A Cypro-Archaic Public Building at Polis Chrysochou, 2006-2007: Interim Report

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A Cypro-Archaic Public Building at Polis Chrysochou, 2006-2007: Interim Report
  INTRODUCTION In July 2006 the exploration of the largebuilding at the locality Peristeries at PolisChrysochou (ancient Marion/Arsinoe) wasresumed under the auspices of Princeton Univer-sity Archaeological Expedition (see Fig. 14). 1 The scope of this investigation was to understandbetter the layout and plan of the architecturalremains of this largely dismantled structure. Theexcavation provided positive evidence regardingthe arrangement of the rooms of this buildingaround a well-defined courtyard. The remains of two or possibly three more spaces (Rooms 10-11)were discovered to the south of the existingremains. 2 The stratigraphy of the newly excavat-ed areas does not present any differentiation fromthe image of dismantling and fragmentation, bothancient and modern, previously documentedthroughout the building during the 1999-2003excavations. 3 No new evidence came to light cor-roborating or disproving the author’s hypothesisthat this building functioned as a local adminis-trative centre or “palace”. 4 Nevertheless, theexcavation in 2006 affirmed once more the sub-stantial size of this building, whose srcinalextent and overall layout still remain unknown.This article presents an overview of the results of the excavation in 2006 and their significance vis-à-vis the remains brought to light in 1999-2003.Moreover, the progress of conservation of findsin Summer 2007 makes possible a preliminaryassessment of the large amount of pottery dis-covered inside the cistern in the south side of Room 8 (see Figs 1, 2). THE RESULTS OF THE EXCAVATION IN 2006 The 2006 excavation concentrated in threeareas, which are presented here from north tosouth (Figs 1, 2). In the area north of Room 8, asmall trench brought to light a rectangular baseof local limestone which was found in place (Fig. 3, Trench B.F8.c20). This base was careful-ly positioned on a layer of loose rubble thatseems to have belonged to a preexisting wall, thesouth part of which was discovered in 2003. Thebase is a roughly rectangular block with a very ACypro-Archaic Public Building at Polis Chrysochou, 2006-2007: Interim Report *  Nassos Papalexandrou ( University of Texas at Austin ) ____________ * I would like to thank Professor William Childs for his con-tinuing support and encouragement for this project. Dr Pav-los Flourentzos, Director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, and Eustathios Raptou, Archaeological Officer of thePafos District Museum, kindly renewed permission to work on the site. I also acknowledge the contributions of NancyCorbin (registrar of the Princeton Excavations), and of DrsNancy Serwint, Michael Padgett, and Amy Papalexandrou.Alexandros Koupparis and Kleanthis Moustakas lent theirunsurpassable energy and technical expertise to the 2006investigation. The architectural drawings were produced byKelley Des Roches, with the assistance of Krista Ziemba andElise Chassé. Conservators Gwen Petit and Julie Percheronundertook the arduous task of restoring and preserving thepottery. Archaeologist Tracy Hensley worked as trench super-visor. Gloria Lee graciously lent her expertise on the produc-tion of drawings. I thank them all. My research on this reportwas generously supported by the College of Fine Arts at theUniversity of Texas at Austin. 1.The results of the 1997-2003 excavations are reported inPapalexandrou 2006, 223-37.2.The 2006 season included the following trenches (north-south on the Princeton excavation grid): B.F8:c20, B.F9:eo3,B.F9:fo5, B.F9:fo7. 3.Papalexandrou 2006, 232.4.Papalexandrou 2006, 234-37.  carefully carved rectangular cutting on top forthe insertion of a stone object, perhaps a stele oran architectural member. The latter function issuggested by the fact that this base is alignedwith an identical one which was discovered inplace 3.50m. further south (Figs 1, 2, 4). 