Deux Cyclades : Kéos et Kythnos : International Symposium : Kea and Kythnos. Historical and Archaeological Research — Kea - Kythnos. 22-25 June 1994. ; n°2 ; vol.20, pg 305-318


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Dialogues d'histoire ancienne - Année 1994 - Volume 20 - Numéro 2 - Pages 305-318
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Madame Miriam Caskey
Deux Cyclades : Kéos et Kythnos : International Symposium :
Kea and Kythnos. Historical and Archaeological Research —
Kea - Kythnos. 22-25 June 1994.
In: Dialogues d'histoire ancienne. Vol. 20 N°2, 1994. pp. 305-318.
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
Caskey Miriam. Deux Cyclades : Kéos et Kythnos : International Symposium : Kea and Kythnos. Historical and Archaeological
Research — Kea - Kythnos. 22-25 June 1994. In: Dialogues d'histoire ancienne. Vol. 20 N°2, 1994. pp. 305-318. d'Histoire Ancienne 20.2, 1994, 305-318
[Miriam Caskey a bien voulu nous donner très rapidement une
recension du colloque de Kéos-Kythnos. C'est une occasion pour nous de
saluer cette grande dame de l'archéologie qui a tant fait, avec J.L. Caskey,
pour la découverte et l'exégèse des merveilles cycladiques.
La rédaction]
An international symposion on the archaeology, history, and
civilisation of the Cycladic islands Kea and Kythnos was held in
these islands 22-25 June, 19941. it was organised by the Centre for
Greek and Roman Antiquity (K.E.R.A.) and the department of
History of the Ionian University. Members of the organising committ
ee were Professor M.B. Hatzopoulos (K.E.R.A.), Professor Stavros
Perentidis (Ionian University), Dr. Lina Mendoni (K.E.R.A.), and
Dr. A. Mazarakis-Ainian (Ionian University). The warm hospital
ity of the islanders set the tone.
The symposion was opened by Professor P. Levêque. Topics
covered a wide range from Prehistoric to Roman and later times.
1. International Symposium : Kea and Kythnos. Historical and
Archaeological Research — Kea - Kythnos. 22-25 June, 1994. 306 Miriam Caskey
Some were of a specific, some of a more general nature. The main
themes of the symposion were the prehistoric site of Ayia Irini, the
Aegean and Trade, New Geological Studies and their Archaeologic
al and Historical Implications, the Land and its Use, Metallurgy,
Karthaia and Kean Sculpture, Kean History, Literature, and
Kythnos through time.
For the opening session the site at Ayia Irini was the focus.
The question of the beginnings of "urbanisation" was raised in a
paper by E. Schofield, "Town Planning at Ayia Irini". This touches
on the focus of another symposion on "Early Helladic Architecture
and Urbanisation" held at the Swedish Institute in Athens in 1985
(Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology Vol. LXXVI). Goteborg 1986,
with much useful bibliography. Much has been said and written on
unbanisation in the ancient world and there are still very different
interpretations of the evidence as far as planning is concerned.
Schofield based her argument for town at Ayia Irini on the
existence of a complex drainage system, and, in particular, access to
a water supply going back to EBA II times. The question is whether
simple access to available water can be said to indicate town
planning. Architectural evidence for the EBA consists of a few rooms
along the western slope of the underlying ridge of the site. Her
arguments find more support in the Late Bronze Age (especially
Period VII about the layout of which much more is known), when we
have carefully constructed drains beneath most alleyways and
streets, and a terraced approach to the water supply at the
northwest edge of the site. Perhaps too there was some degree of
centralised planning during the Middle Bronze Age (Period IV) with
the building of the first fortification wall and one or more buildings
aligned with it along a road by its inner face. The difficulty here is
that we have little evidence for the layout of the site at this time,
and building remains are spotty. Schofield would agree with those
who see a "complex drainage system" as evidence for "planned
communal effort". Here we may note that while an "urban" effort of
some sort might be required to construct the drains, they have to
follow existing lines of alleyways and streets, unless we assume that
the drains were laid out first as part of a package in a real town
plan. There is no evidence that the drains preceded the alleyways
at Ayia Irini, and we cannot tell if it was a "communal effort" or one
dictated by central power. Modern connotations of the term "urban
DHA 20.2, 1994 Deux Cyclades : Keos et Kythnos 307
planning" indeed tend to colour our interpretation of the evidence.
