ancient land routes on the paximadhi peninsula, karystos, euboea

rhodes.aegean.gr

ancient land routes on the paximadhi peninsula, karystos, euboea

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 1‐9Copyright © 2010 MAAPrinted in Greece. All rights reserved.ANCIENT LAND ROUTES ON THE PAXIMADHIPENINSULA, KARYSTOS, EUBOEAKeller, D. 1 and Hom, E. 21American Center of Oriental Research, Boston University656 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA2Oostzaanstraat 25, NL‐1013 WE, Amsterdam, The Netherong>landong>s, (elshom@yahoo.com)Received: 15/11/2009Accepted: 20/02/2010Corresponding author: dkeller@bu.eduABSTRACTRecent regional surface surveys have placed more focus on rural investigations, butthe means of transport and communication within those rural surroundings has not alwaysreceived adequate attention. The Southern Euboea Exploration Project has undertakena new phase of research in the Karystos area with the goal of developing a methodologythat allows for a more detailed record of the pre‐modern ong>landong> ong>routesong>. On thePaximadhi peninsula it was possible to identify numerous fragments of suspected ong>ancientong>ong>routesong> dating to the Classical and Hellenistic periods. In the majority of cases thesefragments were closely associated with adjacent datable ong>ancientong> sites. By taking intoconsideration the evidence recorded during the survey it was sometimes possible topropose the extension of these ong>ancientong> segments and to theorize the directions, lengths,and purposes of ong>ancientong> networks.KEYWORDS: Karystos, Paximadhi peninsula, ong>ancientong> ong>routesong>, ong>ancientong> roads, rural ong>landong>scape,archaeological survey, Classical and Hellenistic sites


2KELLER, D. & HOM, E.INTRODUCTION: THE PROJECTRecent regional surface surveys haveplaced more focus on rural investigations,but the means of transport and communicationwithin those rural surroundings has notalways received adequate attention. Ancientong>routesong> are a category of archaeological materialthat can be studied independently. Or,to be more precise, physical roads and trailsmay be considered an autonomous categoryof archaeological material that can be isolated,measured and described, but ong>routesong>and lines of communications must be analyzedby taking into consideration other aspectsof the research environment. The reconstructionof the system of communication(within a specific region for a giventime period) needs also to include a discussionof the surrounding ong>landong>scape, the locationof resources, the habitation pattern, andthe use of the ong>landong>. It is a combination ofthese aspects of human behavioral patterns,together with the topographical characteristicsthat determined the evolution of theroute system in the first place.Analysis of the ong>routesong> can provide insightinto the distribution of populationcenters as well as areas of economic activities(such as harbors or ong>landong>ings, quarries,fields and grazing ong>landong>s). It can alsowiden our understanding of the reasonsfor communication (trade, social contacts,religious activities, political relations andboundaries).The first field project undertaken (in1986 and 1987) by the Southern EuboeaExploration Project (SEEP) was an intensivesurface survey of the Paximadhi peninsulato the west of Karystos (Keller andWallace 1986, 1987, 1987a). During thissurvey, ong>routesong> were recorded whenevertheir relationship with an ong>ancientong> findspotor site was obvious or when they had featuresthat made them stand out from themore recent network of trails.In 1989 SEEP initiated a new phase ofresearch in the larger area to the east andnorth of the Karystos bay (Keller and Wallace1990, Wallace et al. 2006, Rotroff andWickens 2010). This was a systematic extensiveor reconnaissance survey over thelarger area in order to gain an initial sampleof archaeological remains in the region.The methodology employed smallerteams walking the pre‐modern ong>routesong> andtrails recorded on Greek 1:5000 topographicalmaps and recording material at10 meters to either side of the trails. Theseong>routesong> then served as survey transects insteadof following lines of the compass ason an intensive survey. A second aspect ofthis “route survey” methodology was amore detailed recording of the premoderntrails themselves. Following thisextensive route survey in the east, it wasdecided to revisit Paximadhi and recordthe peninsula ong>routesong> and networks in thesame method. This would make use ofrecording methods devised in the east toprovide a better understanding of theong>routesong> on the Paximadhi peninsulaThe Paximadhi peninsula (fig. 1) is atriangular‐shaped area with its apexpointing south and its base delineated bythe flat alluvial Karystos plain (Kampos)on the north. The defining feature of the22 square kilometer peninsula is a northsouth,V‐shaped ridge (ca. 214–242 masl)pointing south. The range encloses a ravine‐valleyarea that opens onto the plainat the north. The western side of the peninsulafaces the open sea and is characterizedby steep slopes extending down to arugged coast. The eastern side, in contrast,faces the shallow Karystos bay and offersa more hospitable ong>landong>scape. The summitof the eastern ridge top extending fromPaximadhi peak to Karababa peak lies fartherback from the shoreline and theslopes descending from the ridge top are


