PALACE OF NESTOR, Pylos, GREECE

EXCAVATIONS 2015

 

 

Archaeological excavations at the Palace of Nestor resumed on May 18, 2015, under the aegis of the University of Cincinnati and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, for the first time since 1969.  The project was directed jointly by Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker. The broader program of excavations stopped on June 30.

 

The 2015 season was the first of five campaigns focused on investigating the lower town associated with the palace and the earlier history of the settlement (particularly the Middle Helladic period and the initial phases of the Late Helladic period). Some thirty-five archaeologists and students participated and more than a dozen nationalities were represented.

 

In the six weeks officially allotted to the project by the Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs, trenches were opened near the edge of the acropolis, in an area between the Wine Magazine and the Northeast Gateway, and in a large olive grove between the Northeast Gateway and Tholos IV.  These were designated as excavation areas A, B, C, and D.

 

AREA A. In our “Area A” in 2015 we opened three trenches.  We further explored a Middle Helladic dump that Blegen had located.  We also defined more precisely the course and nature of the Early Mycenaean fortification wall that Blegen had traced around the brow of the acropolis.

Palace of Nestor, Area A, Middle Helladic "dump"
Newly exposed parts of Early Mycenaean fortifications on the acropolis

Palace of Nestor, Area A, trench N-A02 (left) - Middle Helladic "dump", trench N-A03 (right) - Newly exposed parts of Early Mycenaean fortifications on the acropolis

Palace of Nestor, Area A, trench N-A01. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

AREA B. In 1959 Marion Rawson dug two test trenches in a field owned by the Petropoulos family, located northwest of the acropolis.  Near that field we were successful in finding well-stratified Middle Helladic II levels with MH III-Early Mycenaean levels, but located no architectural remains. LH II surfaces with fairly complete pots resting on them were identified at higher elevations.  Above those was slope wash seemingly deposited in LH IIIA1 (or later).

Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean layers

Palace of Nestor, Area B, trench N-B01. Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean layers.

Palace of Nestor, Area B, trench N-B01. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

AREA C.  Excavations in Area C were mostly fruitless.  Small trenches along the edge of the Demopoulos plot reached bedrock at a shallow depth and produced no finds.

 

 

Trench N-C02 was an exception since, on the first day of excavation, we uncovered the corner of a stone built shaft.  At a depth of about a meter below the surface, bronze vessels and impressions of wooden planks were found, and it became clear that we had located a shaft grave.

 

With permission of the Ministry of Culture excavation continued through October, in order to clear the finds from the grave (ca. 1500 individual objects), which contained the extended burial of a single man, ca. 30-35 years old at death.

 

The body had been buried in a wooden coffin, set on an earthen floor at a depth of 1.50 m., within a stone-built chamber approximately 2.00 x 1.05 m. in extent.  The bottom course of the chamber consisted of large ashlar blocks, perhaps repurposed from some earlier building on the acropolis.

 

 

Various grave offerings had been placed in and on top of the coffin and in the shaft around it.  These included stone and metal beads, other jewelry, sealstones, carved ivories, metal vessels (gold, silver, and bronze), and bronze weapons.

Palace of Nestor, Area C, olive grove between acropolis and Tholos IV.  Grave of “Griffin Warrior”

Palace of Nestor, Area C, olive grove between acropolis and Tholos IV.  Grave of “Griffin Warrior” (trench N-C02) on the right.

Palace of Nestor, Area C, trench N-C02. Extract of photogrammetry model, early stage of discovery (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor

AREA D. Exploratory excavations were initiated north of a fieldhouse built by Blegen from stones taken from the blocking wall of Tholos IV when it was disassembled in the 1950s by Lord William Taylour. The area was selected for excavation because of its proximity to the Dimopoulos field, which we are in the process of expropriating. Two trenches were opened, both of which exposed LH III walls.  The deposit was no deeper than 60 cm. above stereo.

Palace of Nestor, Area D, Late Helladic III walls

Palace of Nestor, Area D, trench N-D02, Late Helladic III walls

Palace of Nestor, Area D, trench N-D02. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

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Contact

 

Project Directors:

Sharon Stocker: sharon.stocker@uc.edu

Jack Davis: jack.davis@uc.edu

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Webdesign: Takin.solutions Ltd. 2016 | All Rights Reserved |  Web content: Palace of Nestor Excavation Project (PONEP)

Palace of Nestor, Area A, Middle Helladic "dump"
Newly exposed parts of Early Mycenaean fortifications on the acropolis
Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean layers
Palace of Nestor, Area C, olive grove between acropolis and Tholos IV.  Grave of “Griffin Warrior”
Palace of Nestor, Area D, Late Helladic III walls

Contact

 

Project Directors:

Sharon Stocker: sharon.stocker@uc.edu

Jack Davis: jack.davis@uc.edu

The Griffin Warrior needs your help!