Who is doing the "planning" ? It is perhaps pertinent to ask where
is the "urban plan" of the village of Chora (Ioulis) in Kea today ?
Here is a complicated system of drains, but there is no evidence that
this town was ever planned as a whole in Hippodamean or other
fashion. Rather, it grew around the cirque opposite the ancient
citadel ; drains were constructed where needed.
The Aegean sea came into its own with discussions on trade,
anchorages and possible routes between ports of call. Considerable
attention was given to the archaeological remains of harbour works
and their interpretation, and to our conceptions of trade in
prehistoric times. In an interesting paper on a large Late Cycladic I
painted jar from Ayia Irini (Kea Mus. 4331) decorated with griffins,
M. Marthari concluded that the jar was Theran and that there is
much ceramic evidence at Ayia Irini to reinforce the supposition of
commercial ties between the two islands at that time, within the
framework of the so-called "Western String" (E. Schofield, "The
Western Cyclades and Crete : a Special Relationship," Oxford
Journal of Archaeology 1, 1982, 9-25). Contact with Aigina was
demonstrated in a paper by C. Hershenson through the analysis of
the LH III Sparse Matt-painted Ware, long suspected to have been
Aiginetan. Another important paper was by C. Morris and R. Jones on
the origin of LBA III imported pottery at Ayia Irini and the nature
and range of Mycenaean contacts with that site. The old question as
to what evidence is needed to call a site "Mycenaean" in terms of
occupation was raised by M. Hatzopoulos, and in a paper by
A.L. Schallin. The excavator J.L. Caskey and the Ayia Irini staff
have always rejected the hypothesis of actual colonisation at Ayia
Irini by mainland Mycenaeans or, earlier, by Minoan Crete.
H.G. Georgiou's paper on "The Role of Maritime Contacts in
the Urban Development of the Prehistoric Cyclades" gave rise to
considerable discussion with ideas that were referred to a number of
times during the course of the symposion. A sailor herself, she stres
sed the importance of sea approaches in choice (location) of site and
the necessity of considering wind, currents, geography and naval
technology when discussing trade. While not disputing "ultimate
destinations", she rejects the idea that we can, with our present
knowledge, speak of pre-determined trade routes based simply on
DHA 20.2, 1994 308 Miriam Caskey
similar artifact assemblages at different sites. At this stage, we
cannot say how goods got from one place to another. She therefore
rejects the idea of a "Western String" as misleading, noting as well
that Thera is not in the western Cyclades, but south central. She
was asked what should be proposed in place of the "Western String"
theory. She stressed that while we cannot provide another theory
at present, the theory should be rejected as it gives a pattern to our
thinking that limits our approach while not offering anything
sound. Additional sites may fill in the picture. Marthari found no
objection to accepting the idea of a "WS network" along with any
other trade routes.
There appear to be two distinct camps with opposing views on
this matter. It is therefore particularly valuable to have a seaman's
view of nautical communication. The Aegean is after all a watery
place : wind, weather and current are not lightly to be ignored.
The Aegean ground swell continued to make itself felt in two
important geological contributions by Nikos Mourtzas and Eleni
Kolaïtou, as well as in a number of other papers. Geological explora
tion around the seaward end of Ayia Irini by N. has shown
that the change in the sea level that ultimately submerged some of
the site took place in two stages, sea level during the floruit of the
settlement having been some 3. 60 to 4. 00m. lower than it is today.
