AGIA PARASKEVI OF ARACHAMITAI
Report of work conducted in 2011
In 2011 our work was concentrated on the central parts of the Late Hellenistic building with one trench extending to the south outside of it. The main aim was still to gain a better understanding of the function of this building, but also of the early stages of cult activity at the site. The preliminary results of the work in 2011 are as follows.
The Late Hellenistic Building
Ca. 80 m2 of RB I was excavated, in addition to which also parts of last year’s excavation trenches were re-opened for further work. Finally we traced the walls of the building further towards the east. Even though we did not succeed in finding the eastern end of RB I, we now know that it is ca. 45x11 m in size, i.e., larger than what we first believed. Most of the rooms seem to be arranged in two rows divided by a longitudinal wall running in east to west direction. However, at the western short end there is a rectangular room with the inner size of ca. 9x5.5 m (Room 3), which stretches across RB I from the southern long wall until the northern long wall.
This year we continued work in Room 1-3, in addition to which we excavated Room 4 and Room 7 in their entirety. Room 1 and Room 4 are connected with bathing activities. Room 1 is circular in shape (with an inner diameter of ca. 5 m) and has a tile mosaic floor. Water has been drained out from the room by a water pipe line towards the west, through Room 3. In the eastern part of the circular room there is a niche, ca. 2.1x0.6-0.65 m large, which also has a tile mosaic floor. The niche protrudes slightly into the circular room but is clearly separated from it by a terracotta curb. In Room 4 a furnace was uncovered with the shape of a tunnel abruptly ending not far from the niche in what must have been the foundation of the chimney-shaft.
Certain parallels can be found between our Room 1 and Room G in Arcadian Gortys regarding the type of tile mosaic floor and drainage. Room 1 does on the other hand differ from the bath of Gortys by not having any heating canals below the floor. The best parallel for the furnace in Room 4 can be found in Olympia in the bath to the south of the gymnasium, where the main purpose of the furnace was to heat water in a bronze boiler.
Room 2, which is rectangular and measures ca. 4.8x6.2 m, was accessed from the east. From Room 2 one not only entered the circular room, but also stoked the furnace. Room 6, into whose southwest part a small test pit had been sunk already in 2007, was now excavated in its entirety. The inner dimensions of the room, which was entered through a door from the west, are ca. 3.2x5 m. Most of this room, as well as all the other rooms so far excavated were covered with a layer consisting of the collapsed roof tiles.
RB I was constructed during the first half of the second century and destroyed during the last decades BC. On the basis of the pottery (cooking vessels, drinking cups, plates, amphorae, craters etc.) it was used at least for preparing of food and communal meals/drinking. Several lamps have also been recorded and occasionally loom-weights, especially in Room 7. No clear sign of cult activity has been noted inside the building, although stamps on the roof tiles and a large amount of broken figurines and miniature vessels indicate that it was connected to a sanctuary.