2019

The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project conducted the fourth of its five-year series of excavation seasons from June 13 to July 31, 2019 as a synergasia collaboration between the University of Arizona and the Ephoreia of Arcadian Antiquities in Tripolis, working under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The co-directors of the project are Dr. Anna Karapanagiotou, Director of the Ephoreia of Arcadian Antiquities, Dr. David Gilman Romano and Dr. Mary Voyatzis, both of the University of Arizona. The work was made possible through the generosity of individuals, private foundations, and supporters from the United States. The financial support of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Karabots of Fort Washington, Pa. and Ms. Annette Merle-Smith of Princeton, New Jersey continues to be of major importance. The project also received significant recent support from the 1984 Foundation and continued funding from INSTAP. The Politistikos Syllogos of Ano Karyes and its President, Dr. Andreas Tzevelekos, and its former Presidents Mr. Christos Koumoundouros and Mr. Kyriakos Karagiannis, have continued to support all of our efforts in Arcadia. For the fourth year, the owner of the Abeliona Retreat in the village of Abeliona, Messenia, Mr. Spyros Angelopoulos, also provided food and accommodation at a greatly reduced price. This was our sixteenth year of continuous work at the site of Mt. Lykaion, and our fourth excavation season after five study seasons, 2011-2015, following five years of excavation, 2006-2010, and two years of preliminary geophysical and topographical survey, 2004-2005.

Preparation and Lab Work

In preparation for the season, nine of us worked in our apotheke, located at 32 Heroon Polytechnion in Tripolis, opposite the Archaeological Museum between June 10-13. We worked to finish the cataloguing of pottery from the end of the 2017 season, data entry onto our database, as well as hosting several of our scholars in the apotheke studying their assigned material for publication. We lived to the north of the city of Tripolis in Ano Kardara, near Levidi. Preparations were made for the excavation season at the Sanctuary of Zeus by setting up the internet infrastructure at the lower and upper sanctuaries. This entailed mounting the microwave receiver, battery pack and solar panels on the roof of the kiosk near the hippodrome and on the roof of the chapel of Profitis Ilias at the southern peak of the mountain. The system provided high speed internet for the excavation teams in two locations as well as for the lab team in the village of Ano Karyes. The system was made available courtesy of the Greek Research Network.

Excavation Season – Upper Sanctuary

During the summer of 2019 we resumed our excavation work in the Sanctuary of Zeus, both at the altar of Zeus at the southern peak of the mountain, and also in the mountain meadow, 200 m lower in elevation. We fielded a total team of 39 students and staff and we worked together again with our Greek colleagues from the Arcadia Ephoreia of Antiquities. We used the Pneumatiko Kentro in the Village of Ano Karyes as our lab and our headquarters during the season, as we have done in the past. The Greek team lived in several of the houses of Ano Karyes and worked alongside of us in the Pneumatiko Kentro.

We continued our excavation of the last three years close to the center of the altar of Zeus, at the southern summit of the mountain, where we uncovered a great deal of Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Iron Age pottery. We continued our work to expose the southern end of the ‘architectural platform,’ which appears to have been a major focus of activity. On a daily basis the altar team consisted of 8-9 individuals excavating, surveying, reporting, and sieving every spoonful of dirt. To the east of the long north-south trench dug in 2007-2010, we excavated an area in which we found a huge concentration of Early Helladic and Middle Helladic coarseware pottery. The Greek Ephoreia team worked nearby, expanding one of Kourouniotis’ trenches from the early 20th century.

Excavation continued in an area 45 m below the altar in an area identified as the “Pvrotostadium,” along a narrow north-south terrace between two sloping hillsides.

Excavation Season – Lower Sanctuary

In the lower mountain meadow, site of the lower sanctuary, we continued our work in the area of the western end of the stoa, where we dug between the back wall and the retaining wall of the building discovering a passageway that must have been used for the maintenance of the building.

We continued to clear the Ionic Prostyle Building that is located immediately to the west of the stoa and have now exposed all four sides as well as the interior of the structure. We have been working to define the exterior and to clear the interior of the building of rubble.

In the 30 m long stone corridor, extending from the eastern wall of the administrative building towards the north, we cleared a 4 m section in the middle of the corridor finding a good deal of Hellenistic pottery, roof tile fragments and animal bone.