5 Bothbases define a line that runs parallel to the foun-dation of a NS wall two metres to the west; it istherefore possible that their architectural functionwas somehow related to the function of this wall.The foundation of this base was associated witha layer that gave mostly CAII pottery amongwhich are noted two entirely preserved bowls. 6 Further south the excavation explored thearea between Rooms 3 and 8 (Figs 1, 2, 4, TrenchB.F9.eo3). In 2003 immediately southeast of Room 8 the lowest courses of the fieldstonefoundation of a massive EWwall (Fig. 2: Wall 1)had come to light running at a right angle to theeast wall of Room 8. In 2006 the excavationproved that this massive foundation belonged toa cross-wall the east end of which abutted thewest wall of Rooms 2 and 3 (Fig. 2: Wall 2). Itthus turns out that the spaces of Rooms 1-7 (east)and Rooms 8 and 12 (west) belonged to a well-integrated plan, the details of which will be pre-sented below. The masonry of this foundationconsists of compactly built fieldstones. Thesewere laid in three layers with the lowest oneplaced directly on the natural bedrock. This foun-dation was found largely disturbed by the removalof building materials such as ashlar or roughlysquared limestones that formed the base of amudbrick superstructure. On the south side of thiswall the foundation was found destroyed downtothe level of the bedrock. Here the lowest courseof fieldstones was founded inside a trench carvedin the natural bedrock. The edge of this trench isset 0.15m. from the outer edge of the foundation.It is possible that the same configuration existedon the north side of this wall but this still remainsunexcavated. The lack of any significant struc-ture to the north of this wall along with the lay-out of the plan of the building to the south of itsuggest that this wall defined an enclosed court-yard (Fig. 2: “inner courtyard”) which is dis-cussed below. In the same area the excavation revealed arelatively well preserved section of the founda-tion (W: 1.78m.) of the west wall of Rooms 2 and3 (Fig. 2: Wall 2, Fig. 5). It consists mainly of fieldstones but the masonry also contained tworows of roughly squared limestone blocks. Thesewere set side by side and they are set so as to con-tinue under the concrete pavement of Room 2.The same features were documented in the samewall further south, in the sections adjacent to thenewly discovered Room 10. They seem to havebeen set at regular intervals but the exact reasonsfor this configuration are unknown. They couldbe “leveling” devices for the courses of mudbrick above them; or they could well have functionedas the solid substructure of ashlar blocks srci-nally superimposed on them. East of Wall 2 the 2006 excavation brought tolight the full extent of the concrete pavement of Room 2 (Figs 2 and 6). The north part of thispavement was destroyed by the modern pit thatdestroyed a major part of the remains in Room 3. 7 The consistency of the concrete is the same aselsewhere in this building but its quality is inferi-or to that of Rooms 3 and 8.Finally, new architectural finds occurred inthe south area of the excavated site (Fig. 2:Rooms 10 and 11, Fig. 7, Trenches B.F 9.fo5 andB.F9.fo7). 8 The goal here was to find evidence NASSOSPAPALEXANDROU 252 ____________5.Dimensions of north base: L: 0.88m., W: 0.48m., maxH: 0.22m. The rectangular cutting is 0.04m. deep. Dimen-sions of south base: L: 1.08m., W: 0.48m., max H: 0.27m.The rectangular cutting is 0.04m. deep. 6.Black-on-Red medium deep-sized bowl (Princeton excava-tions R49690/PO 1915) and Red Slip deep bowl (Princetonexcavations R 49700/PO 1916). 