The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project conducted its second study season in its leased apotheke in Tripolis between June 13 and July 27, 2012. After five continuous seasons of excavation, 2006-2010, as well as two seasons of preliminary topographical, architectural, geophysical and geological surveys 2004 and 2005, we have continued in 2012 the study of our excavated material that we began in 2011. The work conducted during these study seasons is absolutely critical because it allows us the opportunity to analyze and synthesize our results in preparation for full publication.
Our work was made possible through the generosity of individuals, foundations and Greek-American supporters from the United States as well as our colleagues in Greece. The financial assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Karabots of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Ms. Annette Merle-Smith of Princeton, New Jersey and James H. Ottaway, Jr. of Campbell Hall, New York continues to be of major importance to the overall success of our endeavor.
We were delighted that Annette Merle-Smith was able to visit our project in Tripolis and Megalopolis this summer and had the opportunity to meet with the Mayor of Megalopolis to discuss land acquisition for the Parrhasian Heritage Research Center that she is financially supporting. Tom Keating, Assistant Director for Field Operations 2009, spent two weeks in Greece at the beginning of June 2012 working together with David Romano on preparations for future excavation seasons.
The project has received important support from the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory. In addition we have received financial support from over 50 individual donors from around the US and to whom we are very grateful. The Politikos Syllogos of Ano Karyes and its President, Mr. Christos Koumoundouros have continued to support all of our efforts in Arcadia. Together with our colleagues in the ΛΘ’ Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Tripolis, directed by Anna Karapanagiotou, our synergates since 2004 has been Anastasia Panagiotopoulou, former Director of the Archaeological Institute for Peloponnesian Studies in Tripolis.
Our apotheke, located at 32 Heroon Polytechnion, opposite the Archaeological Museum of Tripolis was busy again this year. The apotheke hosted a total of 26 individuals, 9 students and 17 scholars and scientists. During the final three weeks, July 5-26, we had a concentrated session under the direction of Mary Voyatzis focusing on the prehistoric pottery that was found in the altar excavations at the southern peak of Mt. Lykaion. This includes Final Neolithic, Early, Middle and Late Helladic sherds. The Director of the Fitch Lab, Dr. Evangelia Kyriatzi, came to the apotheke to see our prehistoric pottery and to help us craft a ceramic analysis project to create a better understanding of the nature and significance of our assemblage. In addition, we had specialists in residence this summer studying the Early Iron Age pottery, the animal bones, the terracotta roof tiles, the Archaic and Classical pottery, the Hellenistic pottery, and the miniature pottery. Those working in Tripolis for the most part lived outside of the city to the north in Ano Kardara, near Levidi.
We are continuing to use our new database, Kronos. Under the direction of Nick Stapp, the students and staff entered a great deal of information into this web-based system. Kronos will eventually enable all of the data collected at Mt. Lykaion to be accessable via web for world-wide study.
During the entire six weeks we had a small group of architectural students and staff, under the direction of Ximena Valle and Sarah Beth McKay, working in the bath house near the hippodrome at the Sanctuary of Zeus. The architects have been working to complete a long-term digital documentation project of the entire site, where every stone block at the site has been drawn, digitized and georeferenced. Living in Ano Karyes and working in the Cultural Center of the village this group later turned their attention to work on the Parrhasian Heritage Park.
The second Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School was run for two weeks between July 13-27, 2012. We continue to be guided by our colleague Professor Costas Cassios of the National Polytechnic University in Athens. Four students from the United States, under the direction of Mark Davison and Ximena Valle, took part in the field school, and the work was divided into several categories: 1) considering values or principles that will guide a regional vision for the park; 2) describing potential catalyst projects that will serve the groups managing the park; 3) studying landscape character, urban character, trails and sign design; 4) gathering information on the history, geology and archaeology of the region. During the field school we both directed and participated in the opening of a portion of the second trail of the park, the Trail of Zeus, from the village of Ano Karyes to the hippodrome of the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion. Community leaders as well as local political dignitaries took part in the trail opening on Saturday July 14, 2012. Hikers assembled in the village of Ano Karyes at 5 pm and walked the trail that is approximately 5 km. in length. We hosted an inauguration and signing ceremony at the hippodrome together with local village and civic leaders and approximately 35 residents and children of villages within the park boundary. The Parrhasian Park Planning team, together with the student participants of the Parrhasian Heritage Field School, were also in attendance. Dr. Jim Wright, new Director of the American School of Classical Studies, made a special effort to come to the inauguration and spoke at the ceremony.
Meetings with local community and civic groups in Arcadia and in Athens continued to build the political and social framework for the creation of the Park. One meeting in particular was held in Athens on June 22, 2012 a meeting of the Greater Lykosouras Society at which the society pledged support for the Park and asked to take a leadership role in its creation.
The second meeting of the Parrhasian Heritage Park Alliance took place on Sunday July 15, 2012 in Megalopolis under the leadership of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project together with the ΛΘ’Ephoreia. Dr. Takis Bouras, Mayor of Megalopolis, hosted the meeting in the Cultural Center of Megalopolis. Representatives from a number of village societies were present including Kyriakos Karagiannis, President of the Lykosoura Union and Photis Zois representing the village of Vasta and Kostas Karabelas representing the prefecture of Messenia. Lively discussion focused on practical and timely methods of bringing the park into creation.
The Parrhasian Heritage Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable US foundation has been established to support the work of the creation of the Parrhasian Heritage Park as well as to support archaeological, historical, geological and other regional research in this part of the Peloponnesos including parts of Arcadia, Elis and Messenia.
The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project is now looking ahead to future years of field work, including further excavation. We are currently in the midst of preparing an application for future excavation and survey at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion for the years 2014-2018. Our application will be submitted to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens by the middle of November of 2012 and this new initiative will provide field experience and archaeological training for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Arizona. A recently established Ph.D. concentration in Mediterranean Archaeology has begun in the School of Anthropology at the U of A. This new program promises to attract excellent students from around the world who will take part in our work in Arcadia. We would welcome your support of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project and the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos.
This text summarizes the work of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project conducted during summer 2012. A full color version of the brochure with Greek and English text, photographs and maps can be downloaded here.