Maria Stamatopoulou (2013). Thessaly (Prehistoric to Roman). Archaeological Reports, 59, pp 35-55. doi:10.1017/S0570608413000082.

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Maria Stamatopoulou (2013). Thessaly (Prehistoric to Roman). Archaeological Reports, 59, pp 35-55. doi:10.1017/S0570608413000082.
  ARCHAEOLOGY IN GREECE 2012–201335 THESSALY (PREHISTORIC TO ROMAN) Maria Stamatopoulou  Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford  Introduction In this year’s report I will focus on the presentation of the proceedings of  AEThSE  3 which were distributed in spring2013. The publication contains many very interestingarticles on Thessaly that demonstrate the vitality andvariety of the archaeological work (fieldwork, researchand archival studies) conducted in the region, often under difficult circumstances. Although it has often been pointedout (during the conferences) that these meetings have become almost unmanageable, due to the very largenumber of participants (the volume on Thessaly is over 700 pages long), their importance is obvious. Theregularity of the meetings and their prompt publicationhave increased our essential evidence for the region, butalso enable scholars to draw comparisons and discern linksamong sites and between classes of material, and to illus-trate the diachronic importance of key sites in theThessalian landscape, thus adding greatly to our under-standing of the region synchronically and diachronically.As a number of articles from this volume were thefocus of last year’s report (for example: RomanDemetrias: Triantaphylopoulou [2012]; Kastro/PalaiaVolou: Skafida [2012]; Phthiotic Thebes/Nea Anchialos:Dina [2012]; Tempe: Sdrolia [2012b]; Toufexis et al  .[2012b]; fortification walls of Late Roman Larisa:Kontogiannopoulou [2012]; Kazanaki: Stantzouris andPanagiotis [2012]),I will concentrate here on newsites/material for reasons of brevity. Although veryimportant, due to the constraints of space I will not discussin this brief report the papers on archival material or thehistory of collections (Helly et al. [2012]; Stamatopoulou[2012]), synthetic and theoretical analyses of historical periods and texts (Gounaris [2012]; Kravaritou [2012];Bizaki [2012]), a paper on museum educational programmes (Kalogianni and Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou[2012]) or epigraphic studies that do not relate directly tomaterial culture. I will also leave for next year theoverview of early poleis/settlements in Thessaly from theMycenaean to the Archaic period and the discussion of issues such as continuity from the Late Bronze to the EarlyIron Age (key sites such as Halos/Voulokalyva and itscemeteries, Kastro/Palaia Volou, Aerino, Pherae,Pharsalos, Agios Georgios/Krannon and Sarantaporo). I shall begin this report with a brief presentation of other recent publications, exhibitions and conferences onThessalian antiquities and then discuss the new finds in broad chronological terms and, for the first millenniumBC, according to regions/major cities. Recent publications The Archaeological Institute of Thessalian Studies, under its current director Elisavet Nikolaou, has been very activein publishing important new studies on Thessaly, centralGreece and Macedonia. The following concern Thessaly: Nikolaou and Kravaritou (2012),  Αρχαίεςπόλεις Θεσσαλίας& περίοικωνπεριοχών ,a well-illustratedvolume, provides an up-to-date synopsis of the currentstate of knowledge on Thessalian poleis, including muchnew evidence that complements Decourt et al  . (2004);Sdrolia (2012c), ΟιτοιχογραφίεςτουκαθολικούτηςΜονής  Πέτρας(1625) καιηζωγραφικήτωνναώντωνΑγράφωντου17ουαιώνα ; Bosnakis (2013),  ΕΝΘΕΤΤΑΛΙΖΕΣΘΑΙ:Τεχνοτροπίακαιιδεολογίατωνθεσσαλικώνεπιτυµβίωναναγλύφωντου5ουκαιτου4ουαι. π.Χ. ; Sythiakaki-Kritsimalli (2012), Οανάγλυφοςαρχιτεκτονικός διάκοσµοςστηΘεσσαλίακαιτηΦθιώτιδα. Παλαιοχρι-στιανικάκαιπρώιµαµεσαιωνικάχρόνια. Exhibitions Two photographic exhibitions on archaeological finds fromThessalian sites were organized in the summer of 2013. Το ΚάστροτηςΚαλλιθέας   –   Ματιέςσεµιααρχαίαπόλη washeld at the Cultural Centre of Pharsala and co-ordinated byMargriet Haagsma (Canadian Institute in Greece/Alberta)and Sophia Karapanou (15 th EPCA), directors of theKallithea project. For press reports, see  Eleutheria on 15June 2013 ( and 5 July 2013: A photographic exhibition focusing on thearchaeological discoveries of the region around modernChorto in southern Pelion, co-ordinated by KostasVouzaxakis (13 th EPCA) and organized by the G. Angelinis – P. Chatzinikou Foundation, ran at the Folklore Museum of Chorto between 2–18 August 2013. See the press