Agia Paraskevi
of Arachamitai

2006 - 2007






Courtyard Building

South Wing of the Courtyard Building and the Ditch






Report of work conducted in 2013

South Wing of the Courtyard Building and the Ditch

In 2013 the excavation of the south wing of the courtyard, or RB I as we called it last year, continued. Work was conducted on Rooms 2, 5, 6, 9 and 11, of which Rooms 2, 5 and 9 were reopened in order to excavate deeper in some places. The most interesting finds were made in Rooms 2 and 6, although it should be emphasised that the other rooms produced some interesting early finds. Among these were e.g. the first fragments of some Late Archaic Argive terracotta figurines, including that of a horse with pellet eyes, several stemmed drinking cups dating to the sixth until fifth centuries BC, as well as the oldest coins so far found in the excavations, i.e., a silver triobol from Mantinea, dating to 460-450 BC.

Room 2 was re-opened in order to excavate deeper in some points as well as to remove the profile that had been left unexcavated and thus had hindered the conservation of the floor. During this operation we found a square water basin that is 105 cm deep and can be accessed by a staircase consisting of three steps. Water has been led into the basin through a round water pipe, the mouth of which still remained in situ. The fill of the basin contained only a handful of mostly black-glazed pottery sherds. On the bottom of the basin a complete drinking mug, dating to the fourth or third century BC was found.

This square water basin belongs to an early building phase, dating to the late fourth century BC. During this early phase Room 2, Room 5 and the corridor all belonged to one and the same rectangular room with the basin in its centre. The basin was filled up at some stage, probably during the early second century in connection with the building of the round room 1 for bathing. However, the square basin shows that there were bathing facilities already during the first building phase and even at roughly the same spot as the later round bath room was located. There is thus a functional continuity of the bating activity that probably had a ritual connection.

Room 6 in reality was subdivided into two different rooms, Room 6A and Room 6B. Room 6B is a corridor, from where one could reach Room 6A in the west and Room 7 in the east. Room 6A had during the last phase of use a fireplace in the centre of the room and a floor made of stamped soil. The floor was covered by a cultural layer containing several well preserved pots (e.g. a kantharos, an unguentarium, a bowl and a juglet), but also large amounts of cooking ware and 11 coins. The floor level itself contained another 9 coins as well as a small juglet filled with a total of 34 silver coins, of which the majority were hemidrachms minted by poleis belonging to the Achaean League during the second and first half of the first century BC. Below the uppermost floor level followed a second cultural layer and a second, older floor level, the excavation of which due to time restrictions had to be postponed to the following year.

The same large water channel uncovered in the courtyard ran through Room 11 and Room 6A before exiting to the south of the building into a shallow ditch. The water channel had been cut down into an earlier cultural layer dating to the sixth and fifth centuries BC, thus predating the courtyard building. Below the roof tile layer in Room 6B, which partly had been disturbed by later activity, followed a cultural layer and a floor consisting of stamped soil. Furthermost to the south next to the spot where the water channel exited the building a large dump of pottery and very dark soil was found. The dump also included some figurines, a lamp and four coins, of which the latest is minted by Lakedaimonia between 48 and 35 BC.

Contemporary with the courtyard building there was a shallow ditch just to the south of the building running from the east to the west. The ditch itself had been studied by us in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012, but not until last year did we reach the bottom of it, which is located ca. 1.8 m below the modern surface. The ditch, which at the time of the construction of the courtyard building was ca. 1 m deep and had a width of 0.5 (at the bottom) to 1.5 m (in the upper part), had at later stages been filled with debris thrown out of the building. The ditch was in 2013 restudied at two more spots, thereby e.g. producing a second profile of the ditch all the way down to its bottom. Thereby we also uncovered the exit of the water channel to the ditch. The terracotta floor of the channel continues for ca. 1 m to the south of the building, after which follows four flat stones leading into the bottom of the ditch.

The parts of the ditch that we excavated in 2013 contained as also during previous years lots of broken pottery and figurines, mostly dating to the second and first centuries BC. There are fragments of all kinds of vases, among which cooking pots and Megarian bowls are especially numerous. Worthwhile mentioning is also a fragment of a mould for a Hellenistic figurine as well as a triangular stacking wedge that has been used in a pottery kiln. These are the first indications of local production somewhere in the close vicinity of the sanctuary. Interesting is also the fragment of a figurine, that probably depicts Artemis about to take an arrow with her right hand from the quiver on her back.

Courtyard Building