ANCIENT LAND ROUTES ON THE PAXIMADHI PENINSULA, KARYSTOS, EUBOEA 3more gradual, giving way to a series oflow spur hills that project onto a continuousstretch of low coastal ong>landong>.Figure 1. Map of the Paximadhi Peninsulashowing terraced ong>landong>scape and sites of Classical‐ Hellenistic date. Ancient ong>routesong> indicatedby bold lines between “r”sAs predicted by the topography, therelatively flat tops of both the eastern andwestern segments of the V‐shaped ridgeand the eastern shoreline provided moreevidence of traffic than the steep and ravine‐segmentedcoast of the western side.Additionally, evidence of ong>ancientong> habitationand agriculture was concentrated onthe more hospitable eastern side of thepeninsula.On the Paximadhi peninsula it waspossible to identify several fragments ofsuspected ong>ancientong> ong>routesong>. In the majorityof cases these fragments were closely associatedwith adjacent datable ong>ancientong>sites. By considering the evidence recordedduring the survey of ong>routesong> on thepeninsula, it was sometimes possible topropose the extension of these ong>ancientong>segments and to theorize the directions,lengths, and purposes of ong>ancientong> networks.In theorizing the function of variousong>routesong> it was also necessary to considerthe terrain of the area as well as thelocation, distribution, and function of therecorded ong>ancientong> sites on the peninsula.The most identifiable of the ong>ancientong> ong>routesong>egments are those that show some evidenceof joint community efforts, as inconstruction of retaining walls, cuttingthrough bedrock, or build up at gullycrossings. In some cases it can be determinedthat later pre‐modern trails makeuse of ong>ancientong> ong>routesong> and then divertwhere the ong>ancientong> constructions havefallen into disrepair. In some respects, thePaximadhi peninsula presented a uniquetime capsule for the study of a variety ofong>ancientong> rural ong>routesong> in a small undisturbedenvironment. Archaeological evidencedemonstrates that the peninsulahad been inhabited and cultivated fromthe Archaic through Roman periods. Fromthe Byzantine period to the present, however,the peninsula—with the exception ofthe Kourmali plateau, (discussed below)—was used only for the winter grazing ofsheep and goats. Except for the constructionof some shepherds’ huts and the ravagesof time, the remains of the pre‐Byzantine buildings, agricultural terraces,and traces of ong>routesong> had remained undisturbed.A discussion of the theoretical frameworkdevised to study ong>ancientong> ong>routesong> remainsoutside the scope of this paper.Here is presented tentative conclusionsand summary information on the ong>ancientong>Paximadhi ong>routesong>—grouped into threecategories: access ong>routesong> to sanctuaries, aroute connecting a Classical hamlet to theworld beyond the peninsula, and a networkof ong>routesong> connecting a number ofindividual sites on the peninsula.SANCTUARY ROUTESThe Archaic‐Classical sanctuary C19(findspot number) is located near the easternend of Plakari ridge (Keller 1985, 104‐105, 182‐183). The remains include a te‐


