Interactive Digs

August 31, 2007

Zominthos: Field Notes 2007

Our work in room 7 concentrated on the conservation and removal of the large piece of plaster that was found in early 1980s. One of the biggest surprises was that we found a great number of schist slabs and pieces of limestone under the plaster. It is obvious that these stones made up the paved floor of the second story, which was preserved to a great extent some centimeters above the ground floor. The plaster we discovered on top of these stones likely once covered the paved floor.
[imagebrowser=14] The excavation of room 8 had started in 2006. This year, we uncovered three pieces of limestone and two schist slabs, among them a complete handle-less conical cup. Across the east wall, we collected several pieces of white plaster with traces of black and red color. Also, we found some burnt wood, bones, and sherds, as well as a few crumbs of bronze. We continued to excavate at a lower level, where we uncovered a one-handled hemispherical cup, jug, open vessel, and some pieces of plaster. As usual, we found carbonized wood and bones. In addition, we uncovered a course of upright limestone across the western part of the south wall of the room. We are certain that these stones were intentionally positioned here in order to form a structure, which, however, we cannot yet identify. Across the rest of the south wall were several pieces of limestone that had fallen vertically. It seems that they came from some kind of structure, such as shelves on the same wall, or they may have fallen from the upper story. A socket at the southern part of the west wall may have facilitated the positioning of a wooden beam. We collected more pieces of white plaster, some of which had red paint. It is probable that these courses of stones, found across the south wall, are somehow related. As the excavation extended into the other parts of the room, we collected more pieces of white plaster and charcoal.
[imagebrowser=15] The excavation of room 15 had started in the 1980s, and continued during 2006 with the removal of the upper fill. This year, we removed the lower fill and uncovered numerous pieces of limestone and schist slabs. The fallen masonry was mainly concentrated in the western part of the room, whereas the eastern part was distinguished by a large, complete pithos and part of the floor of the upper story. The latter was well preserved on the top of the pithos.
[imagebrowser=16] The excavation gradually revealed the lower part of the inner walls. Two small rectangular gaps in the masonry may indicate the existence of niches. One larger gap on the west wall was most probably a window, similar to the one we found on the west wall of room 14. We uncovered a large amount of stones, among them some bones, plaster, and charcoal. At the southwest part of this fill, four miniature handle-less conical cups came to light. It is exactly the same place that we unearthed a complete amphora the previous year. At the same level, we also found some charcoal, bones, and two fragments of white plaster. In total, we documented 67 slabs from the story’s paved floor. The small and irregular size of the stones may explain why they needed to be covered with clay, which was burnt (and is why it was preserved to such a great extent). On the surface of the clay, there was a great quantity of carbonized wood, some sherds, and a handle-less conical cup. The pithos we found took up a substantial part of the southeast and central parts of the room. It is 1.15 meters high (3.7 feet), and has two rows of handles below the rim and at the lower part of its body. At the center of the room, and in contact with pithos’ rims, we found two thin pieces of limestone that do not resemble the stones fallen from the story. This probably means that they were used to cover the pithos. At the southeast corner of the room, we found a one-handled cup and a bell-shaped cup. At the northwest side, we revealed two more handle-less conical cups. The latter had most likely fallen from a shelf on the wall. We removed the rest of the southeast fill and uncovered four more vessels: two incense burners, a lamp, and a miniature handle-less conical cup.
[imagebrowser=17] At the opening of the door, we found fragments of white plaster, burnt wood, bones, and a great amount of fallen stones from the east wall. At the north-central part of the room, we discovered two miniature conical cups, a milk jug, some bones, burnt wood, three fragments of plaster, and two handle-less cups. The excavation continued at a lower level, revealing four jugs, a bridge-spouted cup, the lower part of a stirrup jar, and a conical cup. Below these finds, we uncovered some limestone and schist slabs, which probably means that they came from a stone structure, maybe a bench. At the southern part of this fill, we found four more vessels, mainly cups, as well as some fragments of plaster, burnt wood, and some bones. At the southwest part of the room, an accumulation of four more vessels came to light. Among them were a cooking pot and a shallow angular bowl. The excavation continued mainly across the south and east walls, where we unearthed a great number of finds, including a lid, a tray, a cooking pot, two handle-less conical cups, a milk jug, and a miniature conical cup. The accumulation continued in the northern part of the east wall where we found a tray, two conical cups, a jug, and a quartz crystal. As usual, we also collected many bones and pieces of burnt wood.
[imagebrowser=18] Lastly, two more dense accumulations of artifacts came to light beneath the lower part of the pithos and the northeast part of the room, including an amphoriskos, an incense burner, two handle-less cups, a cooking pot, a shallow bowl, and many sherds coming from a medium-size vessel. We also found bones and carbonized wood.
[imagebrowser=19] The excavation of room 17 had started in 2005. The research up to now was mainly concentrated on the central and western parts of the room, while the eastern part remained unexcavated. This year, the excavation continued in the lower fill of the southwest part of the room. In addition, we removed the upper fill of the eastern part. The single most important find was a pithos, which we uncovered in front of the west doorjamb. At the same level, in the southwest corner of the room, we discovered big sherds that belonged to the rim and the body of another large pithos. At the floor level, we uncovered four vessels: a jug, a beaked jug, and two conical cups. In addition, we found numerous bones and pieces of charcoal.
[imagebrowser=20] We began to excavate the room’s eastern part this year. The upper fill was full of medium and large pieces of limestone and a few schist slabs. Despite the masonry’s bad state of preservation at the southeast corner, it seemed that there was one more opening at the southern part of the east wall. The door is 0.80 centimeters (0.31 inches) wide and blocked by fallen stones. The disruption in this fill was confirmed by the pottery, since we found a lot of sherds from later periods. Among the various finds were numerous bones and pieces of carbonized wood. Lastly, at the lower part of this fill, there were a few more finds: a sherd of a tray, a handle of a cooking pot, a miniature cup, white plaster, and a probable stone tool.
This year, we continued the excavation of passageway 16 at its southern end. We uncovered a great amount of fallen stones, which came from the upper parts of the east wall of room 15. In this fill, we found numerous sherds, bones, and pieces of burnt wood. Also, we discovered two greenish pebbles, a small black stone with reddish inclusions, and two pieces of white plaster. At the lowest level of this fill, we unearthed two handle-less cups and sherds from a large pithos. In addition, we found many pieces of charcoal, three incomplete vessels (a handle-less cup, hemispherical cup, and shallow bowl), a quartz crystal, and a fragment of white plaster.


Passageway 16 after excavation; sherds of large vessels and an inverted conical cup

In order to better understand the area occupied by the Central Building and to complete its ground plan, we conducted a geomagnetic prospection to trace any structures, mainly walls, that remain covered to date.

Orange color indicates the walls identified by the geomagnetic prospection.


  1. Richard NZ

    Hi there, is it possible to get a better quality geomagnetic prospecting map, I can read the Legend, Cheers

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