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DIOSKOUROI

Studies presented to
W.G. Cavanagh and C.B. Mee
on the anniversary of their 30-year joint
contribution to Aegean Archaeology
Edited by

C. Gallou
M. Georgiadis
G. M. Muskett

BAR International Series 1889


2008

This title published by


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BAR S1889

DIOSKOUROI Studies presented to W.G. Cavanagh and C.B. Mee on the anniversary of their 30-year
joint contribution to Aegean Archaeology

the individual authors 2008

ISBN 978 1 4073 0369 7

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BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS:


THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF MYCENAEAN VATIKA ON THE
MALEA PENINSULA

Chrysanthi Gallou
University of Nottingham
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to advance research on the prehistory of Vatika on the Malea peninsula in south-eastern
Laconia. The study will focus on the evidence for settlements, cemeteries and the material culture during the Late
Bronze Age.

It is a great honour to contribute this paper to my


mentor Bill Cavanagh who has introduced me to the
fascinations of Aegean archaeology and the study of
prehistoric Laconia. I first met Bill in 1997 when I
registered as postgraduate student at the University
of Nottingham and his valuable lessons have been
accompanying me ever since. His presence and
support amid the blasts of the cruel winds that
occasionally blow in the land of archaeology have
been the inspirational force behind my work. I have
also been lucky to have met Chris who has been
providing unconditionally his support and
encouragement for the last 10 years and has ever
since been the best example of a teacher, colleague
and friend. Their guidance, advice and support
could not be adequately acknowledged.

which in prehistoric times was connected to the


mainland and was known as the Onugnathus
peninsula.2 The geography of the Malea peninsula,
in particular the formation of the Parnon range,
causes extreme clashes between the winds,
especially the meltemi from the north-east, and the
currents off Cape Malea. The sudden and violent
changes of the winds made the circumnavigation of
Cape Malea an extremely treacherous enterprise in
antiquity. This is the reason why the locals still
believe that it was in fact in this area that Odysseus
sailed between Scylla and Charybdis.
Despite the regions strategic position at the
crossroads of southern Peloponnese and the wealth
of archaeological material, the study of its
prehistory has attracted, until recently, limited
archaeological attention. Any scholar, though,
wishing to investigate the prehistory of the region
may be discouraged by a number of serious
shortcomings; valuable evidence has been
irretrievably lost due to modern agricultural
techniques, terracing and mechanised cultivation, to
the increasing -in most cases uncontrollablebuilding activity, and to the systematic destruction
and/or looting of prehistoric tombs. Just as
destruction and looting, the scandalous absence of
proper archaeological reports and publications of the

Introduction
Vatika occupies the south-western region of the
Malea peninsula in the Peloponnese (FIG. 1). The
region covered in this study is bordered by
mountains Oros, Megali Tourla and Raches to the
north and Ipsimontas and Profitis Ilias to the west,
whereas the Krithina mountain divides the region
from the eastern coast of the peninsula.1 To the
south the region is bordered by the Vardia mountain
and the notorious Cape Malea. Adjacent to the west
coast of the region lies the island of Elaphonisos

Pausanias (Periegesis 3.22.10) mentions that the strait


that once connected Elaphonisos with the mainland was
submerged, albeit fordable, during his time. The narrow
isthmus was still fordable in 1677AD (Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1961, 145; Christides 1984, 219-20;
Kordosis 1990 with relevant bibliography).

For administrative purposes Vatika or the Municipality


of Boiae has incorporated the villages of Elika,
Pantanassa and the territory to the east of Mt. Raches and
Krithina.

292

MAP of the Vatika region with LBA sites discussed in the text
Map Key
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

Stena: Ayioi Anargyroi


Kountourianika
Tsegianika
Ayios Georghios
Megali Spelia
Manolarianika
Xenofontianika
Papoulianika
Adiakopos
Neratzionas: Karavas
Kampos

12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.

Kamari- Ayios Konstantinos


Mesochori
Anemomylos: Konstantinakeika
Neapolis and its surroundings
Palaiokastro
Las: Kastelli
Miniones
Pavlopetri
Elaphonisos village and surroundings
Panagia (Kato Nisi)

prehistoric finds have appeared sporadically in the


Archaeologikon Deltion and elsewhere (VarouchaChristodoulopoulou 1964, 14; Zavvou 2002;
Pikoulas 2002) whereas the few excavated contexts
still remain unpublished. On the other hand, the
discovery and subsequent survey of a submerged
prehistoric town at Pavlopetri has provided the
unique case of a site that was occupied throughout

excavated contexts presents a serious shortcoming.


The data collected during the extensive surveys of
the British School at Athens (Wace and Hasluck
1907-8; Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 1418. Also cited in Banou 1996; 2002) comprise so far
the only concise archaeological guide for the study
of the regions prehistory. Few brief reports on

293

the Bronze Age, in the Hellenistic times, during the


Late Antique and in connection to the Slav and Arab
conquests (Flemming 1968a; 1968b; Harding et al.
1969; Harding 1970; Christides 1984, 215-20).
Equally important for our understanding of the
prehistoric occupation in the area is the ongoing
survey of the cave sites on the Malea peninsula
carried out by the Ephorate of PalaeoanthropologySpeleology of Northern Greece (Efstathiou in
press).

2002, 216), Kleftavlako (Pikoulas 2002, 241;


Zavvou 2002, 217), Ayia Marina (Zavvou 2001,
218-19) and recently at Asproudhia, Viglafia.
Close contacts between the region and the north-east
Peloponnese had developed as early as EB II as
suggested, for example, by the introduction of
yellow mottled ware to Pavlopetri (cf. Harding et al.
1969, 133). The first indication of the import of a
foreign material has been provided by the
occurrence of obsidian (nodules, cores, flakes and
blades) from Melos to all known EBA sites in
Vatika (for a general discussion of obsidian in
Laconia, see Carter and Ydo 1996, 166-69). The
Malea peninsula is situated opposite Melos and at
the time when seafaring was practiced without sail,
the nodules would have been transported from their
source to a few safe landings on the peninsula
(Agouridis 1997, 12-13; Broodbank 2000, 287-91).
For example, the coastal sites at Zarax, Arianna,
Palaia Monemvasia, Ayios Fokas, Velanidhia:
Ayios Georghios, Ayia Marina, Pavlopetri,
Asproudhia and Elaphonisos have provided firm
evidence for obsidian knapping and they would
have served as centres of procurement, receipt and
exchange. Tools of local and imported honey chert
have also been noted (Gallou and Faber
forthcoming). The use of both imported and of local
chert and obsidian indicates how the local
communities carefully selected different materials
for the manufacture of their tools.