report in Tachydromos of 31 July 2013: Conferences In 2012 and early 2013 several conferences concerning theregion were organized. First was the sixth HYPEREIAconference,  Pherae-Velestino-Rigas, Archaeology, History, Folklore , held at Velestino, between 4–7 October 2012,with papers devoted to the region of Velestino (ancientPherae) from antiquity to the War of Independence( io2012.pdf). Relevant to the periods that interest us werethe communications by Dimitris Agnousiotis on the recentMiddle Bronze Age finds from sites near Lake Karla; byKalliopi Almatzi on funerary practices in the region, duringthe Middle Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age; byPolyxeni Arachoviti on the very interesting results of salvage archaeology at Velestino, prompted by publicworks on the sewage system of the modern town (somewere discussed in last year’s report), such as the high-quality relief depicting the Dioskouri (see below); byYannis Pikoulas on the ancient route linking Pherae andSkotousa; by Argyro Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou on therelations of Pherae with outside communities; by DespinaEfstathiou on the Hellenistic houses of Pherae, some of which, in the southern part of the city, provide interestingevidence for workshop activities (the Apostolinas andTsoubekou plots), while other houses hint at the luxuriouslifestyle of their occupants (for example the house on theTheodoropoulos plot, which had a peristyle courtyard, andan interesting domestic shrine); by Evangelia Stamelou onthe metal finds from various contexts in the city; and byVana Orfanou on the archeo-metallurgical analysis of the bronzes from the Sanctuary of Zeus Thaulios; by MariaStamatopoulou on the Pilaf Tepe tumulus, proposing anearlier date for the burial, in the first half of the thirdcentury BC; and by Babis Intzesiloglou on the recently-identified relief-ware pottery workshop at Demetrias,whose products reached Pherae. On the conference, seealso the press report in Tachydromos of 04.10.2012:  MARIA STAMATOPOULOU36 Map 3. Thessaly. 1. Skantzoura; 2. Skopelos town (ancient Peparethos); 3. Skopelos; 4. Panormos; 5. Chorto; 6. Palaia/KastroVolou; 7. Kazanaki; 8. Demetrias; 9. Pefkakia; 10. Soros; 11. Sesklo; 12. Dimini; 13. Mikrothives; 14. Nea Anchialos;15. Velestino (ancient Pherae); 16. Tsiggenina; 17. Velika; 18. Marmariani; 19. Tempe; 20. Skotoussa; 21. Kallithea;22. Stylida; 23. Pharsala; 24. Pharsala, Vasilis; 25. Krannon; 26. Larisa; 27. Makrychori; 28. Gonnoi; 29. Rodia Tyrnavou;30. Kastri Loutrou Elassonas; 31. Phanos Phlabourou; 32. Dolichi; 33. Kastri Livadiou; 34. Vigla Sarantaporou; 35. Dranista;36. Prodromos; 37. Georgiko; 38. Neochori; 39. Kalabaka (ancient Aiginion); 40. Paliokastro Xirokampou; 41. SkoumbosPeristeras (ancient Phaloreia).  ARCHAEOLOGY IN GREECE 2012–201337 In late November, a two-day conference was organizedin Athens by the BSA and the Classics Faculty/LincolnCollege of the University of Oxford on sanctuaries andcults in ancient Thessaly ( Its aim was to present an overview of recent discoveries pertaining tocults and sanctuaries in the region in the first millenniumBC, in order to prompt discussion about cult activity inThessaly and comparisons with neighbouring regions. Bothold finds, reassessed in light of archival work, and verynew discoveries were presented, mainly from the teamsthat are actively involved in fieldwork in the region. Someof the sites/finds considered have been presented in previous reports, such as the Sanctuary of Herakles atSpartia/Latomion; the work on the Sanctuary of ZeusThaulios at Pherae; the Sanctuary of Apollo at Soros; andthe recent finds at Tempe ( ID1357 , ID1981 , ID2328 ). Veryimportant issues were raised regarding the criteria used todistinguish private or domestic from public cult (withregards to the Metroon at Demetrias), the ‘domestic’ cult atDemetrias and Kallithea Pharsalon (see below) and thevery interesting new sanctuary at Pharsala (see below;Katakouta [forthcoming]). The nature of the cult of theMother of the Gods was discussed, as well as the physicalappearance/layout of her sanctuaries (the Metroon atDemetrias: Batziou-Efstathiou [2010]; the recently-identified architectural remains at Tempe: Toufexis et al  .