Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Excavations at Sissi II

 | 
Jan Driessen

7. The Excavation of Zones 6 and 7

Simon Jusseret

Note de l’auteur

Aspirant F.R.S.-FNRS, UCL. Took part in the excavations: L. Verhulst (2009), M. Hanquart (2009), D. Lauzier (2010), J. Hamacher (2010) and E. Thompson (2010). Thanks are due to P. Kossmann (EfA) and her team from the Neapolis survey for their help in 2010. Our workmen were Manolis Tzanakis (2009) and Michalis Tzanakis (2010).

Texte intégral

1. Zone 6

1.1. Introduction

1In 2009, the excavation of Zone 6 proceeded in grid squares BK-BM 88-89 (fig. 1.3) before being halted following the discovery of an unexploded WW II mortar shell in BM 89. Demining operations carried out in spring 2010 allowed us to further investigate the area during the following summer (see Driessen, this volume). The 2010 excavations took place in the sectors covered by grid squares BL-BM 89-90. The main objectives of the 2009-2010 campaigns were (1) to trace the limits of the building highlighted in 2008 (hereafter Building F), (2) to continue the excavation of spaces 6.1-6.3 (Jusseret 2009: 159-161) and, (3) to explore the area corresponding to grid squares BM 89/90 where standing, megalithic architectural remains were already recorded in 2007-2008 (Driessen 2009: 32, fig. 1.16).

  • 1 Erratum: space 6.4, as mentioned in Jusseret (2009: 159), should be read as space 6.0.

2Building F covers a surface of approximately 120 m² and includes eight identifiable spaces (spaces 6.1-6.7, with space 6.4 divided into two compartments, 6.4.1 and 6.4.2) (figs. 7.1 and 7.2)1. The main part of the building (spaces 6.1-6.3 and 6.6-6.7) is a square construction of about 100 m². The southern and eastern walls are constructed of limestone boulders with rubble backing. To the west, only a plinth made of carefully cut limestone blocks seems to have survived. The northern limit of the building is as yet unclear and is only defined by a discontinuous line of large limestone blocks (fig. 7.2). Adjacent to the south of this main complex is an axial construction oriented east-west including spaces 6.4.1, 6.4.2, and 6.5. The two structures appear separated on the ground floor level. The southern, axial structure is accessed from the west through a central doorway.

Fig. 7.1. ZONE 6 (BUILDING F): A) SCHEMATIC PLAN WITH SPACE NUMBERS INDICATED; B) AERIAL VIEW AT THE END OF THE 2010 CAMPAIGN (C. GASTON)

Fig. 7.2. STONE BY STONE PLAN OF ZONE 6 (BUILDING F) WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (P. HACΙGÜZELLER, BASED ON SITE PLANS BY S. JUSSERET AND N. KRESS)

1.2. Space 6.1

3Space 6.1 was excavated in 2008 down to a floor level indicated by a patch of tarazza (F14) and a few associated vases (Jusseret 2009). In the southern part of space 6.1, however, no clear floor level could be identified and the south-eastern corner of the space was left unexplored. In 2010, excavation proceeded with the removal of the remaining baulk.

4In the southern part of the space was a thin layer of compacted, locally burned earth containing few mudbrick remains and stains of lepidochoma. The presence of lepidochoma most probably points to the collapse of a roof/ceiling (Shaw 2009: 148, also Gaignerot-Driessen 2009: 121). This thin layer produced a folded disc of lead (10-06-2050-OB002) and a fragmentary lithic tool (10-06-2050-OB001). Below this deposit was an earth floor level (+16.30 m) which should in all probability be linked to F14 (+16.29 m). It is not impossible that the folded disc of lead and lithic tool were initially part of the floor assemblage.

  • 2 Discussed in detail below by Maria Anastasiadou.
  • 3 In this respect, it is interesting to note that one of the three open vessels found in situ in the (...)

5Cleaning of the north-eastern corner of space 6.1 brought to light a new wall (F24) enclosing the narrow space defined by Walls F15, F9, and F12. In 2008, this limited area (0.60 m²) produced three open vessels, probably in situ, and a complete triton shell, the latter tightly set in Wall F12 (Jusseret 2009: 160). A sounding made in this narrow space revealed an intriguing set of objects including a bead (10-06-2055-OB001), a sealstone2 (10-06-2055-OB002), and two terracotta figurines (10-06-2061-OB003, 10-06-2061-OB004) (fig. 7.3). Excavation was halted at a level of rubble (ca. +16.10 m). The particular nature of the finds does not exclude their deposition as part of ritual events, perhaps related to the foundation of space 6.1 (see Herva 2005)3.

Fig. 7.3. SPACE 6.1: TERRACOTTA FIGURINES. A) LEG (10-06-2061-OB004); B) FELINE HEAD (10-06-2061-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

6Architecturally three different phases seem discernible within space 6.1. The earliest is represented by Walls F15 and F24. These walls probably belong to the southeast corner of a building of which the layout, date, and function remain to be determined. The second phase is represented by Walls F32 and F33. F32 and F33 run in a northeast-southwest direction and served as foundations for Walls F11 and F9 respectively. The third, and most recent architectural phase, is defined by Walls F9 and F11. It is unfortunately not possible at this stage to assign a date to these architectural episodes.

