Agia Paraskevi
of Arachamitai

2006 - 2007































Preliminary report for 2006 - 2007

The work at Agia Paraskevi of Arachamitai was begun in 2006 with the aim of clarifying whether the column drums allegedly found in the early 1930s at the site could belong to an ancient temple.

A geophysical prospection was carried out on the site, followed up by small trial trenches (A to C) in order to clarify the date and function of the structures detected. The magnetometer revealed at least two monumental buildings at the site, one of them being rectangular in shape (ca. 30 x 11 m), the other one square (ca. 65x65 m) with a large central courtyard. As a result of the trial trenches the rectangular building might be reconstructed as a stoa, opening towards the north and having a series of square rooms along its southern back side. The shape of the stoa could indicate a Hellenistic date. The most recent piece of evidence found below the collapsed roof, which thereby offers a terminus post quem for the destruction of the building, is a Lakedaimonian coin dating to the second quarter of the first century BC.

South of the rectangular building we struck a shallow pit filled with dark soil, large quantities of pottery and other small finds. The pottery includes large quantities of mould-made bowl fragments, both imbricate and floral bowls that date to ca. 225 to 150 BC, but also some long petal bowls that date to ca. 150 to 80 BC. There are also miniature vessels, cooking pots, amphorae, jugs and some lamps as well as a handful of female figurines of the second century BC. At the southernmost end of trench A we found a water channel made of terracotta and next to it black-glazed pottery of the late fifth through mid-third century BC, as well as a piece of the bronze foot of a hydria dating to the second half of the sixth century BC.

The composition of the finds in the pit could be interpreted as the remains of ritual dining, common in sanctuaries. The lack of male figurines seems to point towards a female deity. Two tile stamps, one beginning with ΑΡΤΕΜ… and the other one with ΔΕΣΠ…, could possibly indicate the existence of a cult to e.g. Artemis Despoina, although this needs to be proven by further research. Further work is also needed in order to explain the date and function of the larger, ca. 65 x 65 m structure at the site.