[2012b]; and evidence for her cult in houses at Demetriasand in the sanctuary at Pharsala). There were also papers onthe ancestor/hero cult by the Mycenaean tholos tomb atGeorgiko (Intzesiloglou [2002]), on poliad cults, on femaleworshippers in Thessaly and overviews of the archaeo-logical and epigraphic evidence for Achaia Phthiotis,Krannon and Pherae. Given that, with few exceptions (seerecently Mili [2005]; Decourt andTziafalias [2007]; GarcíaRamón and Helly [2007]; Graninger [2011]; Kravaritou[2011]; [2013]; Stamatopoulou [2008]), the bibliographyon Thessalian cults and religion is still very thin andThessalian religion understudied, it is hoped that the publi-cation of the proceedings will provide a reference point for further discussion and publication. A day-conference celebrating the centenary of thearchaeological investigations in Perrhaibia in northernThessaly was organized by the 15 th EPCA and the 7 th EBAon 18 December 2012. Anthi Batziou gave a synopsis of archaeological work conducted in this border region of Thessaly since its independence from Ottoman rule;Asimina Tsiaka discussed the archaeological collection of Elassona; Anna Gialouri the restoration and conservationwork on various monuments, especially the Church of Panagia Pythiou; while Konstantinos Telios and IoannisPharasles presented the results of GIS inspection in thearea of Azoros. The Municipality of Agia and the 7 th EBA organized atwo-day event at Agia on 15–16 June 2013 as part of theinternational workshop (Gruntdvig Workshop)  Places of Worship: Touching the Earth, Gazing at the Sky ( single out the papers of Ioannis Baralis on Christian buildings in Thessaly in Late Antiquity and StavroulaSdrolia on the fort of Velika and the defensive system of the coastal road of Agia in the Byzantine period, which Idiscussed in the report for 2010–2011 ( ID 1356 , ID2327 ;see also Sdrolia [2012b]; peribalon/item/55-kastro-belikas.html). Neolithic Thessaly As would be expected for a region with such rich Neolithiccultural horizons, and a long and fruitful tradition in thestudy and excavation of prehistoric, mainly Neolithic,remains, a number of papers in  AEThSE  3 are devoted tothe presentation of new evidence or the synthetic analysisof old discoveries in the light of current archaeologicalknowledge. Among the latter, Areti Pentedeka (2012)discusses pottery exchange. Based on the petrographicanalysis of sherds from 12 stratified excavation assem- blages and informed by recent theoretical debates, sheconcludes that wide exchange networks as well as ware-specific ones operated in the region. She points out thecentrality of key sites such as Platia Magoula Zarkou and Chalki 1 , both situated at privileged geographicallocations: near a river, on passes and with access to water. Kalliopi Almatzi (2012) presents the results of excavation at a site ca . 800m northeast of MagoulaVisviki , in the area of Velestino near the southwest shoresof Lake Karla. On a terrace at the summit Ovria, a buildingcomplex comprising six structures was investigated. Allstructures were contemporary and followed aneast/southeast– west/northwest orientation; their founda-tions and the lower parts of the walls were stone-built to aheight of 0.2–0.5m from the surface (unusual, according tothe excavator, for a site by a lake). The author commentson the similarities to Sesklo B and Palioskala. The potterysuggests that the site was occupied in the Early Neolithic.Christos Batzelas (2012) analyses subterraneanhabitation in Thessaly, using ‘pit-houses’ found at thenorthwest edge of the prehistoric tell Makrychori 1 as hiscase study, in particular pit A in trench A31. This structure,circular in plan, had vertical inner sides, a flat floor, anestimated diameter of more than 4m and a depth of 0.8m.The evidence for postholes dug in its perimeter and theassemblages derived from it imply that it was a semi-subterranean house, comparable to those discovered inThessaly, such as at Galini, and also the better-knownexamples from further north in Macedonia, especially atMakrigialos I and Stavroupolis. Christos Batzelas thus places these structures in their geographical and culturalcontexts; as he points out, links to Makrigialos in Pieriaare hardly a surprise given the location of Makrychori I, atthe northern edge of the Thessalian plain. Giorgos Toufexis  (2012a) discuss the Late Neolithic site (with evidence for Hellenistic and Romanoccupation) that was identified and partially explored in theEnipeus valley, ca . 1.5km from Vasilis and 4.5km north of Pharsala, during works for a gas-pipe ( ID 809 ). The site isa low tell, about 1.5m high, and covers an area of ca . 