1.3. Space 6.2

7Space 6.2 (ca. 3.2 x 3.5 m), located directly east of space 6.1., is delimited by Walls F7-9 and F30-31 (fig. 7.4). F7 and F30 are constructed of worked limestone boulders with rubble backing. To the north, Wall F31 is defined by a single line of rubble set back 0.3 m from the northeast angle of space 6.2. Space 6.2 is accessed from the north through a doorway marked by a limestone slab.

8Space 6.2 was found filled with building debris. As already noted in 2008, large amounts of pumice were discovered in the western half of the room. Tumble, burned sediment, baked mudbrick fragments, some plastered with a thin layer of mud, and charred organic material suggest a destruction by fire. In the centre of the space was a stain of whitish clay possibly representing collapsed roofing/ceiling material. In the northern half of the space, construction debris was found resting on an irregular surface possibly corresponding to a badly preserved LM IIIA2/B earth floor. Associated with the surface were pithos fragments (10-06-2107-OB001), a champagne cup (10-06-2107-OB004), cooking vessels, and a limestone slab (F38) (fig. 7.4).

Fig. 7.4. SPACE 6.2 AT THE END OF THE 2010 CAMPAIGN. VIEW FROM THE NORTHEAST, WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (S. JUSSERET)

1.4. Space 6.3

9Space 6.3, identified in 2008 and adjacent to space 6.1, was excavated to bedrock in 2010. It is delimited by Walls F11, F12, F18, and F21 and covers a surface of ca. 8 m² (fig. 7.5a).

10Wall F21 is constructed of cut limestone blocks and probably represents a plinth or krepidoma (fig. 7.5b). This plinth may originally have supported a wall in ashlar masonry but nothing is preserved. That F21 was meant to be visible from the east is suggested by the apparent absence of architectural remains in grid squares BL-BM 88. This evidence possibly points to the presence of an open area west of Building F but this needs further exploration.

  • 4 A similar platform is described for Room AD2 (Building AD or House of the Foreign Pottery) at Pseir (...)

11Space 6.3 produced evidence for an earth floor level (+16.63 m) covering the whole space with the exception of the north-eastern corner where tumbled was found to overlie the bedrock (+16.60 m). On the floor were resting a stone weight, two lithic tools, and the LM IIIA2 amphora excavated in 2008 (Jusseret 2009:161). The floor also had a gourna found in 2008 (F16). F16 was set in the south-eastern corner of the space and was partly covered by Wall F11 (fig. 7.5d). In the southwest corner of space 6.3, associated with the earth floor, is a platform shaped like a quarter-circle4 and lined with three cut blocks, two of them of ammouda (fig. 7.5c). The centre of space 6.3 is occupied by a stone base (F23), 0.22 x 0.24 m (fig. 7.2a). The floor packing consists of a relatively loose and reddish silty layer, ca. 10-20 cm thick. Associated with the packing were a fire-cracked lithic tool (10-06-2049-OB001), a bronze or copper ring (10-06-2062-OB001) and strips of bronze or copper. The packing was found resting on a layer of rubble. A stratigraphic test of 0.90 m by 1.30 m was made in the southeast corner of space 6.3 (fig. 7.5d). This test produced fragmentary EM to MM II pottery and also brought to light the badly preserved remains of an earlier tarazza floor below the rubble. The remains of tarazza were found resting on the bedrock (+16.04-16.25 m).

12These finds altogether suggest that space 6.3 functioned as an industrial area during LM IIIA2. To accommodate these activities, the room was levelled with packing material and a new wall (F11) was constructed directly on top of Wall F32. Little can be said of the previous function(s) of the space until a more detailed analysis of the pottery is carried out.

Fig. 7.5. SPACE 6.3: A) AERIAL VIEW FROM THE WEST, WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS); B) KREPIDOMA F21 SEEN FROM THE WEST (S. JUSSERET); C) PLATFORM F20 SEEN FROM THE NORTHEAST (S. JUSSERET); D) SOUNDING WITH SUPERIMPOSED WALLS F11 AND F32 AND GOURNA F16 INDICATED, VIEW FROM THE WEST (S. JUSSERET)

1.5. Space 6.4

13Space 6.4 is delimited by Walls F10 and F26-28 and covers a surface of approximately 7 m² (fig. 7.6). Walls F27 and F28 incorporate a mixture of rubble and megalithic masonry, with blocks reaching 1.40 m in length. Space 6.4 was probably accessed from the west through space 6.5, although it is not impossible that a doorway existed in the southeast corner of space 6.4.2 before being blocked at some stage of the building’s history (fig. 7.6). A poorly preserved rubble wall, F29, divides space 6.4 into two axial compartments connected by a narrow doorway: spaces 6.4.1 (north, ca. 0.70 x 2.70 m) and 6.4.2 (south, ca. 1.00 x 2.90 m).

Fig. 7.6. SPACES 6.4.1 AND 6.4.2 FILLED BY TUMBLE. AERIAL VIEW FROM THE SOUTH (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)

1.5.1. Space 6.4.1

14A layer containing eroded and fragmentary pottery was found immediately below the topsoil. Among the few associated finds was the fragmentary base of a stone vase (calcite?, 10-06-2065-OB001). The upper layer was found overlying collapsed building debris including tumble, plaster, mudbrick fragments, and clay architectural elements, some with impressions of ceiling beams. In the lower part of the deposit, beneath tumble, were LM IIIA2/B sherds.