This degree of change agrees with the evidence derived from the
excavation of the Spring Chamber at the west side of the site of
Ayia Irini (Hesperia XL, 4, 1971, 365-367). As for the dates of these
two changes, the first appears to have been an early Hellenistic
phenomenon. L. Mendoni suggested that a date for the second change
is provided by an inscription datable to the years of the co-rule of
Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, that is between 166 and 169 A. C.
It honours a certain Karthaian for repairing the "пара то Ài|ievi
xS)|ia" for which he utilised stones from the construction that had
been knocked down. The word "yjù\ia" refers to the breakwater
(G. Reger). Clearly efforts were made to continue using the
Karthaia harbour following substantial damage to the harbour
works. As for Ayia Irini, the abandonment of the settlement late in
the late Bronze Age can no longer be associated with a rise in sea
level. There is moreover evidence of activity around the site in
Roman times, and a wall along the east side of the little peninsula
DHA 20.2, 1994 Deux Су eludes : Keos et Kythnos 309
may have been built as a retaining wall against encroachment by
the sea. Some walls visible under water now may belong to harbour
works of this period.
At a number of places around the island, the same change in
sea level has been observed. At Spathi in the northeast, a submer
ged quarry was examined by E. Kolai'ti and N. Mourtzas. Such
submerged coastal quarries exist at various spots; a coastal quarry
was clearly to be preferred as it resolved problems of transportation.
During the course of discussion about Karthaia, the subject of choice
between locally available stone and imported stone was raised by
E. Bournia. Grey limestone was available in the immediate neigh
bourhood and was used for the temple of Apollo ; poros (noup i ) was
brought from Aigina for the of Athena. A. Papanikolaou
pointed out that Kea had a limited supply of grey limestone
(cipolini), and that poros was 2/3 the weight of marble, and there
fore easier to transport. He suggested that it may been the fashion to
use the Aiginetan poros at that time since it is found as well in the
temples at Koresia and Kephala, datable also around 500 В. С
N. Faraklas observed that cost efficiency will have been a major
déterminent in choosing the source of stone.
L. Mendoni noted the existence of a quarry at Halara on the
north coast of the island, the stone from which has been identified
by E. Kolai'ti as similar to that used in the buildings of Karthaia.
The little island at Halara was a factor in the construction of
harbour installations here just as was the island at Karthaia.
Another submerged harbour installation lies in the Otzias bay
near Ayios Sozon, and has been investigated by I. Spondylis. It is а П
- shaped structure datable probably to the late classical or early
Hellenistic period. Although it has been suggested that Otzias was
the harbour of Ioulis, the evidence shows that here there was a
quick loading /unloading facility, entirely dependent on weather,
rather than any permanent anchorage, Otzias bay being poorly
protected. E. Photou-Jones suggested a connection with the miltos
mines at Tripospylies in the hillside east of Otzias. H. Georgiou
noted also the likelihood that some amphoras, found nearby and
quite likely stockpiled for transport, held wine for which Otzias
had always a reputation. Thus the installation will have been
primarily for the shipping of products of the immediate Otzias
area. The same principle may have pertained to any number of
smaller bays and inlets, many of which, especially along the east
coast, have nearby metal ore deposits. Of interest also is in which
DHA 20.2, 1994 310 Miriam Caskey
polis territory these are located. As noted by E. Photou-Jones, three
of the four cities (the territory of Poieessa has no deposits of miltos)
are known to have had an agreement to ship miltos only to Athens.
Tripospylies is in the Ioulis territory, Orkos which also has miltos,
lies in Karthaia territory. Other harbour installations should be
sought in some of these places so as to better understand the pattern
of shipping from the island (E. Photou-Jones).
KEA, the LAND and its USE
Two distinct characteristics of Kea are the numerous towers
that dot the landscape, and the almost total terracing of the
hillsides. Two papers were devoted to these topics by L. Mendoni,
and P. Doukellis respectively. In the past the towers have been
interpreted as a single phenomenon. Research by L. Mendoni revea
led some 75 towers. Their functions were various, some belonging to
private farm holdings, others being public buildings connected with
city fortification or other special needs of state such as watch
towers. Nearly all are placed for extraordinarily good visibility
both within and outside the island. Indeed most will have served
more than a single need. To comprehend them they must be conside
red singly against their specific environment.
