Early Weapons: Spears, Swords and Pocket-knives (Part 1)

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.

Continue reading “Early Weapons: Spears, Swords and Pocket-knives (Part 1)”

Research Trip: Drama!

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!

Thasos, the Gulf of Kavala and the Greek Colonisation (Part 2)

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)”

ΑΕΜΘ participation: 8-10 March 2018

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.

AEMTH logo

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

Thasos, the Gulf of Kavala and the Greek Colonisation (Part 1)

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)”

A Statement of Goals

Many greetings; welcome to Warriors on the Periphery!

An Introduction

This is a weblog linked to the project of the same name, currently ongoing in the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It is meant to host regular updates and progress reports regarding the project. My hope is that it will increase project visibility (for both academic and non-academic audiences) and allow for some degree of feedback from other interested scholars.

Warriors on the Periphery is a post-doctoral project, funded by the Philippe Wiener – Maurice Anspach Foundation and hosted by the ULB (specifically the Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine / CReA-Patrimoine). My most sincere thanks and gratitude go to the above institutions for their kind and invaluable support.

The Project

Warriors on the Periphery is an archaeological project, focusing primarily on the study of ancient arms and armour. It brings new material to the fore, but also seeks to touch upon three major topics that have received considerable scholarly attention in the past: Continue reading “A Statement of Goals”