7.This concrete pit is related to the UNFICYPoccupation of thesite in the early sixties. See Papalexandrou 2006, 228.8.This area was destroyed by illegal construction that occurredin the spring of 1998. The claw marks of the bulldozer werestill visible on the surface of the concrete floors and the fewashlar blocks that were discovered in place. Numerous ashlarblocks that belonged to the outside of the east wall of thebuilding (e.g. those to the east of Rooms 10 and 11) were dis-lodged and destroyed during this destruction. An ashlar still in situ on the wall between Rooms 10 and 11 preserves visi-ble claw marks on its surface. This situation is similar to that  about the extent of the building to the south andthe nature of its layout. This probe brought tolight two or possibly three more rooms with con-crete pavements. One roughly square room (Fig.2: Room 10, Fig. 7) measuring 3.20m.  3m. wasfound immediately to the south of Room 1. Thenorth and south walls of this room have been dis-mantled down to the level of the fieldstone foun-dation whereas the east wall of the building atthis point does not preserve any of the ashlarmasonry of its outer lining, which is well pre-served further north. The west wall of this roomfeatures two rows of roughly square limestoneblocks similar to those noted above west of Rooms 1 and 2 (Fig. 7). Further south the exca-vation revealed the severely damaged remains of a concrete floor that belonged to either one ortwo more rooms. Immediately to the south of Room 10 the fragmentary remains of one or pos-sibly two rooms (Fig. 2: Room 11) are boundedon the east side by the east wall of the building,which at this point slightly turns to the southwestfollowing the contours of the Peristeries plateau(Fig. 14). The south side of this room is stillunexplored but it is very probable that this wasthe southernmost room in the north-southsequence of rooms along the east side of thebuilding. This is corroborated by the fact that tothe west of this room the excavation brought tolight part of a concrete floor of good quality thatbelonged either to Room 11 or to a separateroom. These were part of an EWsequence of rooms along the south side of the inner courtyardof the building. The north wall of this room wasalso found preserved at foundation level (Fig. 2:Wall 3). Its substantial size is comparable to thatof the west wall of Rooms 1-3, and 10 (Fig. 2:Wall 2) to which it is placed at a right angle. Thediscovery of this feature is important. This wallcorroborates the hypothesis that the plan of thisbuilding involved at least one rectangular court-yard surrounded by rooms on three sides. Thiscourtyard measured 10m.  15m. and was sur-rounded to the east by Rooms 1-2, and 10, to thesouth by Room 11, whereas on the west side theexcavation brought to light the remains of a NSwall and at least one concrete-paved room(Room 12), the largest part of which lies under-neath the parking lot of the newly constructedElementary School of Polis (Fig. 14). On thenorth side of the courtyard, there are not anystructural remains associated with Wall 1. Thisindicates that the massive cross wall whichbounded the courtyard on the north side (Wall 1)was not a supporting wall but a barrier separatingan inner from an outside courtyard. On the westside this outer courtyard would have been acces-sible from Room 8 and the structures to the northof it. On the east side it would have been accessi-ble from Rooms 3-7.One has to surmise a gate oran opening through this cross wall, if these twocourtyards were meant to communicate witheach other. The substantial ashlar block reportedin  RDAC  2006, 231 (L: 1.37m., W: 0.55m., H: 0.40m.) could have been srcinally part of thispresumed gate (e.g. threshold). THE POTTERYDEPOSITIN THE CISTERN OF ROOM 8 All of the pottery recovered in 2003 from thecistern at the south end of Room 8 was fragmen-tary. 9 Several damaged pots or parts of pots of various sizes and types were found thrown insidethe cistern while the building was still in usageand the cistern had already ceased to function asa container of water (this function is recom-mended by the lining of the walls of the cisternwith good quality hydraulic mortar and the pres-ence of put-log holes). The types, number, andquality of the pots inside the cistern may all beaccidental; they are, nevertheless, indicative of the function of the building as a residence. Thoseof them that are datable indicate a date in the later ACYPRO-ARCHAICPUBLICBUILDINGATPOLISCHRYSOCHOU,2006-2007:INTERIMREPORT 253 ____________recorded elsewhere in the building. See Papalexandrou 2006,228. Equally evident were the remnants of the dislocation andfragmentation of numerous ashlar blocks that occurred inantiquity. 