A report on the ancient terracing of the hillsides by
P. Doukellis is a very important contribution to our understanding of
land use in classical times. The extent of terracing is striking even
today, comprising as it does over 90% of the total surface. Impress
ive also is the vast labour that will have been needed to form these
terraces ; so also the technical skills, and knowledge of topography
and hydrography. The chronology for this modelling of the land is
elusive as (except for Delos) there are neither literary nor epigra-
phical references. Archaeological methods provide some answers in
Keos if the terraces are connected with other datable evidence such
as agricultural establishments or towers. Repaired and renewed
throughout the island, they provide additional evidence for agra
rian resources and social systems in ancient Kea. Late agronomic
texts and even some modern treatises, are of help in understanding
the technical parameters of this sort of operation. The hillsides
were worked without the introduction of fill, although there is
evidence for that practice in parts of Italy. Here it was evidently
not necessary.
DHA 20.2, 1994 Cyclades : Keos et Kythnos 311 Deux
The geological background with special reference to galena
and crystalline schist deposits in Kea was provided by E. Davi. An
earlier erroneous assumption that Kea has no lead (N. Gale-
Z. Stoss-Gale-J.L. Davis, "The Provenance of Lead used at Ayia
Irini Keos/' Hesperia 53, 1984, 389-406, see p. 390, n. 2), has been
corrected (cf. Bibliography in Konstantinos Manthos, Archaiologia
kai Historia tes Nesou Keas, ed. L.G. Mendoni, Vourkariani 1991,
p. 107-108, n. 90). New research is underway to probe the signifi
cance and extent of use, throughout prehistoric and historical times,
of the known galena (lead, silver), copper and iron deposits in the
island (E. Photou-Jones, L. Mendoni, N. Beloyannis, S. Chlouveraki ;
A. Papastamataki discussed the copper slag heap at Ayios Simeon ;
N. Gale reported on isotope analyses). Research is likewise being
conducted on metal deposits in others of the Cyclades, including
Kythnos and Seriphos (Z. Stoss-Gale). A report on some of this work
in Kea by E. Photou-Jones, L.G. Mendoni, N. Beloyannis, and
S. Chlouveraki. , was presented by E. Photou-Jones. The wealth and
prosperity of Kea in the archaic and classical periods, rather than
depending largely on its function as a port of call along important
trade routes (a theory which has been suggested also for prehistoric
times) were derived much from its mineral wealth which was
spread evently across the territories of the four city-states. Epigra-
phical evidence suggests that the main "export" commodity was
perhaps "miltos" (iron oxides, cf. Theophrastos, Ilepi Ai0cov.52).
The galenas in the southern part of the island have been analysed
for silver and lead content, and silver may also have had a
commercial value (E. Photou-Jones). Analyses by isotope show that
Kythnos and others of the Cyclades were a source of copper for Early
Minoan Cretan weapons and tools, Skouries in Kythnos being the
earliest known copper slag site in Europe (Z. Stoss-Gale).
To the ancient city of Karthaia a special session was devoted.
It was divided between archaeological and architectural reports on
work being done, and the more philosophical problem of how you
preserve an ancient site in today's environment, specifically the
future of Karthaia. K. Fittschen's suggestion that the site become an
archaeological park, with funding perhaps from the European
Community was met mixed reaction although all were in
DHA 20.2, 1994 312 Miriam Caskey
agreement that the site must somehow be preserved as it is. Repre
sentatives of the Archaeological Service pointed out that the site
was already protected in that laws had been passed (1990, No. 1892)
enabling the Service to establish zones with different degrees of
protection. The discussion then moved into the wider framework of
the place of Karthaia in the life of the island. Is "protection"
really provided by isolating a site from its actual surroundings and
from the life of the island ? (N. Mourtzas). The subject of access by a
road was raised and concrete proposals on the line and limit of such
a road discussed. Perhaps the most poetic contribution was that of
D. Tsakos who pointed out that there are "places and places ; there
are places where man may intervene and there are others where
this would be sacrilege. Some places must remain untouched to give
us the feeling of earlier times."