In the light of the authors research project on the


prehistory of the Malea peninsula (Gallou
forthcoming), the aim of this paper is to present new
evidence for the Mycenaean presence at Vatika and
to initiate discussion on the role of the region in the
circulation of commodities and ideas in the transAegean exchange network of the Late Bronze Age.
Before the Mycenaeans: A brief account
The Final Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age
Despite the inhospitable coasts of the peninsula and
the dangerous voyage around Cape Malea, even
more perilous in times when seacraft were primitive,
a string of anchorages and flourishing settlements
were established from EH II onwards, if not earlier
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 136, 139). In
accord with the settlement trends in the southern
mainland, FN remains have been identified at caves,
namely Apsifi, Trypalia and Ayia Aikaterini at
Neapolis and Mavri Spelia at Velanidhia (Efstathiou
in press). Few, badly worn, potsherds noted by the
author on slightly upraised land in the vicinity of the
church of Ayios Andreas near Viglafia, could be
attributed with caution to the FN.

As a result of intense trans-Aegean maritime


connections, Cycladic, Kytheran and Minoan
parallels can be drawn for specific features of the
regions ceramic contexts such as Orange
Micaceous Ware, tripod- and cooking- pot legs,
small conical saucers, collar-necked jars and
impressed kerbschnitt decoration. Despite the
discovery of increasing numbers of sherds of frying
pans and pyxis lids of Cycladic inspiration but of
mainland manufacture at Ayios Stephanos (Taylour
1972, 240-41, fig. 18, pl. 45f) and other inland
Laconian sites such as Anthochori (Zavvou 2006,
164, fig. 18), no similar finds have been recovered
yet at any of the Malea coastal sites. This may well
be the result of the small number of excavations in
southern Laconia.

The region was densely populated in EBA times.


Pottery, mostly EH II and obsidian have been
recorded at Stena: Ayioi Anargyroi (Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 141), Tsegianika: Kyla
(Zavvou 2002, 212), in the vicinity of the chapel of
Ayios Andreas near Viglafia (Waterhouse and Hope
Simpson 1961, 145), Pavlopetri and the Pounta
shore (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 146;
Harding et al. 1969), Rais Cave (Waterhouse and
Hope
Simpson
1961,
146),
Elaphonisos
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 146-48),
Neapolis town (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson
1961, 143), Neapolis: Avlospilo (Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1961, 142-44), Neapolis:
Palaiokastro (Pikoulas 2002, 235), Las: Kastelli
(Varoucha-Christodoulopoulou 1964, 14; Zavvou

A consequence of close contacts through the


circulation of goods across EBA Aegean was the
exchange of ideas and values. One the most striking
signs of these early cultural exchanges saw the
foundation of an extensive extramural cemetery of
rock-cut graves at Pavlopetri (cf. Harding et al.

294

established yet. It has been suggested that they may


belong to the MBA and that they might have been
uninterruptedly used into Mycenaean times
(Harding et al. 1969, 140; Dickinson 1992, 110).
Judging by the evidence from neighbouring sites
such as Ayios Stephanos (Janko and Taylour in
press), such a hypothesis sounds plausible.

1969, 127-32). None of the approximately 60 graves


at Pavlopetri has been formally investigated yet;
however, their small size, their architectural plan of
round or kidney-shaped burial chambers and short
rectangular or wedge-shaped dromoi, often with a
rounded edge, present close parallels with EBA
rock-cut graves in the Cyclades, Chios, Crete,
Euboea and the mainland namely Boeotia, Attica,
the Argolid, Elis and Achaia (Pullen 1985, 105-56;
Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 17; Cultraro 2000;
Vasilogamvrou 2000, 44-45).3 Based on the sites
position, the similarities in tomb planning between
the cemetery and Manika, and the pottery links with
the Cyclades, it has been argued that the first
settlers arrived by sea, perhaps from the Cyclades
(Harding et al. 1969, 142). Nevertheless, it would be
intriguing to see what an excavation might reveal
about the identity of those buried in the graves, the
chronology of the funerary monuments, the mode of
burial and the character of the burial furnishings in
the Laconian examples.

There have also been reports by the locals for the


discovery of burial pithoi containing skeletal
remains at Gerantonia in the vicinity of Ayios
Georghios (I owe this information to A.
Kantzilieris)4 and at Sklavouna near Kampos (I owe
this information to I. Psarrakis). The MBA practice
of pithos burials is known from few sites in southern
Laconia including Ayios Stephanos (Taylour 1972,
226, 277, 278), Kotronas (anc. Teuthrone)
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 119) and
Daimonia: Kastelli (Wace and Hasluck 1907-8, 166;
Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 141 and n.
187), as well as at Kastri on Kythera (Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 152; Coldstream and
Huxley 1984, 108). Of course, pithos burials are
also known in other periods, not just MH.

The Middle Bronze Age


As in the rest of Laconia (Cavanagh 2002, 137;
Cavanagh et al. 2005, 6), dramatic decline -in most
cases abandonment- is observed in settlements until
at least MH II. The evidence from Pavlopetri is
scanty but the picture may change should
excavations begin in the area. In 1968 the site
produced pottery covering all sub-phases of the
MBA; Minoan and Cycladic traits are also
detectable (Harding et al. 1969, 135). At this point,
it is worth mentioning that the Ayios Stephanos has
produced evidence for EH III and MH I deposits
(Janko and Taylour in press).

The Minoan interest in the wider region on their


western trade-route has been confirmed by the
establishment of the colony at Kastri on Kythera in
EM II (Coldstream and Huxley 1972; Broodbank
and Kiriatzi 2007). The interaction between the
Minoans and the local communities in the Neapolis
plain is reflected on the discovery of Minoanising
pottery styles such as Dull Painted and Minoan
Micaceous Wares at Pavlopetri and Elaphonisos
(Gallou forthcoming). Long distance maritime
exchanges are also implied by a group of two stone
seals, a stone signet and four beads of greenish
stone, now in the Ashmolean Museum (Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 144 n. 198, pl. 27c). The
objects were originally purchased by Sir Arthur
Evans and have been catalogued as seals of Hittite
form etc., found at Paleokastro near Baia (Turkish
Vatika), opposite the Elaphonisi or Cervi,
Peloponnese (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961,
144 n. 198). Their typology is reminiscent of Middle
Minoan and Near Eastern examples and they might
have been obtained via the circulation of exotica in
the wider area as, for example, the marble bowl most probably a heirloom - inscribed with the
cartouche of the Sun Temple of the 5th Dynasty of
Pharaoh Userkaf, and an inscription recording a
MBA king of Esnunna, both allegedly from Kythera

Virtually nothing is known with certainty about


MBA architectural remains in the wider region; the
plan of the submerged town at Pavlopetri has
resulted, in all probability, by agglomeration from
EBA onwards and despite the occurrence of MBA
pottery it has not been possible yet to securely
identify any MBA constructions. Similarly, the
chronology of the thirty-seven intramural slab-lined
cist graves (Harding et al. 1969, 123-25) and of an
identical one recently recorded in the area
(Spondylis 1999, 1024, fig. 14) has not been
3

A similar tomb has recently been located by the locals at


Ayia Marina, closer to Cape Malea (I owe this
information to L. Mpillinis). On the other hand, the
EBA grave shown to me by the locals at the poros
quarries at Nikolitsa near Kampos Voion is in fact
Roman.