4ha;its northern part was investigated ( Fig. 47 ). Houses wereconstructed in the wattle-and-daub technique and in mud- brick, and had clay roofs. There was evidence for ovens inthe open spaces. The site produced plentiful pottery, tools,some terracotta figurines and loomweights. On the surfaceof the magoula there was scattered Hellenistic and Roman pottery, and 19 Late Hellenistic and Roman graves wereinvestigated. According to the excavator they belong to asmall satellite settlement of Pharsalos. Western Thessaly was also well represented. LeonidasHatziaggelakis (2012) discusses the prehistoric settlementof Sykeon at Zeugarolivado, where an important prehis-toric magoula, with three to four habitation phases of theMiddle Neolithic has been investigated, together withimpressive architectural remains.  MARIA STAMATOPOULOU38 Leonidas Hatziaggelakis and ChristosKaragianopoulos (2012) present the recent excavation at Magoula Agios Ioannis at Prodromos , otherwise knownas Prodromos III ( ID 1358 ). The magoula occupies an areaof 8.5ha and is surrounded by the Voulgaris stream on thesouth and east. Sections of successive settlements wereinvestigated and two major phases of occupationidentified, dating from the Late Final Neolithic to the Final Neolithic, and from the early Early Bronze Age to theearly Middle Bronze Age. The architectural remains of the Neolithic period suggest rectangular buildings withauxiliary structures and open spaces between them. In thesouthwest part of the trench, where remains of the Early toMiddle Bronze Age have been identified, the long andnarrow foundation trench of an apsidal building and postholes suggest that it was a house oriented north–south,6.9m wide and at least 5.8m long. It recalls structures atSitagroi. Various clay constructions, some ovens, have been investigated ( Fig. 48 ). Besides the Neolithic remains,evidence for later activity includes a potter’s kiln, mostlikely for the production of Roman to Late Roman tiles.Still in western Thessaly, the paper by Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika et al  . (2012) summarizes the results of the2006–2007 excavations of a Middle Neolithic (or earlier)site near the Botanical Gardens at Neochori , on the shoresof modern Lake Plastira, at an altitude of 800m. Theevidence suggests semi-permanent habitation (householdactivities, a few figurines) and seasonal exploitation of the pasturelands by Thessalian plain herders during thesummer months ( Fig. 49 ). The parallels to similar discov-eries at Grevena and Argithea highlight the diachronicimportance of the highland zones for herders and hunting. Middle Helladic Two articles discuss Middle Helladic finds. DimitrisAgnousiotis and Vassiliki Adrymi-Sismani (2012) present the preliminary results of the rescue excavationsat Tsiggenina , 3km east of the village of Kanalia, near the shores of Lake Karla ( ID1990 ), where seven struc-tures belonging to a Middle Bronze Age to EarlyHelladic I settlement were investigated. All the houseswere oriented east–west and were rectangular (megaroidin plan), with well-built stone walls and mud-brick superstructures. A different model was noted at complexΖ-Θ, the largest at the site, where two initiallyindependent buildings, an apsidal and a rectangular one,were combined in a later phase ( Fig. 50 ). Since thesettlement lies on flat land (unlike settlements at sitessuch as Argissa and Pefkakia) the buildings were quitewidely spaced, probably in clusters with open areas between, sharing the same orientation. KassandraSismani (2012) offers a synopsis of funerary practices inMiddle Bronze Age Thessaly. She proposes that towardsthe late Middle Bronze Age there was more pronounceddifferentiation in burials, a phenomenon that sheattributes to the emergence of competing groups whichused burials as a means of forging their social identitieswithin their communities. 47. Pharsala, Vasilis: view of excavations.© Ministry of Culture and Sport:15 th EPCA.48. Agios Ioannis, Prodromos: view of the apsidal building and diagnostic pottery finds. © Ministry of Culture and Sport: 34 th EPCA.49. Neochori: view of excavations. © Ministry of Cultureand Sport:15 th EPCA.  ARCHAEOLOGY IN GREECE 2012–201339 Mycenaean Thessaly In recent years there has been considerable emphasis onMycenaean research in Thessaly. Discoveries from thearea of Volos, the extensive cemetery finds from Aerinoand Velestino, the sites and tomb remains near the former Lake Karla ( ID 2157 , ID1039 ), the extensive buildingremains at Makrychori near Agia and, further west, themonumental tombs at Georgiko and Dranista (Galanakisand Stamatopoulou [2012]), and other finds in theKarditsa region and even further north, have challengedthe interpretation of Thessaly as a backwater of Mycenaean civilization. Many now consider it not somuch peripheral, but as the northernmost border of Mycenaean culture. Pride of place in any analysis of Mycenaean Thessaly is naturally taken by the three major,contemporary, sites