1.5.2. Space 6.4.2

15The eastern end of space 6.4.2 produced a deposit of at least ten cups, five of which were found inverted, mixed with animal bones (fig. 7.7a). In the central and western part of space 6.4.2, two stirrup jars (10-06-2083-OB001, 10-06-2084-OB001), fallen upside down, and a badly damaged and heavily burned stone lid (10-06-2066-OB002), were found smashed under fallen rubble (figs. 7.7b-d and 7.8). Associated pottery is LM IIIA2/B and consists mainly of drinking vessels (cups, kylikes). In the southwest corner of space 6.4.2 was a large storage vessel (10-06-2086-OB001) set in a rubble platform (F36) (fig. 7.7e). Various lithic tools and a quern (10-06-2070-OB001) were found nearby, which suggests that the vessel may have originally contained cereals and pulses. Collapsed construction debris (rubble, mudbrick, clay architectural elements) and traces of combustion (burned sediment, charred organic material) suggest a destruction by fire. The finds from space 6.4.2 include evidence for food preparation (animal bones, storage installation, quern), perhaps associated with ritual activities (drinking vessels including kylikes, inverted conical cups, stirrup jars, kernos at the entrance of the complex formed by spaces 6.4 and 6.5; see below and Gesell 1985: 61-62, Cucuzza 2010: 139-141).

Fig. 7.7. SPACE 6.4.2: A) DEPOSIT OF CUPS AND BONES IN THE EAST PART, EXCAVATION IN PROGRESS; B) AND C): STIRRUP JARS (B: 10-06-2084-OB001, C: 10-06-2083-OB001) FALLEN UPSIDE DOWN AND SMASHED BY TUMBLE; D) CRUSHED AND HEAVILY BURNED STONE LID (10-06-2066-OB002) AMIDST TUMBLE; E) STORAGE VESSEL SET IN RUBBLE PLATFORM (F36) IN THE SOUTHWEST CORNER (ALL PHOTOS S. JUSSERET)

Fig. 7.8. DECORATED STIRRUP JAR (10-06-2084-OB001) FROM SPACE 6.4.2 (PRELIMINARY DRAWING H. JORIS)

1.6. Space 6.55

  • 5 Immediately below ground surface was discovered a WW II Italian mortar shell. The 45 mm shell was m (...)

16Space 6.5 is located directly west of space 6.4 and covers a surface of ca. 5 m² (2.20 x 2.20 m). It is bordered by Walls F18, F21, F26, and F39. Space 6.5 is accessed from the west through a central doorway marked by a threshold consisting of three slabs of sideropetra (F37) (fig. 7.9). To the right of the entrance, immediately outside space 6.5, was found a large stone slab with depressions or kernos (F19) (fig. 7.9). Space 6.5 had very few finds and mainly produced fragmentary and eroded MM to LM I pottery. A stratigraphic test was opened in the eastern half of the space and excavated to bedrock. At least four superimposed and poorly preserved pebble and earth floors could be identified at ca. +16.85, +16.77, +16.74, and +16.55 m. Resting on the lower floor (ca. +16.55 m) was a burned deposit containing mudbrick fragments, clay architectural elements, burned bones, and charcoal. Below the lower floor, in the central part of the sounding, two cavities had been carved in the bedrock and filled with dark brown earth containing a few eroded sherds. In the southern part of the test, bedrock was levelled by rubble.

Fig. 7.9. STONE SLAB WITH DEPRESSIONS (KERNOS) F19 NEXT TO ENTRANCE TO SPACE 6.5. DOORWAY MARKED BY THRESHOLD F37 IN THE BACKGROUND. VIEW FROM THE SOUTHWEST (S. JUSSERET)

1.7. The seal

17Maria Anastasiadou

  • 6 For these stones in Minoan glyptic, see Müller in CMS III: 18-20. I would like to thank Walter Müll (...)
  • 7 Along the stringhole channel.

18The seal is a lentoid of dark olive green schist/serpentine (10-06-2055-OB002)6. The measurements of the seal are: seal faces – 1,507 × 1,60 cm; stringholes – 0,20 cm; maximal thickness: 0,60 cm (fig. 7.10a-b).

Fig. 7.10. SPACE 6.1: SEAL STONE (10-06-2055-OB002). A) PHOTO: CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS; B) DRAWING (IMPRESSION): C. KOLB

  • 8 For freehand engraving, see Anastasiadou 2011: 38-40.
  • 9 The lines have tapering exits which could, but need not suggest the use of wheels operated with a h (...)
  • 10 For the tools possibly used for engraving this seal, see Evely 1993: 151, fig. 64 SAW, DRILL solid, (...)

19The intaglios are smooth and regular with U-profiles, which rules out freehand engraving8. The tools used would have been operated by fast motion, either produced by the horizontal spindle to which they were attached or, most likely, by hand9. If operated by hand, the tools would have been applied to the stone with a constant backwards and forwards rotary or linear movement, which generates fast motion10.

20The piece is moderately worn. Apart from a small missing part on one edge, along with which a part of the composition is lost (modern), the seal is generally well preserved with only some areas of light damage.

  • 11 The terminology used for the denomination of the devices is adopted from the CMS Seal Database. The (...)
  • 12 The denomination of this motif in the English version of the CMS Seal Database is circle and dot.
  • 13 The combination could be seen as related to a Bandlinie (these are effectively Yule’s ‘heavy lines (...)
  • 14 See footnote 14.

