Sponsored by: Spokane Society
Dr. Brendan Burke:
Life and Death at Ancient Eleon: Ongoing Research
The Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project (EBAP) has been excavating at the site of ancient Eleon in the village of Arma since 2011. This project is a synergasia between the CIG and Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia, under the direction of Dr. Alexandra Charami (Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia) and co-direction of Brendan Burke (University of Victoria) and Bryan Burns (Wellesley College).
Our work has identified four major periods of occupation at the site of ancient Eleon, located on an elevated plateau overlooking the Theban plain, en route to Chalkis and the Euboean Gulf: First, a prehistoric phase spans the early Mycenaean period (from the end of the Middle Helladic and beginning of the Mycenaean palatial period, ca. 1700-1450 BC). In the second period, we have substantial levels dating to the Late Helladic IIIB and IIIC sub phases. The third phase is Post-Bronze Age that varies in levels of occupation, but the earliest reoccupation does not occur until the 6th c. BCE. The fourth and latest archaeological phase in evidence: the Medieval period, from which material survives in surface levels and deeper pits only.
This talk will concentrate on recent fieldwork within and around an enclosure which we call the Blue Stone Structure (BSS), so named because of the polished blue limestone used to cap a large, rectangular perimeter wall. This structure was capped with a mound of clay marking an early Mycenaean cemetery of some significance dating to the formative period of Mycenaean society, ca. 17th c. BCE. Our main goal is to excavate all of the burials within the perimeter wall. One of our research questions addresses the relationship between the construction of the BSS perimeter wall and individual burials. Although our work is not yet completed, we believe the earliest tombs were dug and built within this demarcated space prior to the construction of the BSS, and then subsequent tombs were constructed inside.