During my visit in the area I noticed MBA sherds


including large pithos fragments.

295

(cf. Coldstream and Huxley 1972, 33; Niemeier


1998, 37).

213, fig. 3) (FIG. 2). The chamber is round (4.18m


in diameter) and features a short stepped dromos
(2.78m long, 0.65-1.05m wide). The stomion was
carelessly formed.

The Late Bronze Age


Moving to the SW, Ch. Christou explored- on the
occasion of road works- two chamber tombs to the
east of the school at Ayios Georghios Voion (MAP,
no. 4). The results of the excavation were never
published. In a brief report (Hood 1957, 10), it was
mentioned that Christou examined what appeared
to be Mycenaean chamber tombs with stepped
dromoi, but found nothing in them. In an old photo5
of the excavation, though, at least two pots are
visible, one easily identified as a fragmentary stirrup
jar. According to A. Kantzilieris and P. Markos
(pers.com.), another two plundered chamber tombs
which were visible well before the official
excavations of the other two, provided shelter to the
villagers during WWII. None of the four tombs is
visible today.

Mycenaean settlements and cemeteries: the data


from excavations and surface surveys
The northern passage to the fertile Neapolis plain
was controlled by a Mycenaean settlement which
occupied the upper southern terraces of the steep
conical hill of Ayioi Anargyroi at Stena
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 141, fig. 12)
(MAP, no 1). The site was small in size (120 x 80
m) but naturally defensible. The Valmandrea river
runs at the foot of the hill and a spring is located in a
cave on the upper north-east plateau. The site
occupies a strategic position at the northern border
of the plain with an unhindered view towards the
plain and the Vatika gulf overseeing the sea traffic
across Elaphonisos and Kythera (FIGS. 1a-b). The
recorded pottery -mainly sherds from kylikes, deep
bowls, a pear-shaped rhyton with Minoan tongue
pattern and the lower part of a large closed vessel
with panelled decoration- ranges between LH IIA
and IIIB2 (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1960, pl.
22b, 7; 1961, 141, n. 198). Three plundered
chamber tombs, badly preserved, were cut into the
east bank of the river, c. 460 m south-east of the
settlement, near Kountourianika (Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1961, 141, fig. 12) (MAP, no 2;
FIG. 1c). Due to the thick vegetation, it has not
been possible yet to relocate the tombs. Another
cluster of two plundered chamber tombs was
marked to c. 650m to the S of the settlement
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 141, fig. 12).
These tombs are similar but better preserved than
the ones closer to the site. They feature round burial
chambers (2.50m in diameter) with doorways 1.20m
wide; no traces of a dromos (if any) survive.

Waterhouse and Hope Simpson (1961, 145)


reported Early Mycenaean pottery from a well at
Aghia Triadha (near Viglafia), associated with a
cave lined with slabs approached by an entrance
that could, according to Banou (2002, 198-9), be
interpreted as a tholos tomb. In the absence, though,
of firmly established evidence, it is advisable to
leave the question of the presence of a tholos tomb
in the area open. About 500m to the north, a cluster
of plundered, half destroyed, chamber tombs with
oval burial chambers have been identified at Megali
Spelia (MAP, no 5; FIG. 3).
At least four plundered chamber tombs with round
burial chambers but no traces of a dromos (if any)
have been identified in the vicinity of
Manolarianika6 (MAP, no 6), namely at the
entrance of the village (near the Chronis plot) and
near the chapel of Ayios Gerasimos (FIG. 4).
Twelve plundered chamber tombs, mostly destroyed
and similar in plan to the ones at Manolarianika, are
located in the courtyard of the newly constructed
church at Xenofontianika (Map, no. 7; FIG. 5). At
least 5 plundered chamber tombs (three of them
almost completely destroyed) are located at

The remains of a LBA site have been identified at


Tsegianika: Kyla, to the east of the Galanianiko
river (Zavvou 2002, 213-14) (MAP, no. 3; FIG.
2a). The Mycenaean pottery includes kylix stems,
pithos fragments and two steatite buttons (cf.
Zavvou ibid.). During my visit, the area was strewn
with fragments of Mycenaean cooking pots, pithoi,
kylikes, deep bowls; terracotta loomweights, stone
tools including a quern and a small bathtub are
also observed. The pottery can be provisionally
dated to LH IIIA-B. Approximately 150 m to the
east a plundered chamber tomb was hewn into the
soft rock at Tsegianika: Mandritsa (Zavvou 2002,

I warmly thank the E Ephorate of Prehistoric and


Classical Antiquities and the ex-Director Ms A.
Panagiotopoulou for showing me the photo in 2005 and
for allowing me to mention the finds.
6
I thank Y. Psarrakis for showing me the chamber tombs
at Manolarianika, Xenofontianika, Adiakopos and
Kambos.

296

Papoulianika (Map, no 8). They feature circular


burial chambers and one of them (whose dromos
survives) has a stepped passageway (FIGS. 6a-b).
More plundered chamber tombs are visible in the
area of Adiakopos (Map, no. 9); the one at
Kakosouli is in fact the largest tomb in the area
(dimensions: 6x4m) and features a rectangular
chamber (FIG. 7), whereas another one at Rodi is
considerably smaller and of oval plan (FIG. 8).
What is particularly interesting is the construction
method of the tomb at Rodi where a natural cavity
was used as a burial chamber, whereas a stepped
dromos led to a carefully constructed stomion. The
tombs at Adiakopos could be associated with a
settlement at Giareni where Mycenaean pottery has
recently been identified (Gallou forthcoming). To
the south, another chamber tomb has been identified
at Karavas in the area of Nerantzionas (I owe this
information to Y. Psarrakis) (Map, no 10).