21The seal face displays an ornamental composition comprising centred-circles and motifs composed of lines placed around a blank centre. From left to right (impression)11, there is a centred-circle (Punktkreis)12, two lines at a slight angle13, a diamond lattice (Rautengitter), a centred-circle (its largest part chipped away), two lines forming an angle14 and fine straight hatching ‘behind’ them (gerade Schraffur), a sort line, and an X (Kreuz).

  • 15 E.g. CMS II, 1 no. 273 b; CMS IV no. 119; CMS V Suppl. 1A no. 267 b.
  • 16 E.g. CMS II,2 nos. 16, 27, 51 b, 53 a, 149; CMS II,3 no. 37; CMS II,4 nos. 192, 211; CMS III nos. 2 (...)
  • 17 These seals belong to a tendency also seen on MM II/III architectural and LM I talismanic seals, wh (...)
  • 18 E.g. Lentoids: CMS II, 4 no. 97; CMS IV no. 90 (serpentine?); CMS V Suppl. 1B no. 364 (with double (...)

22The piece is dated to MM III/LM I on stylistic grounds. The first seals with ornamental decoration displaying regular centred-circles are encountered in EM III15, but the motif becomes especially favoured on soft stone glyptic from MM II onwards, often being combined with devices composed of lines and, in particular, lattices16. Stylistically, the piece belongs to a group of mainly schist/serpentine seals which have convex seal faces and bear compositions created by lines/bands and, most often single, centred-circles17. These seals are mainly lentoids but some discoids, cushions, amygdaloids and buttons can also be seen as belonging to the same development18. They date to MM II/MM III-LM I and are characteristic of the transition from the Protopalatial to the Neopalatial period. Among these, the best stylistic parallel to the piece in question is the button CMS II,2 no. 149 from Malia which is reported to come from a MM IIB context. However, since the lentoid shape is characteristic of the Late Minoan period, the Sissi seal is better placed in MM III/LM I.

2. Zone 7

2.1. Introduction

23In 2009, two small tests were opened at the southwest foot of the Kefali hill where the remains of an L-shaped wall constructed of megalithic,“cyclopaean” masonry (hereafter Wall G1) were previously identified (Driessen 2009: 31-32) (fig. 7.11a-b).

Fig. 7.11. MEGALITHIC WALL (WALL G1) AFTER OVERGROWTH CLEARING IN 2008 (C. GASTON). A) SOUTHERN FACE, WITH APPROXIMATE POSITION OF THE 2009 TEST TRENCHES; B) WESTERN FACE

24The wall was first identified in the beginning of the 1990s by Driessen and Müller (Driessen 2009: 24; Müller in Blackman 1997: 110). The massive size of the blocks and the position of the wall across what is today the easiest path to the top of the hill led to speculate about the date and function of Wall G1. The 2009 test was designed to elucidate these issues and assess the presence of earlier remains on the site of the megalithic structure. Our efforts were concentrated in two sectors located respectively in the outer and inner areas defined by Wall G1 (fig. 7.11a).

25Wall G1 consists of two 7 m-long stretches forming a right angle. It is made of roughly dressed blocks of blue conglomeratic limestone, undoubtedly local. The wall was apparently erected against sterile regolith (see below). Two courses are visible on its western face, with a maximum height preserved of ca. 1.50 m. The southern face shows one to two courses, with a maximum height preserved of ca. 0.70 m. Interstices between courses are locally filled with stones of smaller dimensions. Dimensions of the blocks range from 0.40 to 2.50 m. The largest stones were selected for constructing the angle of Wall G1, accentuating its monumental character. It is probable, however, that structural considerations mainly dictated this choice (McEnroe 1982: 12-13). The largest block, ca. 2.50 x 1.15 x 0.45 m, is estimated to weigh 3.5 tons. It is not impossible that this block, as well as other heavy elements, were lifted into place by use of a ramp (see below and also Loader 1998: 62; McEnroe 2001: 37). Similar stones forming a line parallel and immediately next to the modern asphalt road about 30 m west could suggest the presence of other structures within the valley.

2.2. Outer sector

26Excavation was carried out in the area delimited by Wall G1 and the southern cliff of the Kefali, where vegetation clearing revealed a MM IIIB-LM IA pottery deposit (discussed by Langohr, this volume) (fig. 7.11a). There was no obvious stratigraphy in the deposit and this at least partly results from root disturbance. The material found is eroded and mainly consists of conical cup fragments mixed with cooking pot debris. Associated finds include a terracotta loomweight (09-07-3000-OB002) and slab (09-07-3000-OB004), a stone vase fragment (09-07-3000-OB003), and a ledge-rim bowl/tumbler with light-on-dark decoration (09-07-3000-OB005). Several joining sherds suggest that the assemblage initially originates from a destruction layer which, we suspect, might have been located in the inner sector of Wall G1 (see below). In any case, this deposit seems to rest against the wall and provides a date for its abandonment.

2.3. Inner sector

27A test of 4 m by 3 m was made in the angle of Wall G1 where altered bedrock was reached at a depth of ca. 2 m below ground surface (fig. 7.11a). The land surfaces rise gradually from west to east and from south to north, with elevations comprised between +7.42 and +8.47 m. A schematic section illustrating the main stratigraphic units encountered in this sector is given in fig. 7.12.

Fig. 7.12. SCHEMATIC SECTION ACROSS WALL G1. 1. MEGALITHIC MASONRY; 2. TOPSOIL-SLOPEWASH; 3. TUMBLE; 4. MM IIIB/LM IA EARTH FLOOR LEVELS; 5. STONE PACKING (EM II-LM I); 6. EM III-MM III CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS; 7. TUMBLE; 8. STERILE REGOLITH

  • 19 Christakis’s (2005: 25, fig.27) Ropes 1 or 3.

