamber tombs had been frequently re-used during antiquity, in some cases several dozen times.
–Bronze dagger and knives from the Kastri cemeteries.
Once more, we interrupt our posting schedule for an announcement:
From 23 to 28 April, we will be hosted by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Drama, in the Archaeological Museum, for a first overview of the finds from the Drama tumulus cemetery.
–A pot burial from the tumulus cemetery. Image reproduced with the kind permission of Dr. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki.
The tumuli were located in the Industrial Zone of the modern city and were first explored in 1979. They are no longer visible, but they remain one of the key Early Iron Age sites of eastern Macedonia to this day.
Our main interest lies with the ‘warrior graves’ that were explored in the tumulus cemetery. They offer an excellent counterpoint to the Early Iron Age burials in Kastri (Thasos) and may provide some insight into what may have been a Thracian warrior ‘elite’.
–The burial of a dog, escorting his owner to the afterlife. From the Drama tumulus cemetery. Image reproduced with the kind permission of Dr. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki.
At least two Naue II swords (of a type that is very popular in the Aegean world, but also in Late Bronze Age / Early Iron Age Europe in general), two spearheads, and two iron ‘picks’ are mentioned in the early excavation reports. Some of these finds are exhibited in the Drama Museum, but they have yet to be studied and published.
We are very grateful to the superintendant of the Drama Ephorate, Dr. Eustratios Papadopoulos, for his kind welcome and his valued support. Please stand by for upcoming photographs and our first impressions of the finds!
Last time, we discussed the geography of Thasos and its peraea. This time, we will be having a very brief look at the history of the region, from the early years of the Early Iron Age (beginning at ca. 1100 BCE in the north-eastern Aegean) to the Early Archaic transitional phases (ca. 700-675/50 BCE), to the ‘post-colonisation’ period (or ‘post-apoikism’ period, if we may utilise the Greek term, to avoid the non-applicable connotations of the modern ‘colonial’ terminology)
The Early Iron Age (EIA)
This period is, ironically, both poorly and extensively explored in the Thasian region. On the one hand, Kastri has been explored in detail (especially the four cemeteries surrounding the acropolis), and the typological studies focusing on the pottery of the site (particularly Dr. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki’s doctoral dissertation Protohistoric Thasos: the cemeteries of the Kastri settlement) have been invaluable for dating EIA material culture elements, not just for Thasos, but for the entirety of eastern Macedonia and coastal Thrace. On the other hand, Kastri is the only site in the Thasian region where EIA stratigraphy has been explored and published thoroughly. This means that the Early Iron Age remains a relatively ‘Dark’ Age for Thasos and its peraea as a whole. Continue reading “Thasos, the Gulf of Kavala and the Greek Colonisation (Part 2)”
We interrupt our regular schedule for an announcement:
On the 8th of March, we will be participating in this year’s Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στη Μακεδονία και τη Θράκη (ΑΕΜΘ) conference, in Thessaloniki.
The ΑΕΜΘ is an annual conference dedicated to the presentation of new archaeological discoveries and innovative historical / archaeological / archaeometric research regarding the regions of Macedonia and Thrace. It hosts scholars from the Greek Ephorates of Antiquities, from Greek and International Universities, from International Archaeology Schools based in Greece, as well as independent researchers. The regularly published ΑΕΜΘ Conference Proceedings have, over the past thirty years, become the most prestigious publication for the latest work in the area.
Our participation will be titled:
“Στυγερὰν κἀγώ ποτε δῆριν Ἄρηος ἐκπρολιποῦσα: Αναθήματα όπλων στο αρχαϊκό ιερό της Οισύμης”
“One day, I too abandoned the hateful strife of Ares: Weapon dedications in the Archaic sanctuary of Oisyme”
It will be presented by Dr. Yangos Chalazonitis, in collaboration with Dr. Chaido Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, Emeritus Ephor of Antiquities
Understanding the geography and history of the Gulf of Kavala is an intuitive way to start, moreso because it sheds some light on the context of the Warriors project. And, of course, because it’s best to place the sites that we will be discussing on the map as soon as possible.
To begin with, observe the map below:
–The Gulf of Kavala and neighbouring regions
Sites marked in red are ‘core’ sites for the project (i.e. sites that lie in Thasos itself or its immediate peraea). Sites marked in blue are sites that I am interested in exploring as points of comparison. They lie beyond the Gulf of Kavala, but they are contemporary to some of our ‘core’ sites, and I believe I can better answer my research questions if I investigate the differences and similarities between the Thasian region and its immediate surroundings. Continue reading “Thasos, the Gulf of Kavala and the Greek Colonisation (Part 1)”