In the western suburbs of the modern town of


Neapolis Voion, at least two plundered chamber
tombs are visible at Anemomylos: Konstantinakeika
(I thank P. Konstantinakos for drawing my attention
to these tombs in 2006) (MAP no 14; FIG. 12). The
tombs were equipped with oval burial chambers and
carefully formed entrances. One of the tombs was
being used as a lime kiln during the 50s. More
mounds in the vicinity of the tombs may conceal at
least 2 more tombs.
In an attempt to locate the Mycenaean settlement at
Neapolis, Waterhouse and Hope Simpson recorded
plentiful LH III sherds (kylikes, stemmed and deep
bowls, pithos) and obsidian on a low hill opposite
Oikonomianika (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson
1961, 143-4, fig. 13; Banou 1996, 70-71, pl. 54)
(FIG. 13). Clusters of Mycenaean chamber tombs
occupy the low hill at Avlospilo and its
surroundings (cf. Zavvou 2002, 215). The reported
chamber tomb features an oval burial chamber
(3.45-3.85m) led to by a short, steep, stepped
dromos (max. l. 1.55m; faade: h. 0.75m; w. 0.57m)
(Zavvou 2002, 215, pl. 5) (MAP, no 15; FIG. 14).
The possible remains of another chamber tomb have
recently been identified just few metres to the west
of the aforementioned tomb. More chamber tombs,
one of them submerged, occupied the area to the
east, at Plaka. The area is strewn with Mycenaean
sherds, in particular kylix stems. At least sixteen
chamber tombs have been identified at
Oikonomianika and Psafaki (Waterhouse and Hope
Simpson 1961, 143, fig. 13), whereas more are
found scattered in the modern town of Neapolis,
namely at Charamianika (2) (FIG. 15), Ayia
Triadha (2), Vrondas (>4) and Odos Spartis (1).
The chamber tombs at Oikonomianika and Psafaki
feature rectangular or square chambers (Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 143, n. 193), whereas
those in the town of Neapolis are consistently round
or oval (Gallou forthcoming). Thus, it appears that
the modern town of Neapolis Voion was once
occupied by clusters of Mycenaean chamber tombs.

An unspecified number of plundered chamber tombs


were explored by the Greek Archaeological Service
in 1955 at Kampos Voion (Hood 1956, 15;
Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 145), but no
information existed until recently on their exact
location (cf. Zavvou 2002, 214) (Map, no 11).
According to the locals, another four or five
chamber tombs containing skeletal remains and
pottery, were discovered in 1962 during the
construction of the school; the tombs were once
visible in the schoolyard. With the valuable
guidance and assistance of I. Psarrakis, though, it
has been possible to locate more plundered chamber
tombs in the village and the surrounding area,
namely at Spelia tou Roupa (1), near the chapel of
Ayios Ioannis (1) and at Spelitsa (1) (FIG. 9). The
tombs at Ayios Ioannis (2x4m) and Spelia tou
Roupa (the tomb is now filled with debris) feature
rectangular burial chambers, whereas that at Spelitsa
is oval (3x2.5m).
Moving towards the east, two more plundered
chamber tombs have been identified at Kamari near
Ayios Konstantinos (I thank I. Psarrakis for showing
me the tombs) (MAP no. 12). One of the tombs
features a rectangular burial chamber whereas the
other one is oval (FIG. 10). There are no traces of
dromoi leading to the burial chamber. Around 750m
to the south of the cluster, I located, assisted by P.
Konstantinakos, the remains of a Mycenaean
settlement at the site of Pilales in the vicinity of
Mesochori. The site (of medium size) occupied the
upper terraces of a naturally defensible upland with
a perennial spring, whilst a seasonal stream runs at
the foot of the hill (MAP no 13; FIG. 11).

An important Mycenaean settlement occupied the


small peninsula of Palaiokastro, south of Neapolis
(MAP no 16; FIG. 16). During my recent fieldwalk
at the site I identified large numbers of EBA, MBA
and LBA sherds, pieces of obsidian and chert, and
stone tools including a large quern of greyishwhitish stone (also Pikoulas 2002, 235
[ ]
...). Smaller sites occupied the area to the
south of Palaiokastro. Just 1km to the south,
prehistoric pottery has been identified at the coastal

297

site
at
Las:
Kastelli
(cf.
VarouchaChristodoulopoulou 1964, 14; Zavvou 2002, 216)
(Map,
no
17;
FIG.
17).
VarouchaChristodoulopoulou (1964, 14) identified the pottery
from the site as EH and LH IIIB and suggested
similarities with the pottery reported from Apidia
and Ayios Stephanos (illustrated in Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1960, pls. 18.3, 21.1). Zavvou (2002,
216) reported worn prehistoric sherds among them
one handmade. My fieldwalk in the area has
resulted in the identification of EBA and LBA
pottery as well as flakes and blades of obsidian and
chert. A kylix stem has been reported from the small
ravine that separates Las: Kastelli from Miniones,
whereas pottery of unspecified date has been
reported from Miniones (Zavvou 2002, 216) (MAP,
no. 18).

1969, 139-42). The collected pottery dates between


MH III/LH I and LH IIIB and shows similarities
with corresponding examples from other LBA sites
in southern Laconia, in particular Epidaurus Limera,
Ayios Stephanos, Plytra and Peristeri (Gallou in
press; forthcoming). In addition to the standard LH
types, Minoanising pottery, including tripod and
cooking- pot legs, and a bridge-spouted jar, and few
Minoan imports have also been identified (Harding
et al. 1969, 135-37).
Significant is the discovery of a bronze female
figurine in Building I [Harding et al. 1969, 138, pl.
33l. Contra to Sapouna-Sakellarakis (1993, 138)
attribution of the figurine to the EBA its cruder,
schematic style is reminiscent of the LB I bronze
figurine from the Minoanising settlement at Triada
on Rhodes (see Marketou 1998, 60-61, fig. 8). The
occurrence of this type of figurine at Pavlopetri
should come as no surprise since similar MM III
bronze figurines have been found at the nearby peak
sanctuary of Ayios Georghios tou Vounou on
Kythera (Sakellarakis 1996, 197).

The most instructive example of a Mycenaean


settlement is provided by the now submerged site at
Pavlopetri, just opposite Elaphonisos (MAP, no 19).
The site was discovered by N.C. Flemming in 1967
and surveyed by the Cambridge Underwater
Exploration Team in 1968 (Harding et al. 1969).
The town was situated at the base of the ancient
Onugnathus peninsula, opposite Neapolis. The
submerged remains cover an area of c. 300m by
100m and continue southward on Pavlopetri island
(Harding et al. 1969, 116, 127); the actual extent of
the town has not been determined yet. According to
Harding et al. (1969, 116), the site may have
extended over 10 ha or more, or at least twice as
much as survives today. Fifteen separate buildings
have been recorded and parts of at least as many,
five streets, two chamber tombs and thirty-seven
intramural cist graves (FIGS. 18a-b). A cemetery of
c. 60 rock-cut graves, presumably EBA (see supra)
lies on the Pounta shore (FIG. 18c-d). The town had
grown by agglomeration and its plan resembles
contemporary towns in the Aegean such as
Palaikastro and Phylakopi (Harding et al. 1969, 139;
Dickinson 1992, 110). As Dickinson suggests
(1992, 110), being so far down the Malea
peninsula, it might have looked towards the Aegean
rather than the mainland for inspiration. The town
lay en route to the major ports at Ayios Stephanos
and Plytra and just 8km from the Minoan colony at
Kastri on Kythera. Judging by its size and strategic
location, the town must have controlled most of the
Vatika plain which enjoys a fertility surpassed only
by the plains of Sparta and Elos (Harding 1970,
244).