28Below the topsoil/slopewash sediments was a succession of three superimposed earth floors (ca. +7.75, +7.70, and +7.60 m, respectively), all associated with MM IIIB/LM IA pottery. Associated with the uppermost floor (ca. +7.75 m) were open vessels (09-07-3011-OB001, 09-07-3011-OB003, 09-07-3011-OB004), a fragment of an amphora (09-07-3011-OB002), and sherds of a pithos decorated with three horizontal ropes19 (09-07-3012-OB001). In the north corner of the trench, white plaster fragments, apparently resting on the floor surface, were found under the tumble which included a fragment of ammouda (fig. 7.13).

Fig. 7.13. ZONE 7 (WALL G1), INNER SECTOR: MM IIIB/LM IA FLOOR DEPOSIT. T: TUMBLE; P: PLASTER; A: AMPHORA (09-07-3011-OB002); B: BOWL (09-07-3011-OB001); CC: CONICAL CUP; PI: PITHOS (09-07-3012-OB001) (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)

  • 20 Christakis’s (2005: 25, fig. 27) Ropes 6 or 7, providing a chronology consistent with the associate (...)
  • 21 According to Walberg (1983: 46-47), similar semi-radiating motifs are found at Malia on vases inspi (...)

29Beneath this highest floor was a layer of packed earth containing fragmented cups and scattered remains of coarse ware pottery. This compact unit was found resting on a second floor (ca. +7.70 m) on which were discovered an inverted MM IIIB/LM IA carinated cup (09-07-3014-OB005) and a smashed (conical?) cup (09-07-3014-OB006). Below this floor was a deposit containing various MM IIIB/LM IA drinking vessels including conical cups (09-07-3015-OB002, 09-07-3015-OB003, 09-07-3015-OB004) and two bowls (09-07-3015-OB001, 09-07-3015-OB005). It is not impossible that some of these vases were initially resting on a third, underlying floor level (ca. +7.60 m). The surface of this lower floor was strewn with few, isolated, pottery sherds. Below this surface was a compact layer containing a mixture of coarse, domestic vessels and fine, decorated cups preliminarily dated to no later than LM I. Associated finds include a fragmentary potter’s wheel (09-07-3017-OB002). Below this layer was a 20 to 40 cm-thick stony packing containing large amounts of mixed EM II-LM I pottery. The stony packing also produced a range of complete and fragmentary vessels including a fine, shallow, bowl (09-07-3021-OB001), a cup (09-07-3020-OB008), and the rim fragments of a pithos with rope decoration20. A layer of collapsed building material was excavated below the stony packing. Associated pottery is preliminarily dated to EM III-MM III and includes (carinated) cups, bowls, jars, cooking tripod feet and sherds of a MM straight-sided cup decorated in white-on-dark with a semi-radiating motif placed below the rim (09-07-3022-OB001) (fig. 7.14)21. Large plaster fragments, some bearing traces of red paint, were found mixed with building debris. Reddish and grey clay fragments mixed with small (river?) pebbles were also discovered and may represent collapsed roofing and/or ceiling material (Shaw 1977: 230-231; Shaw 2009: 147-147, 153-155). Building debris was found immediately above a sterile layer interpreted as weathered bedrock.

Fig. 7.14. ZONE 7: MM CUP FRAGMENT WITH WHITE-ON-DARK DECORATION (09-07-3022-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

30We provisionally interpret the above evidence as follows. A domestic building probably occupied the site of Wall G1 as early as EM II. We cannot exclude that some elements of Wall G1 already formed part of this building. Ceramic evidence suggests that this building remained occupied during the Protopalatial period, possibly until MM III when it suffered substantial damage. Cleaning operations and subsequent building activities probably occurred during MM IIIB/LMIA with a stony packing laid out over collapsed debris. The compactness of the stony layer, together with its gentle northward dip, raises the possibility that this debris also served as a ramp to lift megalithic blocks of Wall G1 into place. In the southern part of the trench, the top of the stony layer was found at ca. +7.60 m. Any block hauled up to this level would easily be pushed on top of the first course of Wall G1. Three successive earth floor levels suggest a relatively intense occupation of the area during MM IIIB/LMIA after which it was given up. The MM IIIB/LMIA pottery deposit excavated against the southern face of Wall G1 (see above) should probably be related to these activities.

3. General conclusion

31In Zone 6, the 2009 and 2010 excavation campaigns allowed us to better understand the spatial extent, chronology, and function of Building F. It is now clear that the main occupation phase of the building can be attributed to the LM IIIA2 period. It is, however, likely that at least some parts of the complex were already occupied earlier, perhaps even in the Prepalatial period. During LM IIIA2/B, space 6.3 appears to have functioned as a working area with industrial activities probably involving the treatment of liquids. A major collapse of Building F occurred during LM IIIA2/B, with traces of destruction by fire in spaces 6.2 and 6.4.2.