To the north of the north end of the corridor we dug a trench to clear the northeast corner of the arch and its foundations which include a long series of blocks that lead towards the arch from the north.

In the space between the stoa, the fountain and the administrative building, we continued excavating a deep trench looking for what may be the Sanctuary of Pan, described by Pausanias, the 2nd c. AD traveler. We extended this excavation to the south and found a well-built stone wall. In a deep level in the center of the trench we found a few sherds of red-figure pottery.

We expanded the trench in the interior of the administrative building continuing to look for the floor surface and the levels of use. A north-south interior wall of the building was discovered and partially excavated.

The pedestrian surface survey that was initiated in 2018 was continued in the area of Ano Karyes and also in an area to the east of the Lower Sanctuary.

A study for the conservation and restoration of the east wall of the administrative building has been initiated. A meeting was held on site to lay the ground work for the work to be undertaken by Ms. Niki Apostolu. Dr. Anna Karapanagiotou and Ms. Efi Soroli represented the Ephoreia and David Gilman Romano and Mary Voyatzis were also present.

Arkadian Ephoreia Excavation

During this year’s program, the Greek team continued their excavation work at the altar of Lykaion Zeus, at the ancient Agno fountain below the southern peak, and at the Bath area near the hippodrome.

In the western part of the Altar, excavation work was carried out in trenches earlier excavated by the staff of the 5th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Sparta in the late 90s and by the archaeologist K. Kourouniotis at the beginning of the previous century, respectively.

The latter was extended north to an area that has not been excavated before and brought to light two successive undisturbed layers from prehistoric times to the end of the early historical period.

Underneath the disturbed surface deposit a layer with characteristic light grey color of ash, was identified extending chronologically from the Early Iron Age (1050-900 BC) to the 7th century BC, and a subsequent deposit on the natural rock with finds dating from the Final Neolithic (4500-3200 / 3000 BC) to the Early Iron Age (1050–900 BC). The pottery comprises fragments from drinking vessels along with coarse ware, miniature votive vessels and metal objects.. including bronze miniature tripod cauldrons and iron tools that resemble spits. Many coins were found, mostly silver dating from the second half of the 6th to the 4th century BC. Geographically they cover a wide area beyond the Peloponnese.

Midway between the upper and the lower sanctuary a rectangular reservoir building of 5.30 m wide and a maximum preserved length of 11 m oriented northeast- southwest was unearthed, of which only the southwest portion is preserved.

The ancient reservoir is constructed of rectangular limestone pillars, which were crowned by rectangular stone blocks. From the excavation a small amount of pottery was found dating to the 4th century BC. For safety reasons the pillars were supported in the southeast corner of the building, in accordance with the instructions from an engineering study of the Greek team.

In the northern part of the lower sanctuary, at the Baths, east - northeast of the Hippodrome, the facilities for the preparation of the athletes are located. This rectangular building complex comprises in the north a large stone reservoir with two elongated rooms to the south and north of it and many smaller rectangular rooms to the west. During this year’s excavation the room with stone bath tubs to west of the reservoir was investigated. This room that was excavated originally by K. Kourouniotis was used by the athletes for their personal hygiene during the games. It was systematically investigated and the two stone tubs along with the pebble floor were unearthed. From the excavation of the room in the area of the original position of the tubs, a bronze hook and a lamp of the 4th century BC were found.

Furthermore, the north elongated room was excavated along with the removal of the building material that had collapsed inside it. From the preliminary examination the pottery dates to the 4th century BC. Besides the excavation work at the Agno fountain and the Bath area, the architectural recording and documentation of the remains was carried out by the architect – restorer and partner of the Greek team, Mr. George Nino. For the upcoming restoration work the blocks and the stone tubs were moved nearby the excavation site.

This year the Greek team was reinforced with many students coming from Greek and foreign universities. The students were involved in the field and lab work and were hosted in Ano Karyes from where educational excursions were organized for the participants in various archaeological sites, such as Lykosoura, Messene, the temple of Apollo Epikourios and the agora of Megalopolis.