Smaller LH III sites, most probably farmsteads,


were located on Elaphonisos, in particular its
northern tip (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961,
146-48, fig. 14) (MAP, no. 20; FIG. 19a). Due to
their size and location, one may suggest that these
small sites might have been subordinate to the now
submerged larger site at Pavlopetri (FIG. 19b).
More sites might once have occupied the land that
has now become submerged on the Elaphonisos
strait. This, however, remains on current evidence
mere speculation.
A substantial site occupied the low hill at Panagia
(Kato Nisi) on the western part of the island
(Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 147) (MAP,
no 21; FIG. 20a). The pottery from the site dates to
LH III times. It must have controlled the only fertile
land on the Onugnathus peninsula and, more
importantly, it possessed an unhindered view
towards the Laconian gulf (FIG. 20b). Its position
would have permitted control over sea resources and
over navigation from the northern part of the
Laconian gulf and Mani towards Pavlopetri en route
to Kythera, Crete and the Aegean. An unspecified
number of possible chamber tombs (referred to as
small caves, which may once have been
Mycenaean chamber tombs) have been identified
below the slopes at Pelakidhi (Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1961, 147, fig. 14). The slopes west
of and below the church of Panaghia at Kato Nisi
may also conceal chamber tombs (Waterhouse and

The archaeological material is indicative of the


sites prosperity during the LBA (Harding et al.

298

Hope Simpson 1961, 147, fig. 14).

in Harding et al. (1969, 132) regarding tomb 39 at


Pavlopetri; A later date cannot (then) be excluded
for Tomb 39 and may be more probable: the dromos
alone could have been cut with steps by
Mycenaeans who found already inside the chambers
of Tombs 38 and 41. Interesting in this respect, is
the fact that two chamber tombs with rectangular
chambers, identified as Mycenaean, were oriented
towards the EBA rock-cut cemetery on the shore,
being maybe the result for the desire of the
Mycenaean community for status by association
(see below). A similar pattern, possibly motive, may
be also detected at Elaiochori: Kalamaki in western
Achaia where a LBA chamber tomb cemetery was
established in an area previously occupied by an
EBA cemetery of rock-cut graves (cf.
Vasilogamvrou 2000).

Summarising, the Mycenaean presence in the region


is attested from MH III/LH I until LH IIIC times.
The majority of sites were small to medium in size
with the exception of the town at Pavlopetri which
was, in all probability, the main principality in the
region. None of the sites has provided so far any
evidence for fortification walls. The LBA settlement
pattern coincides to a large extent- with that of the
EBA (cf. Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 17071). Worth mentioning is the fact that LH IIIB
pottery has been uncovered in caves such as Mavri
Spelia and Trypalia (Efstathiou in press).
The Mycenaean settlements of Vatika were either
coastal such as at Pavlopetri, Palaiokastro and
Elaphonisos, or they occupied the borders of and
access to the fertile Neapolis plain, e.g. Stena,
Pilales and Kyla. As expected, the habitation areas
were conveniently located for practical reasonsnear rivers, perennial and seasonal streams and
springs. Nevertheless, control over the sea routes as
well as over the maritime and agricultural resources
would have provided the focus for Mycenaean
habitation in the region.

The available data allow a rough estimate of the


distance between cemeteries and habitation areas to
100 and 500 metres with the exception of the tombs
at Pavlopetri which were cut into the rock ridge that
formed the southern edge of the town (Harding et al.
1969, 125, fig. 3, pl. 26). A similar pattern is
attested elsewhere in Laconia (Gallou forthcoming.
For a general study of the phenomenon in
Mycenaean Greece, see Cavanagh and Mee 1998,
42-3).

The archaeology of death at Vatika


Chamber tombs individual or in clusters- were
widely distributed over the landscape as opposed to
other Laconian sites, e.g. the Elos plain (Gallou
forthcoming), or the Argolid (Mee and Cavanagh
1990, 230; Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 42-44). Tomb
distribution may be expected to be even wider and
denser if one takes into account that there may be
many more tombs that have not been discovered yet.
Mee and Cavanagh have accepted the possible
existence of a link between tombs and property
rights over land on the basis of the Pylos E-series-,
but they have excluded a direct correlation between
the location of tombs (tholos or chamber tombs) and
the ownership of the land (Mee and Cavanagh 1990,
230; Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 42-43). The wide and
dense distribution of chamber tombs in the Neapolis
plain, though, may point to a different pattern. The
brief analysis of the available data, although based
admittedly on fragmentary evidence, suggests that
the chamber tombs at Vatika were, in all probability,
established by local communities, on certain
occasions
extended
families
(e.g.
Ayios
Konstantinos and Mesochori), in order to control
plots of land and the passages to the plain as, for
example, in the case of Manolrianika and Stena. In
the absence of excavated settlements and systematic

A fairly large number of Mycenaean tombs have


been hitherto identified in the region, as shown
above. Chamber tombs abound, whereas no other
type of burial architecture such as tholos tomb,
tumuli, pit and pithos burials, has yet been securely
identified.
Topographical observations
The location of Mycenaean tombs was to a certain
degree determined by geological and geographical
locations, namely the local topography, the need of
a suitable outcrop of soft rock for the cutting of the
tomb, the quality of the bedrock and factors of
erosion and preservation (Wells 1990, 127;
Cavanagh and Mee 1990, 55; 1998, 42). There is no
reason to doubt that this was also the case at Vatika
where chamber tombs were hewn into hill sides or
outcrops of limestone and poros. On the other hand,
due to the limited number of excavated contexts we
cannot yet confirm nor reject the suggestion by
Cavanagh and Mee (1990, 5) that the presence of
earlier graves, , might have sanctioned the use of
a particular site as a cemetery. For the sake of
argument, though, one might quote the observation

299

surveys, though, we cannot test the hypothesis


proposed by Mee and Cavanagh (1990, 230-31,
242) that a dispersed settlement pattern is reflected
in the location of cemeteries and vice versa.
Furthermore,
the
complete
absence
of
archaeological reports on the finds from the
excavated contexts prevent the investigation of the
question related to the location of tombs within the
cemetery, in other words the practice of clustering
(cf. Cavanagh 1987; Mee and Cavanagh 1990, 23132, 242-43; Cavanagh and Mee 1990; Cavanagh and
Mee 1998, 131-32).

of the soul to the underworld or the association


between the protection offered by the ancestors and
the fertility of the land (ibid.). Interestingly, the
chamber tombs at Pavlopetri faced neither the sea
nor the settlement, but rather the EBA cemetery, an
element that could be interpreted as an attempt to
establish links with the past, even possibly lineage
ties with those buried in the rock-cut graves.
Burial Architecture7
The few excavated burial contexts have not yet been
published, so the exact period of their use cannot be
securely established; therefore, the study of the
regions burial architecture is inevitably confined to
stylistic analyses and comparisons. For the same
reasons, the discussion of funerary ritual is omitted
in this paper.

