AGIA PARASKEVI OF ARACHAMITAI
Report of work conducted in 2011
Observations on the Rest of the Site
This year we managed in some parts of the excavation to reach strata that pre-date RB I. In the south half of Room 7 we found below the earthen floor of the room another cultural layer full of black-glazed pottery dating to between the mid-sixth and mid-fourth century BC. In this very same layer we also found the oldest coin so far recorded in the excavations, a Megalopolitan coin dating to the late 360s or the 350s BC.
In Room 4 we managed in two restricted areas next to the niche of Room 1 to excavate deeper than the tile mosaic floor level in the niche and the circular room. Of special interest is a closed deposit found on top of another tile mosaic floor at a level below the tile floor of Room 1 and thus apparently connected with an earlier building phase of the rectangular building. This deposit included an articulated kantharos, a one-handled cup, two cups without handles and a lamp, all dating to the third century BC.
While reopening our trench from 2010 in Room 2 we detected an older wall running north to south inside Room 2, parallel with and at a distance of less than 1 m from the wall that divides Room 2 from Room 3. The lowermost floor level inside Room 2, which consists of stamped soil, exists only to the west of this older wall and seems to continue below the wall that divides Room 2 from Room 3. Finds from this floor level date to the late fourth and early third century and include e.g. a silver coin of Alexander the Great minted posthumously between 319 and 305 BC.
On the basis of the finds from Room 2 and Room 4 we can conclude that RB I was built on top of an older building, partly making use of its walls. This building, which was constructed during the second half of the fourth century BC and remained in use well into the third century, seems to have been orientated in the same way as RB I and presumably had a similar function as it. The early finds below Room 7 cannot be connected to any walls and may be part of a dump.
A trench was this year finally also opened outside RB I and more exactly to the south of Room 4. Here we struck the same dark deposit that we had located already in 2007-2008. It is now clear that this dark, find-rich deposit originally was a ditch running from east to west a couple of meters to the south and behind RB I, but which later on purpose was filled with broken pottery, other finds and food remains.
The central court of the CYB was accessed from the west along a ca. 15 m wide passage flanked on both sides by rows of small square rooms. Part of the northern flank of this passage was built on top of RB I. Therefore one of the square rooms along the northern flank of the passage as well as the entrance to the very passage were partly excavated in 2010 and 2011.
It should be noted that although the walls on the sides of the ca. 15 m wide passage seem to belong to the same building as the large courtyard they still are built in a totally different way, being only some 50 cm wide, constructed out of small schist stones on top of the surface without any sort of foundation. Whereas the rooms surrounding the courtyard on the basis of their well-built walls with good foundation well may have been two-storeyed, this is definitely not the case with the rooms flanking the passage. Possibly this passageway may even have been a later addition to the CYB that originally perhaps had a square form.