4KELLER, D. & HOM, E.menos enclosed by walls on three sidesand high ground to the west. Remains of atemple are located near the center of thetemenos and a 14 line religious inscriptionwas found built into a hut just southeastof the site. At the northwest corner of thesite a possible ong>ancientong> approach leads tothe northwest and down the northernslope of Plakari. It is a flat ramp‐like areawith a width of 6 to 8 m that descends at agentle gradient and does not follow thecontours of the hill, as an agricultural terracewould. The ramp does not have adown slope retaining wall nor any othersigns of construction. The ramp‐like approachcan be followed for about 60 m,but then is lost in a hollow on the hillside,which is occupied by curved terrace wallsof a more recent date. At the foot of thenorthern slope of Plakari, in the Rigiariver area, a cluster of findspots dating tothe early Iron age and Classical periodshave been recorded. These findspots mayrepresent the 7th through 5th century BClocation of ong>ancientong> Karystos. In this case,the ramp leading down from the C19sanctuary would link the settlement to thesanctuary, which, together with an earlierGeometric‐Archaic sanctuary on Plakarica. 300 m west of C19, may have served asthe acropolis of the ong>ancientong> settlement.The Archaic‐Classical rural sanctuaryC73‐74 is located just below the peak onthe eastern slope of the Karababa range(Keller 1985, 98‐99, 188‐189). The remainsinclude a 8.5 by 10 m rectangular platformextending west behind a natural rock outcropwith a niche that contains a smallrock cut basin in its base. A few meters tothe east of this feature a rectangular 7.5 x11.8 m area is supported by a terrace wallbuilt of huge cut schist blocks. Betweenthese two features is a horseshoe shapedaltar made of very finely cut light greenschist blocks.The sanctuary sits on the steep easternslope of Karababa. The slope itself definesthe western boundary of the temenos. Thehigher ong>landong>scape then drops abruptly towardsthe south to a wide saddle just beyondthe southern wall of the temenos. Atthe northern end of the temenos a wellconstructedroadbed leads northeast awayfrom the site (fig. 2).Figure 2. Access road to the C73‐74 Sanctuary,view from northeastThe road has a retaining wall and variesin width from 1.5 to 2.1 m. The gradientand width of the road would havebeen suitable for wheeled traffic. The surfaceis level and unusually smooth. It continuesevenly for ca. 85 m along the slopeof the ridge before losing definition as itapproaches the large saddle betweenKarababa and Kazara. A definite continuationbeyond this saddle could not bedefined, but it may coincide with some ofthe modern herder trails that descend thenorth slope of Kazara in the direction ofthe Rigia river at the north base of Plakari,the proposed site for Iron Age and earlyClassical Karystos. It should be noted thatthe herder trails coming up from the Rigiaarea and passing over the Kazara saddletend to continue southwest on the ridgetop, that is above the ong>ancientong> road andsanctuary. Recent herder trails can befound criss‐crossing the saddle south ofthe sanctuary, but there is no evidencethat the ong>ancientong> road continues south beyondthe site. It appears that the sanctuary