The investigation of cemetery orientation vis--vis


the habitation area is seriously impeded by the
uneven ratio of identified tombs and settlements at
Vatika. If the cases where the location of the
settlement is known, we can ascertain that the tombs
did not face towards the habitation area. The
association between cemetery location and
orientation was originally discussed by A. Persson
who argued that Mycenaean cemeteries were
established to the west of the settlement so that the
spirits of the dead would not be disturbed by the
living (Persson 1942, 152-53). Van Leuven (1975,
204) has also argued for a correlation between
cemeteries and religious factors including solar
worship. Recent studies, though, have overruled
such hypotheses and have established that there was
not a common fixed compass reading linked with
the post mortem welfare of the deceased (Cavanagh
and Mee 1990, 55; Mee and Cavanagh 1990, 227;
Gallou 2005, 61-62).

As an initial comment, it should be stressed that the


chamber tombs at Vatika were carefully
constructed. The majority feature small, oval or
circular chambers (average diameter 2.5-3m), short,
narrow dromoi with straight walls, and rectilinear
faades. The faades of the tombs at Ayios
Georghios Voion featured a decorative cut at its
edge,8 similar to chamber tomb 3 at Mavrovouni (cf.
Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 118 n. 16)
and Leuktro (cf. Hope Simpson 1957, 243). The
dromoi (if any) are always stepped (average width
of steps 20cm). The oval/circular plan of the tombs
resembles that of the chamber tombs at Epidaurus
Limera on the eastern Malea coast, the site that
introduced the type to Laconia as early as MH III
(Gallou in press; forthcoming for a broader analysis
of the introduction of the chamber tomb type to the
mainland).

On the other hand, the positioning of the tombs


within the landscape suggests a strong link with
water elements. Thus, a preference is detected
towards the establishment of tombs and burial
clusters near streams, rivers and springs. The burial
clusters and the individual tombs at Kampos,
Adiakopos, Ayios Georghios, Karavas, Mesochori,
Ayios Konstantinos and Neapolis are located near
streams and springs and are oriented towards the
plain. Certain burial groups at Neapolis such as
Avlospilo and Plaka were oriented towards the sea.
A similar pattern has already been noted for other
parts of the mainland and Rhodes in the Dodecanese
(Dabney 1999, 171-75; Georgiadis 2003, 478;
Gallou 2005, 62-63; Georgiadis and Gallou 2006-7,
175, 178-80). This practice has been linked to a
commonly shared Mycenaean preference associated
with the location of cemeteries near water for
practical reasons (i.e. to serve the needs of
Mycenaean funerary and post-funerary ritual) and/or
with symbolic connotations such as the sea journey

Another variation in the plan of the chamber tombs


at Vatika has been identified at Pavlopetri, Kambos
(Ayios Ioannis, Spelia Roupa, Kakosouli), Neapolis:
Oikonomianika and Ayios Konstantinos (Kamari).
In contrast to the previously analysed class, these
tombs feature a long dromos that led to a fairly large
rectangular chamber. The dimensions of the burial
chamber range between 2x4m (Kambos: Ayios
Ioannis) and 3.5x7.5m (Pavlopetri tomb 2). The
dromos of tomb 2 at Pavlopetri is preserved to a
7

Detailed records (dimensions, orientation, exact location,


etc.) of the Mycenaean tombs in Laconia are included in
the authors forthcoming monograph on Epidaurus
Limera and the prehistory on the Malea peninsula (Gallou
forthcoming).
8
I owe this information to A. Kantzilieris.

300

maximum of 8m in length. These tombs may be


classified among the largest chamber tombs in
Greece. Similar tombs have been found elsewhere in
Laconia, namely Sykea, Angelona, Amyklai and
Melathria (Steinhauer 1973-4; Demakopoulou 1977;
Spyropoulos 1981a; 1981b; Efstathiou 1997; 1998)
as well as on Kythera: tombs F and G (Coldstream
and Huxley 1972, 221, figs. 76 and 77). The
analysis of the data suggests that this variation
appeared in Laconia no earlier than LH IIB times, if
not slightly later (Gallou in press; forthcoming).

On the other hand, although the current evidence is


not as strong as to suggest that the region was
heavily Minoanised as the settlement at Kastri on
Kythera (cf. Rutter 2005, 33-36), it would be
intriguing to attempt to provide answers as to what
would have motivated the particular interest of the
Aegean communities, especially that of the
Minoans, in the Vatika region during the LBA.
Being aware of the limited excavated contexts, I
will aim only at putting forward suggestions and the
incentive for further investigation of a series of
diverse hypotheses.

Final thoughts

The economic and cultural growth of the region was


the consequence of its strategic position at the
crossroads of a busy sea route network. In this
respect Pavlopetri should be considered as one of
the main principalities on the Malea peninsula and
one of the most important if not the most
important- harbours in the Laconian gulf, most
probably controlling the passages from and to the
major Mycenaean harbours to the north, e.g. Ayios
Stephanos and Plytra, and to the east, i.e. the smaller
but equally important in terms of the exchanged
product, harbours of Mani. Thus, Pavlopetri would
have held a nodal position in interregional and transAegean connections from as early as LH I until at
least LH IIIB as suggested by the archaeological
material collected during the 1968 survey (cf.
Harding et al. 1969).

The archaeological evidence even though limited


and fragmentary- from Vatika provides valuable
evidence for the study of the Mycenaean period in
southern Laconia and could act as an indicator for
interregional and trans-Aegean connections
throughout the Late Bronze Age.
The thorough study of the material culture from
southern Laconia, in particular the Malea peninsula,
suggests the existence of a regional cultural koine
attested from the early Mycenaean times onwards
and expressed mainly in terms of pottery styles and
burial facilities (Gallou forthcoming). The pottery
from Vatika presents striking similarities with
corresponding examples from Epidaurus Limera and
Kythera throughout the LBA (Gallou in press;
forthcoming). The chamber tomb type with a small
oval chamber and a short, narrow, stepped dromos is
attested at Epidaurus Limera and Vatika. These
common elements may have been the result of
itinerary pottery workshops, intermarriages or even
common lineage ties on the peninsula and possibly
Kythera. The genesis, dissemination and
development of this cultural koine might have been
forced by the peninsulas own geomorphology, in
particular the Parnon range which set a physical
barrier between south-eastern and inland Laconia.
As a consequence, the local communities might
have consciously chosen to look towards the
Aegean and develop close links with Kythera, Crete
and the Aegean islands from where they would have
acquired commodities and ideas. This orientation
towards the Aegean is implied, for example, by the
occurrence of Minoan(ising) traits in the material
culture of the western Malea coast, e.g. actual
Minoan imports and Minoanising wares at
Pavlopetri, Elaphonisos and the Viglafia coast and
the Minoanising bronze figurine from Pavlopetri
with parallels from Kythera and Trianda.