9.The discovery of the cistern is reported in Papalexandrou2006, 228. The cistern is visible in Papalexandrou 2006, 229,fig. 6.  part of the CAII period. In addition to numeroussherds the cistern contained the following: 10 Medium and large size storage vessels 1.Bichrome Red I (IV) amphora (R 46632/PO1586). 11 Only the neck with rim, handles and partsof the shoulder survive. Fabric rather coarse, brown-greyish with numerous inclusions. Remnants of athick slip inside. 2.Bichrome Vamphora ((R 50546/ PO 2021, pre-served H: 0.16m.). Only the neck survives, made upfrom several fragments. Acheckerboard motif intwo rows dominates the upper part of the neck. 12 Alternate thin black and wider red bands immedi-ately below. Buff clay with white and dark inclu-sions (Fig. 8). 3.Plain white amphora or pithos (R 50609/ PO 2039,H. of neck: 0.18m.). Two fragments preserve theneck and rim of the vessel and forty-two more a largepart of the shoulder and the belly. Thick rolled outrim. Pinkish-brown fabric, very coarse, with manysmall white inclusions. White-greenish slip outsideand inside. Aridge at the base of the neck (Fig. 9).4.Plain white amphora or pithos partially preserved innumerous fragments (R 50610/PO 2040, H. of neck:0.13m). One fragment preserves neck and rim andeighteen sherds belong to the shoulder and the belly.Fabric grey-greenish, coarse, with numerous dark and some white inclusions. An angular ridge at thebase of the neck (Fig. 10).5.The base and several fragments from the lower bodyof a large vessel (R 50651/PO 2061). Flat base, witha central hole. All fragments are covered by a thick layer of lime encrustation. 6.Alarge part of the belly and the lower part of aBichrome Vbelly-handled amphora (R 50547/PO2022). The pairs of hanging leaves between parallelhorizontal bands on the belly finds numerous com-paranda in the Archaic cemeteries of Marion (Fig.11). 13 7.More than four hundred sherds belonging to a large,heavy pithos, which still awaits restoration (R50658/PO 2068). Fabric brown-purple, very coarse,with numerous inclusions. Torus-shaped rim. In addition to these the cistern yielded the fol-lowing transport amphorae: 1.Plain White Type V-VI amphora with vertical han-dles (R 50599/PO 2030 and R50600/PO 2031). 14 With the exception of a few missing pieces, theamphora is entirely preserved. Made up fromnumerous fragments. The fabric is deep red and finewith a good number of calcareous inclusions. Yel-lowish-buff slip on the outside. Several fragments of the belly preserve mending holes (Fig. 12). 2.Type Vamphora with vertical handles (R 50601/PO2032). Preserved are one handle and fragments of the pointed base. The reconstruction of profile hasnot been possible. The fabric is fine and distinctlyyellow. 3.Plain White Type Vamphora with knobbed base. (R50652/PO 2062, preserved H.: 0.16m.) Only theneck with handles and upper part of shoulder sur-vive. Rim rolled out, strap handles, and very lowvertical ridge between the upper ends of handles.Fabric is pink with numerous black and white inclu-sions. Outside a thick beige, creamy slip whichverges on the pinkish on one side. The type is repre-sented in a specimen from a funereal assemblagefrom Marion. 15 4.Chian white-slipped amphora (R 46185/PO 1580,  RDAC  2006, 233, fig. 12). Made up from numerousfragments (H: 0.70m). Most of the neck has beenmade up from several fragments but it cannot be joined to the body. Fabric pinkish-to-light brownwith numerous dark inclusions and mica. The typebelongs to the late 6 th century B.C. 16NASSOSPAPALEXANDROU 254 ____________10.This is a preliminary presentation. The finds are going to befully published in a monographic publication of the Perister-ies find. 11.See Papalexandrou 2006, 234, fig. 13. For a parallel from theMarion cemeteries, see Gjerstad 1948, fig. XLII, amphora 2a.See also Gjerstad 1935, 200, no. 11 (Tomb 6B), pl. XXXVII. 12.The checkerboard motif is rare in Cypriot pottery of theArchaic period. For comparanda see Karageorghis and DesGagniers 1974, 124 (on the neck of Bichrome IVamphora),and 134 (on the shoulder of a Bichrome Vjug). It is unparal-leled in the ceramic series from Marion. 