32Excavations in Zone 7, on the other hand, provided new information related to the date and function of the “cyclopaean wall” of Sissi. A detailed study of the pottery is, however, necessary before any definitive conclusion can be drawn. We suggest that the site of Wall G1 was already occupied by a domestic structure during the Prepalatial period, perhaps as early as EM II. It is not impossible that this construction remained in use until the end of the Protopalatial period when the structure suffered damage. At some point during the Neopalatial period (MM IIIB/LM IA), a stony packing was deposited over collapsed building debris and three successive earth floors were laid. Tumbled stones and plaster fragments found resting on the upper floor represent the only evidence for associated architectural remains. Excavation of the outer sector of Wall G1 moreover suggests that destruction and subsequent cleaning activities also occurred during MM IIIB/LM IA. In the current stage of excavation, it seems reasonable to suggest that the present appearance of Wall G1 should be assigned to MM IIIB/LM IA. The absence of later in situ material also suggests that the wall was given up during, or shortly after, MM IIIB/LMIA.

  • 22 As suggested for the Protopalatial megalithic wall running along the eastern flank of Hill I at Pet (...)

33The excavation of Zone 7 did not provide convincing evidence that Wall G1 was ever constructed as part of a defensive system. Instead it seems that the construction was always associated with residential structures. However, Wall G1 probably fulfilled several other functions, including that of a retaining wall. The megalithic construction of Wall G1 would moreover be adapted to support a two-storey building. It is not impossible either that the megalithic structure acted as a kind of “prestige artefact” for the residents of the Kefali22.

Bibliographie

4. References

▪ Anastasiadou 2011 = M. Anastasiadou, The Middle Minoan Three-Sided Soft Stone Prism: A Study of Style and Iconography (CMS Beiheft 9), Darmstadt/Mainz, 2011.

▪ Betts 1989 = J.H. Betts, Seals of Middle Minoan III: chronology and technical revolution, in I. Pini (ed.), Fragen und Probleme der bronzezeitlichen ägäischen Glyptik. Beiträge zum 3. Internationalen Marburger Siegel-Symposium, 5.–7. September 1985 (CMS Beiheft 3), Berlin, 1989, 1-17.

▪ Blackman 1997 = D.J. Blackman, Archaeology in Greece 1996-97. Archaeological Reports for 1996-1997 (1997), 1-118.

▪ Christakis 2005 = K.S. Christakis, Cretan Bronze Age Pithoi: Traditions and Trends in the Production and Consumption of Storage Containers in Bronze Age Crete, Philadelphia, 2005.

▪ Cucuzza 2010 = N. Cucuzza, Game boards or offering tables? Some remarks on the Minoan ‘ pierre à cupules’. Kernos 23 (2010), 133-144.

▪ Driessen 2009 = J. Driessen, Excavations on the Kefali at Sissi. Introduction, in Sissi I, 19-36.

▪ Evely 1993 = R.D.G. Evely, Minoan Crafts: Tools and Techniques. An Introduction. Vol. I (SIMA 92), Göteborg, 1993.

▪ Gaignerot-Driessen 2009 = F. Gaignerot-Driessen, Le bâtiment du sommet de la colline. La fouille de la Zone 3, in Sissi I, 115-128.

▪ Gesell 1985 = G.C. Gesell, Town, Palace, and House Cult in Minoan Crete, Göteborg, 1985.

▪ Herva 2005 = V.-P. Herva, The life of buildings: Minoan building deposits in an ecological perspective. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 24 (2005), 215-227.

▪ Jusseret 2009 = S. Jusseret, The excavation of Zone 6, in Sissi I, 157-161.

▪ Loader 1998 = N.C. Loader, Building in Cyclopean Masonry with Special Reference to the Mycenaean Fortifications on Mainland Greece, Jonsered, 1998.

▪ MacGillivray et al. 1992 = J.A. MacGillivray, L.H. Sackett, J.M. Driessen & S. Hemingway, Excavations at Palaikastro 1991. The Annual of the British School at Athens 87 (1992), 121-152.

▪ McEnroe 1982 = J. McEnroe, A typology of Minoan Neopalatial houses. American Journal of Archaeology 86 (1982), 3-19.

▪ McEnroe 2001 = J.C. McEnroe, The Architecture of Pseira, in P.P. Betancourt & C. Davaras (eds.), Pseira V: The Architecture of Pseira, Philadelphia, 2001, 1-78.

▪ Onassoglou 1985 = A. Onassoglou, Die >talismanischen< Siegel (CMS Beiheft 2), Berlin, 1985.

▪ Shaw 1977 = J.W. Shaw, New evidence for Aegean roof construction from Bronze Age Thera. American Journal of Archaeology 81 (1977), 229-233.

▪ Shaw 2009 = J.W. Shaw, Minoan Architecture: Materials and Techniques (Studi di Archeologia Cretese VII), Padova, 2009.

Sissi I = J. Driessen et al., Excavations at Sissi. Preliminary Report on the 2007-2008 Campaigns (Aegis I), Presses Universitaires Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2009.

▪ Tsipopoulou 1999 = M. Tsipopoulou, From local centre to palace: the role of fortification in the economic transformation of the Siteia Bay area, East Crete, in R. Laffineur (ed.), POLEMOS. Le contexte guerrier en Égée à l’Âge du Bronze. Actes de la 7e rencontre égéenne internationale, Université de Liège, 14-17 avril 1998 (Aegaeum 19), Liège & Austin, 1999, 179-188.

▪ Walberg 1983 = G. Walberg, Provincial Middle Minoan Pottery, Mainz am Rhein, 1983.

▪ Yule 1980 = P. Yule, Early Cretan Seals, A Study of Chronology, Mainz, 1980.