It has been suggested that the Laconian decorative


stones, in particular lapis lacedaemonius and rosso
antico, which were used for the manufacture of
vases and sealstones on Crete, might have motivated
the Minoan interest in the region from MM IA
onwards when the presence of the stone is for the
first time attested on Crete (Warren 1969, 132-33;
1992, 289; Morris 1982, 278; 1984, 9; Dickinson
1992, 111; Agouridis 1997, 13). The ancient
quarries of lapis lacedaemonius (or Spartan basalt),
a green-flecked porphyry, are located at Psephi, near
Krokees (Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1960,
105-6; Warren 1992, 285; Higgins and Higgins
1996, 54-5). Deposits have also been recorded near
Ayios Stephanos (Bintliff 1977, 477 n. 6). The
presence of lumps of stone at Ayios Stephanos and
Cranae may suggest that these sites might have
served as export points for transmission of the
material overseas in prehistory (Bintliff 1977, 47778). The stones export as raw material has been
supported by the discovery of unworked blocks at
the Lapidarys Workshop at Knossos (Warren
1992, 290), at the peak sanctuary of Ayios
Georghios tou Vounou on Kythera (Sakellarakis

301

decorative stones in Crete has led to the suggestion


that they were most probably obtained as byproducts in the context of trade for metals whose
origins are, however, even harder to establish
(Morris 1982, 287; Banou 1996, 115-17). Crete has
no exploitable metal ores, so there might have been
a Minoan interest in the rich Laconian resources.
The Malea peninsulas metallic ores are second only
to those of Lavrion in Attica, and Siphnos and
Kythnos in the Cyclades (Kiskyras 1988 for a
general discussion of the characteristics of the
mineral resources of Laconia). The most prolific
Laconian copper and lead ores are located near
Krokees, Sykea, Molaoi and Apidia10 (Stos-Gale
and Gale 1984, 61; Angelopoulos and
Konstantinidis 1988; Kiskyras 1988, 121-22). Their
use during the Bronze Age has yet to be proven
scientifically, but should not be excluded without
evidence to the contrary. Systematic investigation is
required in order to confirm the mining of these
deposits in prehistory and determine their isotopic
composition. Despite the lack, though, of
compositional analyses, there are few, albeit strong
indications for the exploitation of the Laconian ores
in prehistory.

1996, 90) and at Mycenae (Higgins and Higgins


1996, 55).
Similarly, the ancient quarries of rosso antico, a
hard deep purplish-red marble, lie at Dimaristika:
Profitis Ilias in Mani (Waterhouse and Hope
Simpson 1961, 119; Warren 1969, 126; Baladi
1980, 207; Higgins and Higgins 1996, 57; Moschou
et al. 1998 with bibliographical references). During
the Bronze Age, the quarries were most probably
associated with the community that resided the
small settlement at Spira, where EBA and LBA
pottery, similar to that from Mavrovouni, Pavlopetri
and Elaphonisos has been found (Waterhouse and
Hope Simpson 1961, 119-20 and n. 40; Baladi
1980, 207; Banou 1996, 61; Higgins and Higgins
1996, 57; Moschou et al. 1998, 277-78). The small
but well sheltered bay of Ayios Kyprianos was
probably used for the loading and sea transport of
the semi-precious stone (Baladi 1980, 207;
Moschou et al. 1998, 282-83). Unlike lapis
lacedaemonius, rosso antico as raw material was
rare in Crete. Unworked lumps have been uncovered
among the offerings at the peak sanctuary of Ayios
Georghios tou Vounou on Kythera (Sakellarakis
1996, 90, pl. 24b). The earliest instance for its use is
a MM IA circular table from Knossos; the stone
became more popular, though, for the manufacture
of lamps, rhyta and few other vases in MM III-LM
IA (Warren 1969, 126). The Mycenaeans also
appreciated it for the manufacture of stone vases and
it was probably used for the decoration of the faade
of the Atreus Treasury at Mycenae9 (Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 120; Baladi 1980, 208).

It was most probably during the EBA when the


communities on the eastern Laconian coast became
acquainted with metalworking as suggested by the
presence of slags mixed with EB II pottery and
Melian obsidian, at Cape Bournias: Ayios
Georghios (Kyrou 1990, 60, 62) and Ayios Fokas
(Pikoulas 1988, 280). Lead isotope data have shown
that the source for copper-based artefacts in EBA
and MBA Aegean was predominantly of local
Aegean origin, mainly the Cyclades (Kythnos,
Siphnos and Serifos) and Lavrion (Stos-Gale 2000,
61-66). The lead-isotopic analysis of LBA copperbased alloys from the mainland and Crete matches
that of the ores from Lavrion, but not all sources of
the Cretan oxhide-ingots have been identified yet
(Stos-Gale 2000, 61; Stos-Gale and Gale 2003, 9394).

The similarities noted in the pottery styles from


Ayios Stephanos, the coastal sites of Mani and
Pavlopetri, as well as the latters proximity to
Kythera where pieces of the Laconian stones have
been found, may imply Pavlopetris role as
intermediary in the export of the Laconian stones to
Kythera and Crete. It might have been in this
context that Minoanising wares, even Minoan
imports, reached other Laconian coastal sites, e.g.
Elaphonisos, Asopos, Daimonia: Kastelli, Paizoulia,
Mavrovouni: Vardies and Mezzapos (cf.
Demakopoulou 1992, 105, 107; Banou 2000, 185
and n. 21, 194-96).

Metalworking was taking place at Ayios Stephanos


from early MH onwards as suggested, for example,
by crucibles, found among thick ashes, containing
bronze residues (Catling 1973-4, 16; Catling 19778, 32; Janko and Taylour in press). A number of

On the other hand, the limited use of the Laconian


10

M. Mpourtzikaki-Grigorea has kindly informed me that


there have been no indications, at least until recently, of
the exploitation of the metal ores at Molaoi in antiquity.
On the other hand, there are indications that the metal
ores at Apidia were exploited in antiquity.

L. Moschou (pers. comm.) seriously doubts that the red


marble employed in the Atreus tholos originated from the
Mani quarries, on the grounds that a quarry of red marble
is located in the vicinity of Mycenae.

302

copper ingot fragments at Kastri on Kythera have


been analysed but the provenance of the raw
material has not been determined yet (van Lokeren
2003, 501; Broodbank et al. 2007, 230). The island
is devoid of metallic ores save for certain ironbearing zones in its northern part (Broodbank et al.
2007, 221) but it has been proposed that Kastri
participated in the Aegean raw material trade, acted
as a node for the import of ingots (certainly copper)
and distribution centre and also as locus for the
manufacture of metal objects (Broodbank et al.
2007, 235). The provenance of the copper ingots
has not been established yet. It has been ascertained
though that they were imported to Kythera where
they were employed as raw material for the BA
bronze figurines, ingots and bronze casting residues
in the peak sanctuary on Ayios Georghios tou
Vounou (Sakellarakis 1996, 83-86, 88-90;
Broodbank et al. 2007, 230). Given the existence of
copper- and lead bearing zones, it might be
interesting to examine whether the Kythera material
could provide further proof for the importance
attached by the Minoans to the Laconian metal
resources.