For the successful implementation of the 2019’s research excavation program the staff of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Arcadia contributed to all the efforts that was made. Crucial for the Greek team’s efforts were the generous sponsorship of Athanasios and Marina Martinou Foundation and the support of the Cultural Syllogos “Lycaeus Zeus” of Ano Karyes.

Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School

The ninth Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School was held for nine days between August 3-12 under the direction of Dr. David Gilman Romano. Dr. Nota Pantzou was in charge of Ethnographic Studies and Community Outreach. This year we had a total of seven students, two Greek, four US and one British. The Field School is supported by the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project and the Parrhasian Heritage Foundation. Much of the effort of the Field School this year was continuing to install wooden way-finding and trail-head signs on the Trail of Pan, between Ano Karyes in Arcadia and Neda in Messenia and to affixing new metal signs to the wooden posts. A formal presentation on the subject of the Parrhasian Heritage Park was made at Isioma by D.G. Romano on August 9.

An international scientific meeting was held on May 31, 2019 at Cotsen Hall, American School of Classical Studies at Athens with the title “Protecting and Promoting the Values of the Cultural and Natural Environment in the Areas where Arcadia, Messenia and Elis Meet.” Held under the aegis of the H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the meeting was well attended and included talks by European and US leaders in fields relating to cultural heritage.

International Cultural Heritage Conference in Athens

An international scientific conference was held on May 31, 2019 at Cotsen Hall at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with the title “Protecting and Promoting the Values of the Cultural and Natural Environment in the areas where Arcadia, Messenia and Elis Meet.” The meeting was sponsored by the Parrhasian Heritage Foundation, the University of Arizona, and the American School of Classical Studies, in collaboration with the National Technical University of Athens and the University of Patras. The conference was organized by David Gilman Romano, President of the Parrhasian Heritage Foundation, together with a Scientific Committee that included Dr. Mary Voyatzis, Dr. Costas Cassios, Dr. Demetris Papakonstantinou, and Dr. Nota Pantzou.

Held under the aegis of the President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the conference was attended by President Pavlopoulos, as well as the General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, the General Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, the Administrator of the De-Centralized Administration of the Peloponnesos, Western Greece and the Ionian Islands, as well as other distinguished individuals from both Greece and abroad. The conference was introduced by Dr. Jenifer Neils, the Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Notable speakers included the Immediate past Director of the US National Park Service, Mr. Jon Jarvis, the former Assistant Director General for Culture, UNESCO, Dr. Francesco Bandarin, the US President of ITKI (International Traditional Knowledge Institute), Mr. Giuseppe Biagini, and Mr. Mark Davison, Boulder Open Spaces and Mountain Parks. The titles of the sessions included: “Setting Standards in the Management of Natural and Cultural Heritage”; “Protection and Management of Cultural Traditions, Natural Resources and Landscape Character, Archaeological and Historic Values”; “Heritage Parks: Past, Present and Future”, and a panel discussion, entitled “Next Steps for Heritage Parks in Greece.” Several of the talks concerned the progress towards the formal legal designation of the protected landscape.

The purpose of the conference was to discuss the area that has been proposed to become Greece’s first large scale cultural heritage park, the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos, an area of 660 square kilometers in the west-central Peloponnesos. As an initiative of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project of the University of Arizona, this proposal has been underway since 2004. Talks were given by several University of Arizona faculty members, Mary Voyatzis from Anthropology and Classics, George Davis from Geoscience, and David Gilman Romano from Anthropology. Julia Juhasz, a Ph.D. student in Mediterranean Archaeology in the School of Anthropology, was able to attend and to assist at the meeting. The event was well-attended, included lively and productive discussion of various relevant topics, and has led to important steps towards the legal designation of the area as a protected landscape which will become a unique park in Europe and the world.

Team Members

Co-Directors

  • Karapanagiotou, Dr. Anna Project Director & Director, Ephorate of Antiquities of Arcadia
    Co-Directors Ephorate of Antiquities of Arcadia Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project
  • Romano, Dr. David Gilman Co-Director & Field Director, University of Arizona
    Co-Directors Archaeological Mapping Lab Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project The Parrhasian Heritage Park University of Arizona
  • Voyatzis, Dr. Mary E. Co-Director & Director of Finds, University of Arizona
    Co-Directors Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project University of Arizona