6KELLER, D. & HOM, E.of the route crossing uneven bedrock. Atpoints where the route runs between thedown‐slope retaining walls and up slopebedrock, measurements were taken thatprovide an almost constant 2.5 m width.The Kourmali road is the longest, mostcomplete route recorded on the peninsula.Unfortunately, as noted above, the Kourmaliplateau contained not only the Classicalhamlet, but also was heavily used inthe Late Roman period and recent past.Therefore, although it seems that the roadleads directly to the northeast corner ofthe Classical hamlet, it is possible that itwas created and used during one of theselater periods.NETWORK ROUTESThree definite stretches of ong>ancientong>roads are found in the southeast quarter ofthe peninsula. These sections seem to formpart of a network of roads connecting agriculturaong>landong> military sites of late 6th orearly 5th century BC date (Keller and Wallace1988, Keller 2004). The network ofroads and associated sites appear to remainin use through the Classical periodand in some cases the Hellenistic period aswell.Road between C27 and C30The surface remains at C27 indicate anumber of open spaces and buildingswithin a partial enclosure wall (Keller1985, 84‐85, 206, Keller and Snyder 2004).The overall area of the site is 40 by 120 m.At the southwest end of the site is a raisedplatform and possible foundation for asquare tower standing beside a rock‐cutcistern. The site is located above a series ofsheltered coves and has a view over boththe bay and the sea between Kea and Attica.The rock‐cut cistern at the south endof the complex is a unique feature onPaximadhi. The cistern is 8 m deep with abell‐shaped main chamber and a separateadjoining access shaft. Site C27 appears tobe a small outpost or emborio; that is, aplace of refuge for the farmers living inthe area and possibly a center for the collectionand distribution of goods.The farmstead of C30 (Keller 1985, 86‐87) is the southernmost of a string of fiveor six farmsteads extending north alongthe lower slopes of the eastern coast.These farm sites all have visible remainsof three or four rooms or enclosures: somehave associated towers and some haveassociated threshing floors.At the northeast corner of the emboriosite, at a saddle on the ridge top, a roadleads northeast along the upper easternslope of the ridge (fig. 3).Figure 3. Remains of the ong>ancientong> road that connectedSites C27 and C30, view from northeast.The location is at the gully before Site C30.Most of the ong>ancientong> road has been destroyed bynew constructionThe route descends at gradients of 0 to5 % and continues ca. 300 m toward theClassical farmstead of C30. A retainingwall is preserved in places along the road.The average width of the road is 2.7 m.The road can only be traced to the gullyjust south of the farm, but there is evidencethat it continued north along theslope just west of the remaining Classicalfarms arranged north of C30. Several ofthese farmsteads, for example C38, an excavatedfarmstead with pottery phases


ANCIENT LAND ROUTES ON THE PAXIMADHI PENINSULA, KARYSTOS, EUBOEA 7that parallel those at the C27 emborio site,appear to have pathways leading westfrom the sites, back to the slope alongwhich the proposed road would havepassed (Keller and Schneider 2005).At the point where the road leaves theemborio site and runs north along theeastern slope, there is evidence of a secondroute extending along the ridge toptoward the northwest. This route could befollowed, but its nature and date are uncertainbecause of the difficulty in definingong>routesong> along ridge tops.Road between C46 and C47West of the C27 emborio site, andabove the inlets area between CapeMnima and Ay. Paraskevi, are found theClassical sites of C46 and C47, which arejoined by an ong>ancientong> road (fig. 4). Site C46consists of a 7 x 10 m structure adjoining along wall that encloses an area of 18 x 34m. Site C47, to the north, consists of one 5x 6 m structure adjacent to a smaller enclosureof 10 x 10 m, Both sites appear tobe more military than agricultural due totheir location outside terraced ong>landong>scapeand the lack of multi‐room buildingsfound at farmsteads (Keller 1985, 83‐84).Figure 4. North end of the ong>ancientong> road betweenC46 and C47, view from northeastThe road between the sites runs northsouthalong the upper slope below theClassical watch tower on Paximadhi peak.The preserved 100 m of the route includesshort sections of retaining wall in placesand in at least two cases seems to havebeen marked by upright marking stones.The route is 1 to 1.5 m wide and it appearsto continue north beyond C47.At C47 a recent mule trail, which mayindicate a reuse of the ong>ancientong> route, continuesto the northeast, following the contoursof the ong>landong>scape to reach the ridgetop extending north from the C27 emboriosite. A theoretical extension of the C46‐C47 road to the southeast of C46 wouldlead to a Classical farmstead and a militarysite at Ayia Paraskevi.Road at C54The Classical farmstead C54, at 240masl, is one of the higher farmsteads inthe group along the eastern slopes of thepeninsula (Keller 1985, 91‐92, Keller andWallace 1988). The main structure at thesite is a 17 x 18 m building with three ormore rooms or enclosures. A straight fieldwall projects westwards from the buildingto bond with a perimeter wall of ca. 1,200m in length. This unique feature, an intactestate wall, encloses an area of ca. 9 hectar,an area of ong>landong> holding that agrees wellwith the spacing noted between the otherfarmsteads in the southeastern quarter.There is an opening in the estate wall atthe southwest, beside a small 3.5 x 4 mstructure. A section of ong>ancientong> road passesalong the estate wall on the south andsouthwest and past this opening or gate.The route that runs outside the C54 estatewall here has a width of about 2 m and isbordered by the estate wall on the eastand bedrock along the west. There is someindication that rubble fill was used inplaces to level the surface of the route overthe bedrock. The area to the south andsouthwest of the estate wall is a relativelyflat saddle that continues on to the flat