near Volos: Kastro/Palaia Volou,Pefkakia and Dimini. The relationship between thesesettlements, their hierarchy and their role in theMycenaean world are not yet fully appreciated. It is thusvery helpful that the long-standing excavator of Dimini,Vassiliki Adrymi-Sismani (2012) offers in  AEThSE  3 adetailed, up-to-date,overview of the site and herinterpre-tation of these three sites. She interprets Dimini , Kastro/Palaia Volou and Pefkakia as members of asingle polity, namely the famous palatial centre of Iolkos,which controlled the harbour of the Pagasitic Gulf – theonly easy outlet for the products of the Thessalian plains.At Dimini , habitation startedin the 15 th century whena prosperous Middle Helladic III settlement developed intoan organized Mycenaean urban centre during LateHelladic IIIA2 ( ID1066 , ID1989 , ID1043 ). Already inLHIIB there is evidence for an elite class, distinguished bythe use of built tombs with a square chamber and dromos,and in LHIIIA and IIIB by the use of monumental tholostombs. LHIIIA2 was a period of prosperity for thesettlement, which is situated on the road that connects thePagasitic Gulf with inland Thessaly and on a hill that offersan uninterupted view to the Bay of Volos. Already inLHIIIA2, and certainlyin LHIIIB (when it peaked), thesettlementextended over a large area (see  ADelt  56–59[2000–2004] B2, 473;  AR 58 [2011–2012] 77) and wasorganized according to a coherent urban plan, i.e. therewere central major avenues with houses on either side anda large architectural complex, covering an area of 4,000m 2 ( Fig. 51 ). The latter consists of a central gateway at the junction of two major avenues and Megara A and B, builtwith strong foundations, specific cult areas, a centralsewage system, metal workshops in Megaron A (slag, leadvessels and moulds), other workshop areas (also for  precious materials) and auxiliary areas for the preparationof food. Megaron B preserved evidence of specializedstorage areas, areas designated for cult, the use of sealingsand seals, and acquaintance with Linear B (albeit not in theform of tablets, as at nearby Kastro/Palaia). Entry to thecomplex was controlled through an impressive propylon atthe end of the central road traversing the settlementnorth–south. The finds show contacts with the easternMediterranean as well as with the major centres of southern Greece and Crete. According to the excavator, thesize, architectural form and finds of this complex implythat it served as the seat of the local political, economicand religious authority of the large settlement at Diminiand was occupied by the anaktes (leaders), who wereeventually interred in the two adjacent large tholos tombs.Despite numerous local peculiarities (absence of a hearthwith four columns or impressive frescoes), she sees closeaffinities to the architectural complexes of Mycenaean palacesin, for example, the sequence of courtyards, thecentral megaron surrounded by subsidiary buildings or workshopsand cooking activities, as well as the adjacentmegaron with evidence of cultactivitiesand storagefacil-ities,andauxiliary buildings,as at Ano Englianos in Pylos.Contrary to the major Mycenaean acropoleis, Dimini wasnot fortified. According to VassilikiAdrymi-Sismani, theabsence of fortifications characterizes eastern Thessaliansettlements (Kastro/Palaia, Pefkakia, Velestino/Pherae,Boibe); therefore, we should look for a different habitationmodel than that in the south. VassilikiAdrymi-Sismani points out that a similar development to thatatDimini is demonstrated in theneighbouring sites at Kastro/Palaia Volou and Pefkakia,although,in both cases,settlement evidence is morelimited (although ongoing excavations and research at both sites may change this picture). All three sitesdeveloped from prosperous MiddleHelladic IIIsettlements.They were near one another, around themouth of the Pagasitic Gulf. At Kastro/Palaia there wasalso a megaron with administrative functions (  AR 57[2010–2011] 77–78),a nearby organized cemetery at NeaIonia and monumental tholos tombs at Kapakli. Further afield is the major tholos tomb at Kazanaki ( ID1102 ). At Pefkakia recent excavations have revealed animportant harbour settlement and impressive buildingremains (see below). The absence of fortifications at thesesites is viewed as a sign of peaceful co-existence andcollaboration, and thus Vassiliki Adrymi-Sismaniconcludes that all three sites together formedthe major centre of Mycenaean Iolkos . 50. Tsiggenina: view of complex Ζ-Θ. © Ministry of Culture and Sport:13 th EPCA(courtesy of D. Agnousiotis).
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