A. Mazarakis brought up the situation of Kythnos, whose
ancient city, while not itself threatened, is rapidly losing its env
ironment to building which cannot be halted because it is in the
framework of an existing town.
It was decided to continue this important discussion at another
time and place.
Much work has been done in recent years on the Acropolis of
Karthaia and the surrounding slopes (L. Mendoni). A revolutionary
reconstruction of the so called Temple of Athena was presented by
N. Papanikolaou, in the sculptural decoration of the roof. His
suggestion that the east apex group consisted of a chariot moving
away from the spectator drew some objection from P. Kalligas on the
basis of its complete novelty in Greek architecture. The remaining,
pedimental sculpture from Karthaia was presented by E. Touloupa,
who has done a monumental work of collecting and attributing many
of the small fragments of sculpture to the pediment. A fine torso of a
horse, at present on display in the Kea museum, fell between two
stools, since it was neither accepted for the pediment by Touloupa,
nor included with the Kean archaic sculpture by I. Triandi who
spoke on Kean archaic sculpture in general. The subject of the
stylistic origin of the Lion of Kea (a large lion cut out of a schist rock
to the northeast of Chora) arose, with N. Faraklas arguing for a
Naxian origin on the basis of the lean and linear treatment of the
mass. This was rejected by Triandi who noted that these
characteristics are too widely shared in this early period to serve as
a basis for attribution to Naxos. Given also a local sculpture
DHA 20.2, 1994 Cyclades : Keos et Kythnos 313 Deux
workshop and the lack of clear parallels elsewhere the lion is more
likely to be the work of local sculptors (I. Triandi).
A carefully documented paper by C. Vlassopoulou connected a
recently found small late archaic relief from Ioulis of the island
type of stele with an inscription (IG XII 5, 611) mentioning the
epithet "XpuaeyiSaioc". N. Faraklas disputed this connection noting
that although the term "XpvozyiSaioç" is simply an epithet rather
than a reference to the representation, he doubts that an Athena in
this case would be represented without an aegis. A connection of the
relief with a sanctuary of Athena in Ioulis rather than Karthaia is
preferable according to L. Mendoni, since in any case the attribution
of the Karthaia temple to Athena is hypothetical.
A relief showing 3 female and one male figure, recorded by
L. Savignoni in the Archaeological Ephemeris 1898 was related to
similar Attic dedicatory reliefs of the late 5th century В. С by
V. Machaira. A suggestion by a representative of the Archaeolog
ical Service (Triandi) that the relief, at present built into the wall
of the Town Hall, should be removed to the Museum brought strong
objections from the local authorities.
The archaic relief decorated pithoi in a number of the Aegean
islands are by their nature closely related to sculpture. With the
discovery in Koresia of fragments of one such vessel, Kea now joins
the list of islands known to have produced these extraordinary jars.
M. Caskey suggests that the scene may be identified either as the
birth of Athena (comparing it with the known "birth pithos" from
Tenos), or as a version of the decapitation of the Gorgon. To complete
the picture of decorated pithoi from Kea, E. Bournia presented a
corpus of stamped and incised pithoi datable from archaic to
Hellenistic times.
In a paper on a survey of the northwestern part of Kea by
J. Cherry, J. Davis, and E. Mantzourani, Cherry and Davis observed
that there was so little evidence for activity during geometric and
protogeometric times as to imply a total abandonment of the land,
followed by resettlement or "colonisation". Against this must be
weighed the finding of protogeometric, geometric and to be sure
archaic pottery in the temple at Ayia Irini, and the difficulty of
drawing conclusions of this nature solely on the basis of survey
evidence without excavation. The problem of "visibility" remains.
DHA 20.2, 1994