exploitation of the beds of murex shell in the


Laconian gulf and the export of finished product.
The same role might have been played by the small
settlement at Cranae near Gytheion.
Certain variables, in particular the archaeological
remains from Vatika, the regions strategic position
at the crossroads of a busy sea route network and its
proximity to the Minoan colony at Kastri on
Kythera, can speak volumes about the development
of the Mycenaean culture in southern Peloponnese
and the important role played by the region within
the trans-Aegean exchange of commodities in the
Bronze Age. It is hoped that this preliminary
presentation of the archaeological evidence and the
brief assessment of diverse hypotheses will provide
the background for a) further research on the
Mycenaean presence in the area, and b) the
discussion on the interaction between the local
communities and their Aegean neighbours.
Acknowledgements
This research has been immensely benefited on
various occasions by the assistance and support of
colleagues and friends at Vatika whom I warmly
thank (in alphabetical order); A. Angelou, Dr K.
Angelopoulos, Dr E. Banou, Professor W.G.
Cavanagh (unwittingly), A. Charamis, Professor J.
Crouwel, Dr D. Conlin, Dr K. Demakopoulou, Dr E.
Faber, Dr N. Flemming, Dr M. Georgiadis, Dr Jon
Henderson, Professor R. Janko, A. Kantzilieris,
Professor Jay Kleinberg,. Dr P. Konstantinakos, V.
Kountourogiannis, P. Markos, L. Moschou, L.
Mpillinis,
M.
Mpourtzikaki-Grigorea,
A.
Panagiotopoulou, M. Papapostolou and I. Psarrakis.
I am particularly indebted to the British School at
Athens, Professor Richard Hope Simpson and
Professor Antony Harding for granting me
permission to re-study the archaeological material
from the surveys on the Malea peninsula and
Pavlopetri. This study will be included in a different
and more detailed form in my forthcoming
monograph on the Mycenaean chamber tombs at
Epidaurus Limera and the prehistory of the Malea
peninsula. My work on the archaeology of southern
Laconia has been generously supported by the
University of Nottingham, the J.F. Costopoulos
Foundation, INSTAP, The Shelby White-Leon Levy
Foundation for Archaeological Publications, the
Mediterranean Archaeological Trust and the Robert
Kiln Charitable Trust. The responsibility for any
omissions and errors of judgement remains, of
course, entirely mine.

Scholars tend to stress the importance of the


Laconian stones and metallic ores, but they place on
secondary level other parameters that would have
been essential for the placement of an area on the
top rank of regional hierarchies in Mycenaean
Laconia. Thus, scholars tend to overlook the
importance of Vatika in terms of its agricultural
resources to which the area owed most probably the
density and flourishing of its population. It has been
stressed above that the Vatika plain is only
surpassed in fertility by the plains at Sparta and
Elos. We cannot be sure of the nature of the
exchanged produce but, on the basis of the
Mycenaean administrative documents, agricultural
products held a prominent position in Mycenaean
palatial economy. Thus, the agricultural produce and
surplus of the region might have attracted the
interest of the Aegean traders in raw materials from
the area.
Equally, maybe even more important were the sea
resources of the region. The coasts off Kythera and
Gytheion were major sources of fish and murex
mollusc (Cartledge 1979, 156-57; Banou 1996, 69).
The harbour at Pavlopetri, apart from acting as a
safe landing, would have been important in terms of
fishery and the mariculture of murex. Being so close
to Kythera the main centre for purple production
it would be plausible to suggest that Pavlopetri
would have played an important role in the

303

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306

FIG. 1a. View of the LBA site at Stena: Ayioi Anargyroi (marked with arrow).
View from north-west. Photo by the author.

FIG. 1b. The hill of Ayioi Anargyroi at Stena (view from north-east)
Photo by the author.

307

FIG. 1c. The Mycenaean chamber tombs at Stena (position marked with arrows) from west-southwest
Photo: Courtesy of the BSA.

FIG. 2a. View of the Mycenaean site at Tsegianika: Kyla. Photo by the author.

308

FIG. 2b. The chamber tomb at Tsegianika: Madritsa. Photo by the author.

FIG. 3. View of the chamber tombs at Megali Spelia. Photo by the author.

309

FIG. 4. Chamber tomb at Manolarianika. Photo by the author.

FIG. 5. View of the (now) destroyed chamber tombs at Xenofontianika. Photo by the author.

310

FIG. 6a. View of a cluster of Mycenaean chamber tombs (almost completely destroyed) at Papoulianika.
Photo by the author.

FIG. 6b. a) Another chamber tomb at Papoulianika, and b) detail of the stepped entrance. Photo by the author.

311

FIG. 7. View of the Mycenaean chamber tomb at Adiakopos: Kakosouli. Photo by the author.

FIG. 8. View of the Mycenaean chamber tomb at Adiakopos: Rodi. Photo by the author.

312

FIG. 9. a) The Mycenaean chamber tomb at Kampos: Spelitsa


b) View of the tombs stepped dromos (from the interior of the burial chamber)
Photos by the author.

313

FIG. 10. View of one of the chamber tombs at Kamari/Ayios Konstantinos. Photo by the author.

FIG. 11. View of the LBA site at Mesochori: Pilales. Photo by the author.

314

FIG. 12. Chamber tomb at Anemomylos: Konstantinakeika. Photo by the author.

FIG. 13. Neapolis. View to northeast from Mycenaean site to ridges with tombs.
Photo: Courtesy of the BSA.

315

FIG. 14. Mycenaean chamber tomb at Neapolis: Avlospilo. Photo by the author.

FIG. 15. View of the stomion and the burial chamber of a Mycenaean chamber tomb at Neapolis: Charamianika.
Photo by the author.

316

FIG. 16. View of the archaeological site at Palaiokastro with Elaphonisos to the background (view from the east).
Photo by the author.

FIG. 17. View of Las: Kastelli from the south. Photo by the author.

317

FIG. 18a. Building II at Pavlopetri (view from the south). Photo: Courtesy of Dr Jon Henderson.

FIG. 18b. Cist grave at Pavlopetri. Photo: Courtesy of Dr Jon Henderson

318

FIG. 18c. Partial view of the rock-cut graves cemetery on the Pounta shore. Tomb 39 on top right.
Photo by the author.

FIG. 18d. EBA rock-cut grave at Pavlopetri. Photo by the author.

319

FIG. 19a. Elaphonisos Site B (according to listing of sites in Waterhouse and Hope Simpson 1961, 146 and fig. 14).
Photo by the author.

FIG. 19b. View from Elaphonisos Site B towards Pavlopetri and the Vatika bay. Photo by the author.

320

FIG. 20a. View of the Mycenaean site at Panagia (Kato Nisi) as in 1950s Elaphonisos Site H according to Waterhouse
and Hope Simpson 1961, 147 and fig. 14). Photo: Courtesy of BSA.

FIG. 20b. View from the site of Panagia (Kato Nisi) towards the Laconian Gulf. Photo by the author.

321