Notes

1 Erratum: space 6.4, as mentioned in Jusseret (2009: 159), should be read as space 6.0.

2 Discussed in detail below by Maria Anastasiadou.

3 In this respect, it is interesting to note that one of the three open vessels found in situ in the northeast corner of space 6.1 (referred to as kalathos in Jusseret [2009: 160] but now reinterpreted as a pedestal bowl, see Langohr, this volume) finds close parallels in the LM IIIB ritual assemblages described by Gaignerot-Driessen (this volume) in space 3.8 and by Watrous in the House with the Snake Tube at Kommos (see Langohr, this volume, for further details).

4 A similar platform is described for Room AD2 (Building AD or House of the Foreign Pottery) at Pseira and is interpreted as a pressing installation (McEnroe 2001: 46-47).

5 Immediately below ground surface was discovered a WW II Italian mortar shell. The 45 mm shell was meant to be fired from a Brixia Model 35, the standard light mortar used by Italian troops during World War II. This find, together with the numerous bullet cases, hand-grenade fragments, and other metal objects brought to light during the previous campaigns as well as the 2010 demining operations, seem to confirm the presence of Italian machine gun nests on the Buffo as remembered by local informants (Driessen 2009: 25, this volume).

6 For these stones in Minoan glyptic, see Müller in CMS III: 18-20. I would like to thank Walter Müller for his help with the identification of the material.

7 Along the stringhole channel.

8 For freehand engraving, see Anastasiadou 2011: 38-40.

9 The lines have tapering exits which could, but need not suggest the use of wheels operated with a horizontal spindle. Such exits are a result more of the curvature of the seal face and less a result of the technique. The centred-circles would have either been produced by a toothed/cup drill operated by fast backwards and forwards rotary motion produced by hand, or with the help of a bow; or less likely, if the tools were operated with a spindle, the device would have been created in two separate operations: the central dot opened by a solid drill and the surrounding circle by a tubular drill (for these tools, see below footnote 11). It is more likely that the seal was cut with hand manipulated files and drills because it belongs to a group of soft stone seals which display ornamental compositions created by lines and most often, single centred-circles (for this group, see below). Such compositions are not encountered on hard stone seals, where the appearance of centred-circles is much more limited than in soft stone pieces (for examples of hard stone seals with centred-circles, see CMS VI no. 99 c, which is one of the few hard stone examples with ornamental compositions of this kind; CMS III no. 230 b; CMS VI no. 103 b). It therefore seems reasonable to suppose that such seals were cut in soft stone workshops using the hand tools that were available there, e.g. fast moving files and drills, to create effects similar to those found on hard stone seals, e.g. regular and smooth intaglios.

10 For the tools possibly used for engraving this seal, see Evely 1993: 151, fig. 64 SAW, DRILL solid, tubular, shaped bit, 80 fig.34 toothed; CMS II, 2, xvi-xvii fig.1; Betts 1989: 10. For engraving resulting from manipulation of hand tools in a constant backwards and forwards rotary or linear movement generating fast motion, see Anastasiadou 2011: 40-43 (Vertical Pressure Technique). For details of the operation of the tools on the horizontal spindle, see Anastasiadou 2011: 43-44 (Mechanical Spindle Technique, with bibliography). For a detailed discussion of the method used for creation of centred-circles on soft stone seals, see Anastasiadou 2011: 44-46 (Vertical Pressure Technique versus Mechanical Spindle Technique). For the difficulty in differentiating between the intaglios cut in the Vertical Pressure Technique and those cut with a horizontal spindle, see Anastasiadou 2011: 44-47 (Vertical Pressure Technique versus Mechanical Spindle Technique, The Intaglios Engraved by the Techniques which Produce Fast Motion).

11 The terminology used for the denomination of the devices is adopted from the CMS Seal Database. The German terms are also provided, since the English version of the database is not yet available on the internet.

12 The denomination of this motif in the English version of the CMS Seal Database is circle and dot.

13 The combination could be seen as related to a Bandlinie (these are effectively Yule’s ‘heavy lines … flanked by a thin cut on both sides’, Yule 1980: 220). For further details of this motif, see the CMS Seal Database.

14 See footnote 14.

15 E.g. CMS II, 1 no. 273 b; CMS IV no. 119; CMS V Suppl. 1A no. 267 b.

16 E.g. CMS II,2 nos. 16, 27, 51 b, 53 a, 149; CMS II,3 no. 37; CMS II,4 nos. 192, 211; CMS III nos. 29, 142.

17 These seals belong to a tendency also seen on MM II/III architectural and LM I talismanic seals, where only quick linear cuts and, in the case of the talismanic seals, crescent-shaped cuts and borings are used to create schematic compositions. The cross, lattice, and line combinations reminiscent of Bandlinien on the Sissi seal, as well as its ornamental decoration, bring it closer to the architectural seals e.g. CMS II,2 nos. 1, 254; CMS II,3 no. 195; CMS IV no. 157. For the architectural style, see Yule 1980: 220-221, 12A: The Classical Tectonic Group, 12B: The Common Tectonic Group. For the talismanic seals, see Onassoglou 1985.

18 E.g. Lentoids: CMS II, 4 no. 97; CMS IV no. 90 (serpentine?); CMS V Suppl. 1B no. 364 (with double centred-circles); CMS V Suppl. 3 no. 39; CMS VII no. 245. Discoid: CMS III no. 136. Cushion: CMS II, 4 no. 211. Amygdaloid: CMS III no. 142 (steatite). Button: CMS II, 2 no. 149.