Webdesign: Takin.solutions Ltd. 2016 | All Rights Reserved |  Web content: University of Cincinnati Excavations at the Palace of Nestor (UCEPON)

PALACE OF NESTOR, Pylos, GREECE

EXCAVATIONS 2015

 

 

Archaeological excavations at the Palace of Nestor resumed on May 18, 2015, under the aegis of the University of Cincinnati and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, for the first time since 1969.  The project was directed jointly by Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker. The broader program of excavations stopped on June 30.

 

The 2015 season was the first of five campaigns focused on investigating the lower town associated with the palace and the earlier history of the settlement (particularly the Middle Helladic period and the initial phases of the Late Helladic period). Some thirty-five archaeologists and students participated and more than a dozen nationalities were represented.

 

In the six weeks officially allotted to the project by the Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs, trenches were opened near the edge of the acropolis, in an area between the Wine Magazine and the Northeast Gateway, and in a large olive grove between the Northeast Gateway and Tholos IV.  These were designated as excavation areas A, B, C, and D.

 

AREA A. In our “Area A” in 2015 we opened three trenches.  We further explored a Middle Helladic dump that Blegen had located.  We also defined more precisely the course and nature of the Early Mycenaean fortification wall that Blegen had traced around the brow of the acropolis.

Palace of Nestor, Area A, Middle Helladic "dump"
Newly exposed parts of Early Mycenaean fortifications on the acropolis

Palace of Nestor, Area A, trench N-A02 (left) - Middle Helladic "dump", trench N-A03 (right) - Newly exposed parts of Early Mycenaean fortifications on the acropolis

Palace of Nestor, Area A, trench N-A01. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

AREA B. In 1959 Marion Rawson dug two test trenches in a field owned by the Petropoulos family, located northwest of the acropolis.  Near that field we were successful in finding well-stratified Middle Helladic II levels with MH III-Early Mycenaean levels, but located no architectural remains. LH II surfaces with fairly complete pots resting on them were identified at higher elevations.  Above those was slope wash seemingly deposited in LH IIIA1 (or later).

Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean layers

Palace of Nestor, Area B, trench N-B01. Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean layers.

Palace of Nestor, Area B, trench N-B01. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

AREA C.  Excavations in Area C were mostly fruitless.  Small trenches along the edge of the Demopoulos plot reached bedrock at a shallow depth and produced no finds.

 

Trench N-C02 was an exception since, on the first day of excavation, we uncovered the corner of a stone built shaft.  At a depth of about a meter below the surface, bronze vessels and impressions of wooden planks were found, and it became clear that we had located a shaft grave.

 

With permission of the Ministry of Culture excavation continued through October, in order to clear the finds from the grave (ca. 1500 individual objects), which contained the extended burial of a single man, ca. 30-35 years old at death.

 

The body had been buried in a wooden coffin, set on an earthen floor at a depth of 1.50 m., within a stone-built chamber approximately 2.00 x 1.05 m. in extent.  The bottom course of the chamber consisted of large ashlar blocks, perhaps repurposed from some earlier building on the acropolis.

 

Various grave offerings had been placed in and on top of the coffin and in the shaft around it.  These included stone and metal beads, other jewelry, sealstones, carved ivories, metal vessels (gold, silver, and bronze), and bronze weapons.

Palace of Nestor, Area C, olive grove between acropolis and Tholos IV.  Grave of “Griffin Warrior”

Palace of Nestor, Area C, olive grove between acropolis and Tholos IV.  Grave of “Griffin Warrior” (trench N-C02) on the right.

Palace of Nestor, Area C, trench N-C02. Extract of photogrammetry model, early stage of discovery (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor

AREA D. Exploratory excavations were initiated north of a fieldhouse built by Blegen from stones taken from the blocking wall of Tholos IV when it was disassembled in the 1950s by Lord William Taylour. The area was selected for excavation because of its proximity to the Dimopoulos field, which we are in the process of expropriating. Two trenches were opened, both of which exposed LH III walls.  The deposit was no deeper than 60 cm. above stereo.

Palace of Nestor, Area D, Late Helladic III walls

Palace of Nestor, Area D, Late Helladic III walls

Palace of Nestor, Area D, trench N-D02. Extract of photogrammetry model (Credit: Denitsa Nenova, Excavations at the Palace of Nestor)

The Griffin Warrior needs your help!

Webdesign: Takin.solutions Ltd. 2016 | All Rights Reserved |  Web content: University of Cincinnati Excavations at the Palace of Nestor (UCEPON)