The Belgian school at Athens in press
Archaeologists from the Universities of Ghent (Belgium) and Göttingen, led by Prof. Dr. Roald Docter (Ghent University) and the co-directorship of Prof. Dr. Johannes Bergemann (University of Göttingen) under the auspices of the Belgian School of Archeology at Athens (EBSA) discovered the earliest Iron Age house in Attica in Thorikos (Greece) south of Athens. This is an important, unexpected and unique finding in early Greek history: building structures from this early period, from the 10th to the 9th centuries BC, have not been excavated anywhere in Attica. The Gerda Henkel Foundation is now funding the continuation of the excavations with around 82,000 euros.
The ancient settlement is located in the area of ancient silver mining, 60 kilometers south of Athens. Here one can see Mycenaean domed tombs and a classical settlement with dwellings, factories, sanctuaries, the theater and burial grounds. What is striking is the unprotected location only 20 meters above the sea coast - so there was apparently no danger from the sea at the time. Only in the course of the 8th century B.C., settlement activity shifted to the more than 100 meter high, safe hilltop plateau. “After geophysical investigations of the southeastern slope, the Gent archaeologists found a tomb dating to the 5th century B.C.” says Prof. Roald Docter, Director of the Gent Institute for Archaeology.
In 2019, an exposed corner of the wall initially seemed to indicate a classic tomb building. “But it turned out that there was no burial there, but a building from the 10th to 9th centuries B.C.”, says Prof. Dr. Johannes Bergemann, Director of the Archaeological Institute at the University of Göttingen. Over the past year, the scientists continued to research the extent of the building and identified five to six rooms. In the largest room there were still numerous pebbles in association, which indicate a paved courtyard. An analysis of the ceramic finds, that were done by Prof. Dr. Alexandra Alexandridou of the University of Ioannina (Greece), confirmed a use from about 950 to 825 B.C.
“Existing grinding stones for grain indicate a function as a residential building. The differentiated structure of the residential building speaks for either a complex society or an already developed social hierarchy," says Bergemann. "Scientific analyzes will show whether there was animal breeding here and whether the silver ore typical of the area was mined and processed at this time”, says Prof. Docter.
With the funding received, this unique find is now to be completely excavated, archaeologically and scientifically examined and analyzed. The excavations will continue in cooperation with the University of Ghent (Belgium) and the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany) under the auspices of the Belgian School of Archeology at Athens (EBSA) in July/August 2023 and 2024.
The EBSA invites you to watch online the following documentary of the reconstruction of the Palaiksatro Kouros.
In January 2022, Jan Driessen and Sandy Macgillivray, in collaboration with EFALAS (C. Sofianou, K. Zervaki) and the Cyprus Institute (Sorin Hermon, Martina Polig, Valentina Vasallo) started a new program of analyses of the Palaikastro Kouros, a chryselephantine statue found in the BSA excavations in 1988 and 1990. A full 3D scan was made which has already allowed to replace existing ivory fragments virtually within their original position. A short documentary on this work was made by Nikos Dyandas and Stelios Apostolopoulos of Aori Films and is freely accessible.