13.See, for example, Gjerstad 1935, 449, no. 11 from Tomb 96,pl. LXXXVI. 14.The restoration of this amphora is still incomplete. For com-paranda and the type see Gjerstad 1937, 237, no. 266 (pl.LXXXI: 7) from Room 92 at Vouni, and Gjerstad 1948, figs LVII and LXII. On Cypriot transport amphorae seeJacobsen 2002.15.Nicolaou 1964, 159, no. 1 from Tomb 127 (plate XII: 12).Note that the tomb was discovered in the immediate vicinityof Peristeries . 16.Cook and Dupont 2003, 147, fig. 23.1, type (h). For similaramphorae from the Marion necropolis see Gjerstad 1935,399, nos 22 and 26 (Tomb 73, dated by Gjerstad “after themiddle of CAII”), pl. CXL. See also comments in Hadjicosti1993, 185.  5.Clazomenian amphora with knobbed base (R46631/PO 1585). 17 Reconstructed from numerousfragments (Max. H: 0.57m.). Decorated with redbands around the shoulder and above the point. Theneck is not preserved. It was broken off already inantiquity, thus rendering the pot unusable. Only oneof the two strap handles survives (H.: 0.13m.). Theamphora belongs to a type current in the third quar-ter of the 6 th century B.C. (Fig. 13). 18 6.As yet unspecified transport amphora with knobbedbase (R 50608/PO 2038). 19 Several joining frag-ments are preserved, including the neck, parts of thehandles, and many from the main body. The fabric israther course, brown-red, with numerous inclusionsand miniscule mica. Abrown red slip near theknobbed base, a whitish slip on the upper part of theamphora. In addition to these vessels the cistern yield-ed large fragments of three smaller amphorae of eastern Aegean srcin. Fragments of similar potsand other Aegean wares were found throughoutthe excavated area. 20 The accidental nature of the cistern depositallows only a tentative assessment of the natureof the building as a residence well-equipped forthe storage and consumption of goods. The exactlocation of the cistern in Room 8, close to an areacontrolling communication between an inner andan outside courtyard indicates that the excavationhas so far revealed what could well be a servicewing of a much larger complex, the major part of which lies buried underneath the newly con-structed parking lot of the Elementary school of Polis Chrysochou (Fig. 14). The large amount of imported pots is indica-tive of the network of interconnections that char-acterized the social and economic life of theusers or inhabitants of the large building. Theirdiscovery in a settlement is noteworthy becauseit documents types of pottery usually attested infunereal assemblages such as those of Marion. ACYPRO-ARCHAICPUBLICBUILDINGATPOLISCHRYSOCHOU,2006-2007:INTERIMREPORT 255 ____________17.On Clazomenian amphorae see Cook and Dupont 2003, 151-56.18.Cook and Dupont 2003, 153, fig. 23.3, Type Ac (third quar-ter of the 6 th century). This type of amphora is rare in Cyprus.See Gjerstad 1977a, 37, no. 199, pl. XXIII: 2, of CAII date.See also Karageorghis 1977, 62, no. 11, pl. II: 6, from Kition(also Karageorghis 1981, pl. XVI: 9). 19.The restoration of the amphora is still incomplete. 20.Papalexandrou 2006, 233 and 234, fig. 14. The fragments of the three fragmentary East Aegean amphorae from the cisternin Room 8 will be published by Dr Michael Padgett alongwith the rest of the fine wares from the Princeton Excavationsin Polis. These are: 1) R 46281/PO 1543: the fragmentaryneck (rim not preserved) with the triple handles of a smallamphora and part of the shoulder; black shiny slip on theneck; vertical strokes and wavy lines on the shoulder, 2) R46153/PO 1578: the entirely preserved neck of a smallamphora; black shiny slip, handles broken off, rudimentaryvolutes preserved at the joint of handles and neck, and 3) R46084/PO 1575: a large part of the belly of a fine-wareamphora with decoration of four parallel bands around thewidest part of the belly. For the Attic wares discovered by thePrinceton University excavations at Polis, see Padgett forth-coming.
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