19 Christakis’s (2005: 25, fig.27) Ropes 1 or 3.

20 Christakis’s (2005: 25, fig. 27) Ropes 6 or 7, providing a chronology consistent with the associated EM II-LM I pottery.

21 According to Walberg (1983: 46-47), similar semi-radiating motifs are found at Malia on vases inspired by the style prevalent at Knossos and Phaistos or imported from these locations. The motif appears to belong to phase 3 of the MM “provincial style” (corresponding to the Classical palatial Kamares phase) and is typically found in east-central Crete. The cup of Sissi has a parallel found in a stratigraphic test opened against the eastern façade of Building 7 at Palaikastro (MacGillivray et al. 1992: 136, fig. 14, n.2). The exemple of Palaikastro, like that found at Sissi, corresponds to a straight-sided cup. MacGillivray et al. (1992: 133) assign it to “a type manufactured at Knossos and quite common in deposits of the MM IIIA period there”. No good parallels could, however, be found for the dotted semi-circular pattern framing the semi-radiating motif of Sissi.

22 As suggested for the Protopalatial megalithic wall running along the eastern flank of Hill I at Petras (Tsipopoulou 1999: 186).

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 7.1. ZONE 6 (BUILDING F): A) SCHEMATIC PLAN WITH SPACE NUMBERS INDICATED; B) AERIAL VIEW AT THE END OF THE 2010 CAMPAIGN (C. GASTON)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 244k
Légende Fig. 7.2. STONE BY STONE PLAN OF ZONE 6 (BUILDING F) WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (P. HACΙGÜZELLER, BASED ON SITE PLANS BY S. JUSSERET AND N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 312k
Légende Fig. 7.3. SPACE 6.1: TERRACOTTA FIGURINES. A) LEG (10-06-2061-OB004); B) FELINE HEAD (10-06-2061-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Légende Fig. 7.4. SPACE 6.2 AT THE END OF THE 2010 CAMPAIGN. VIEW FROM THE NORTHEAST, WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (S. JUSSERET)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Légende Fig. 7.5. SPACE 6.3: A) AERIAL VIEW FROM THE WEST, WITH MAIN FEATURES INDICATED (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS); B) KREPIDOMA F21 SEEN FROM THE WEST (S. JUSSERET); C) PLATFORM F20 SEEN FROM THE NORTHEAST (S. JUSSERET); D) SOUNDING WITH SUPERIMPOSED WALLS F11 AND F32 AND GOURNA F16 INDICATED, VIEW FROM THE WEST (S. JUSSERET)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 432k
Légende Fig. 7.6. SPACES 6.4.1 AND 6.4.2 FILLED BY TUMBLE. AERIAL VIEW FROM THE SOUTH (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 476k
Légende Fig. 7.7. SPACE 6.4.2: A) DEPOSIT OF CUPS AND BONES IN THE EAST PART, EXCAVATION IN PROGRESS; B) AND C): STIRRUP JARS (B: 10-06-2084-OB001, C: 10-06-2083-OB001) FALLEN UPSIDE DOWN AND SMASHED BY TUMBLE; D) CRUSHED AND HEAVILY BURNED STONE LID (10-06-2066-OB002) AMIDST TUMBLE; E) STORAGE VESSEL SET IN RUBBLE PLATFORM (F36) IN THE SOUTHWEST CORNER (ALL PHOTOS S. JUSSERET)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 336k
Légende Fig. 7.8. DECORATED STIRRUP JAR (10-06-2084-OB001) FROM SPACE 6.4.2 (PRELIMINARY DRAWING H. JORIS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 204k
Légende Fig. 7.9. STONE SLAB WITH DEPRESSIONS (KERNOS) F19 NEXT TO ENTRANCE TO SPACE 6.5. DOORWAY MARKED BY THRESHOLD F37 IN THE BACKGROUND. VIEW FROM THE SOUTHWEST (S. JUSSERET)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 408k
Légende Fig. 7.10. SPACE 6.1: SEAL STONE (10-06-2055-OB002). A) PHOTO: CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS; B) DRAWING (IMPRESSION): C. KOLB
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 216k
Légende Fig. 7.11. MEGALITHIC WALL (WALL G1) AFTER OVERGROWTH CLEARING IN 2008 (C. GASTON). A) SOUTHERN FACE, WITH APPROXIMATE POSITION OF THE 2009 TEST TRENCHES; B) WESTERN FACE
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 596k
Légende Fig. 7.12. SCHEMATIC SECTION ACROSS WALL G1. 1. MEGALITHIC MASONRY; 2. TOPSOIL-SLOPEWASH; 3. TUMBLE; 4. MM IIIB/LM IA EARTH FLOOR LEVELS; 5. STONE PACKING (EM II-LM I); 6. EM III-MM III CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS; 7. TUMBLE; 8. STERILE REGOLITH
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 336k
Légende Fig. 7.13. ZONE 7 (WALL G1), INNER SECTOR: MM IIIB/LM IA FLOOR DEPOSIT. T: TUMBLE; P: PLASTER; A: AMPHORA (09-07-3011-OB002); B: BOWL (09-07-3011-OB001); CC: CONICAL CUP; PI: PITHOS (09-07-3012-OB001) (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 660k
Légende Fig. 7.14. ZONE 7: MM CUP FRAGMENT WITH WHITE-ON-DARK DECORATION (09-07-3022-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3130/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 189k

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2011

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540