8KELLER, D. & HOM, E.ridge, extending southeast to the C27 emboriosite.Thus a network of ong>routesong> appears tohave extended north and west from theemborio site. One route extending alongthe slope of the eastern ridge to eventuallyreach shore level about half way up thecoast of the bay, near a point where manytraces of un‐dateable ong>routesong> and a Classicalrock‐cut cist grave are found. Anothersection of route extended north west alongthe higher ground to reach farmsteads atthe higher elevation. A third section ofroute seems to have branched off from theridge top route to continue southwestpassing above the inlets of the AyiaParaskevi area and linking a string of militarysites in the area.CONCLUSIONIn conclusion it can be stated that evenin a small area such as the Paximadhi peninsula,various levels of communicationsexisted between different types of sites ofhuman activity. The study and analysis ofsurvey and excavation material from thePaximadhi peninsula continues and it isbelieved that additional segments of premodernong>routesong> in the area may eventuallybe identified as ong>ancientong> and thus provide afuller picture of ong>ancientong> communicationong>routesong> on the peninsula.REFERENCESKeller, D.R.(1985) Archaeological Survey in Southern Euboea, Greece: A Reconstruction ofHuman Activity from Neolithic Times through the Byzantine Period. Unpublished.Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University.Keller, D.R (2004) Karystian Farmsteads and Agriculture of the Classical‐Hellenistic Periods.Paper read (by N. Kennell) at the International Euboean Conference atChalkis, Euboea, October 2004.Keller. D.R. and Schneider, R. (2005) The Palio Pithari Classical Farm Site, Karystos,Euboea. Poster exhibit at the 106th General Meeting of the Archaeological Instituteof America.Keller, D.R. and Snyder, L.(2004) The Cistern Site at Cape Mnima. Poster exhibit at the105nd General Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.Keller, D.R. and Wallace, M.B.(1986) The Canadian Karystia Project, Echos du monde classique/Classical Views 30(2):155‐159.Keller, D.R. and Wallace, M.B. (1987) The Canadian Karystia Project: 1986, Echos dumonde classique /Classical Views 31 (6):225‐227.Keller, D.R. and Wallace, M.B. (1987a) The Canadian Karystia Project: How to Catch aCleruch, Canadian Archaeological Institute in Athens Bulletin 8(4), October.Keller, D.R. and Wallace, M.B. (1988) The Canadian Karystia Project: Two ClassicalFarmsteads, Echos du monde classique /Classical Views 32(7):1 51‐157.Keller, D.R. and Wallace, M.B. (1990) Pre‐Modern Land Routes in Southern Euboea,Echos du monde classique /Classical Views 34(9):1 95‐199.Rotroff, S.I. and Wickens, J. (2010 forthcoming) Survey of the Bouros‐Kastri Peninsula inthe Southern Karystia, Euboea, Euboea and Athens: Proceedings of a Colloquiumin Memory of Malcolm B. Wallace. Athens, 26‐27 June 2009 (Publicationsof the Canadian Institute in Greece, No. 6). Athens.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines