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Feltarbeid i Arkadia - Norwegian Arcadia Survey. Part II. Sites and Marginal Landscapes.

Mirmingofolies, possible mound. Hege and Jonathan Krzywinsk.

Report for the archaeological fieldwork conducted in 2011.

The Norwegian Arcadia Survey Part II (NAS 2) conducted archaeological fieldwork in three periods during 2011. The most extensive fieldwork was conducted in the period 10.06 – 24.06.2011. The participants were then Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisøy (the project manager), Nils Ole Sundet, Jonatan Krzywinski, Dorthea Alisøy and Harald Klempe. Our work was this year funded by the Norwegian Institute at Athens, the Meltzer foundation and the B.E. Bendixens fund. In addition one week of find processing was done in February and one in November, then only by the project manager, Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisøy.


Our aim for this year’s activity was to get a better understanding of the finds in the area of Ag. Dimitrios and Mirmingofolies. During the field season of 2010 a short reconnaissance was done resulting in both prehistoric and medieval finds. This year the geologist Harald Klempe conducted investigations using a ground penetrating radar (GPR) of a find concentration previously found during the season of 2009 at the site of Chairolimnes (site 1). This archaeological material here mainly prehistoric, and then Early and/or Middle Helladic. We have chosen this site due to its very marked find concentration. We thus consider it to be suitable for testing the method of GPR searching for prehistoric structures.

Also this year a great amount of archaeological material previously collected was analysed. We aimed to complete processing the material collected during the fieldwork in 2008 and 2009.


In February the project manager, Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisøy, stayed one week in Tegea analysing the archaeological material found during the fieldwork in 2008 and 2009. The Swedish archaeologist Ann-Louise Schallin was of great help as she stayed for one day. She is an expert on Mycenaean pottery and has previously worked with the prehistoric material from the Asea survey. Her input was vital for getting a more detailed chronological understanding of the material.

The processing of the archaeological finds was continued during the season in June. The focus was on the prehistoric material, but also parts of the medieval and early modern material was analysed. We did not manage to complete the work, but some preliminary tendencies are emerging. At the site Chairolimnes (site 1) are there at least two concentrations of finds both dated to the Early Helladic. This correlates with the chronological interpretation by Roger Howell, but only one of the find concentrations is included in his study. Despite chronological similarities the two find concentrations show marked differences in type of archaeological material present. This may represent two different settlements, not contemporary, or two distinct activity areas within the same settlement. A further analysis of the material is needed. At Chairolimnes there are also traces of later settlements from medieval and early modern period. This material has yet not been studied. One of he find concentrations of Early Helladic find was chosen as a test area for using GPR. This investigation was conducted by the geologist Dr Harald Klempe, University College Telemark. The results from this investigation are not ready at this point, but the preliminary results are promising. There are clearly structures underlying this find concentration, but a further analysis is needed to try to relate the finds with the possible structure.


Early Helladic material is also found at the site Mirmingofolies (site 5). It should be said that this is based on a very limited archaeological material. Roger Howell reports of this site and also dates it to Early Helladic. He also refers to graves previously found be local farmers. At this location there are some small stone structures. Their location as well as the stones used indicates that this could be grave mounds. The survey conducted this year also revealed new stone structures nearby.  The majority of these are of a medieval or early modern date, probably related to the settlement at Ag Dimitrios (site 6). Most of these structures are agricultural terrace walls and irrigation canals. However, there are a few low mounds that clearly precede these later structures. A further investigation of this area is thus needed.

Following the dirt road down from Mirmingofolies towards Ag Dimitrios we found a marked concentration of finds. Some of these clearly date to Late Helladic, and most likely also Late Helladic III. The concentration was discovered last year, but a systematic survey, using method 4 (a survey-transect along a dirt road. A transect is 100 meters long and as wide as the road. One field walker in each wheel track and finds are counted for each 20 meters. One sample of the archaeological material is collected for the whole transect. This should be a representative sample according to type and chronology), was conducted this summer. A full investigation of the area is, however, difficult due to very dense vegetation. So far this is the only site with a Mycenaean dating within our survey area. 

The site Psili Vrisi Vationa (site 3) is by Roger Howell interpreted as a Mycenaean site. The survey material collected during the field season in 2009 indicates, however, to a Middle Helladic and early part of Late Helladic (LH I) dating. Initially we had also hope to conduct investigations with GPR at selected areas of this site. Unfortunately, we ran out of time. Hopefully a GPR investigation can be done next year at Psili Vrisi Vationa.   

Survey along a dirt road. Nils Ole Sundet and Dorthea Alisøy in the distance.

The filed survey that was conducted this year was in the area of Ag Dimitrios and Mirmingofolies. This was a continuation of the work done previously year. As already mentioned we registered an area just south of Mirmingofolies (site 4) with various stone structures. The majority most likely related to the medieval and/or early modern settlement of Ag Dimitrios (site 5). This area was surveyed using method 5 (transects of irregular shape and size. This method is applied for reconnaissance in new areas. The number of filed walkers may vary. One representative sample is collected for each transect). We also tried to map some of the stone structures in order to get an impression of their extension and character. Starting at Mirmingofolies (site 4) we applied method 4. This method of survey was done down to Ag Dimitrios. Beside the concentration of Mycenaean finds medieval and early modern finds were scattered all over, but increasing towards the site of Ag Dimitrios (site 5). A reconnaissance (method 5) was done covering most of the hill of Ag Dimitrios. On the western slope of the hill, next to a dirt road leading down to the modern village Psili Vrisi, there was a spring with a large cistern. This slope was very fertile and covered by very high terrace. On the western top of the hill several stone structures, possibly related to a settlement, were found. All the finds from this area are consistent with the preliminary dating to medieval and/or early modern period. Very dense vegetation is also a problem in this area, especially in the western slope.


This year’s fieldwork has been very rewarding giving interesting results. The continuing analysis of mostly the prehistoric material has resulted in a better and more detailed chronology. The archaeological field work conducted has resulted in one new settlement with Mycenaean pottery as well as a better understanding of the extent of the medieval/early modern settlement at Ag Dimitrios. At the early Helladic settlement at Mirmingofolies, also documented by Howell, we have found some possible grave mounds.

In the area of Chairolimnes we have also conducted an investigation using GPR. The preliminary results are so far promising, but further analysis is needed. Hopefully we can relate these finds with the concentration of Early Helladic finds in this area.


Bakke et al, ”Tegea: Norsk arkeologi i Hellas. En innledning”, Viking. Norsk arkeologisk årbok,  2010, nr. 73, s. 173-178.

Bakke, J., ”Finnes det et bysantinsk Tegea: Problemer og hypoteser i den peloponnesiske middelalderarkeologien”, Viking. Norsk arkeologisk årbok, 2010, nr. 73, s. 205-220.>

Bakke, J., ”Den greske bystatens geohistoriske marginer: Om videreføringen av norsk landskapsarkeologi i Tegea 2008-2012”, Klassisk forum, 2010, s. 47-60.


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