The team:
Director: Irene S. Lemos (Oxford)
Field Sub-Director: Dr Doniert Evely (BSA)
Apotheke Supervisor: Dr Marina Thomatos (Edinburgh /New York)
Survey Supervisor: Lindsay Spencer (UCL)
Excavation and Apotheke team: Karen Heslin (Edinburgh); Stephen Kitching (Oxford); Dr Katerina Kolotourou (Edinburgh); Antonia Livieratou (Oxford/Edinburgh); David Mitchell (Oxford); Ben Russell (Oxford); Giulia Saltini-Semerari (Oxford); Craig Walsh (Oxford)
Conservator: Kathy Hall (INSTAP); Draftswoman: Roxana Docsan
Geoarchaeology: Professor Donald Davidson (Stirling); Dr Claire Wilson (Stirling)
Geophysics: Director: Dr Apostolos Sarris (Rethymno)


Preliminary Report of the 2005 investigations

A priority this year was to understand the ancient landscape of the area. To this end, a geoarchaeological project and a geophysical investigation were undertaken. The second objective was to complete an intensive study of the excavations conducted in 2003 and 2004.

Narrow valley north-east of Xeropolis

The goal of the geoarchaeological project this year was the understanding of the environmental history of the tell. In close collaboration with Professor Davidson and Dr Wilson our objective had two parts: to assess the nature of soil erosion from the tell and to investigate the shape of the ancient coastline around it. One central issue is whether there was a natural harbour to the east and an isthmus to the west of the area under investigation, with water along much of the northern side of the tell. This investigation was carried out in the narrow valley immediately north-east of Xeropolis. The presence of water to the north is confirmed.

At different times its precise extent varied and at some points in time there may have been an enclosed or partly enclosed lagoon. In the light of the exposed nature of the coast the lagoon may well have had a shingle ridge on the seaward side. It is also possible for there to have been a similar lagoon to the north-west of Xeropolis. If this was the case, then the palaeogeography suggests an isthmus. The reconstruction of the ancient landscape, however, is complex and the overall extent and the nature of the sea's presence requires further work.


In the course of excavating one of the trenches during this year’s geoarchaeological investigation, a surprising discovered was made. This was the finding – for the first time at Lefkandi – of Late Geometric burials. We excavated two burials, both children. This discovery clearly starts filling the gap that has existed in evidence about Late Geometric funerals. One burial was an enchytrismos – buried in neck-handled amphora – and the other an inhumation.


Inhumation burial

Interestingly, following the practice of burials at Eretria and Pithekoussai, the second burial was given a Near Eastern seal. From the area of the burials a large quantity of good quality Late Geometric pottery was found.

Pottery found with burials








The geophysical survey was conducted on the top of Xeropolis, primarily on land which has been purchased. The results are not only extremely interesting but also encouraging. The preliminary data obtained suggest a number of architectural features below the surface which help us to plan future excavations on Xeropolis.

Geophysics Team

In Region II, where the geophysical survey was conducted, an intensive surface collection was also carried out under the leadership of Lindsay Spencer. The study of the material from this survey will provide comparative data to assess the relationship of the density of finds on the surface with the results produced by the geophysical investigation.

Finally a rigorous study season was also conducted this year. It incorporated a number of projects: design and application of a database for the archaeological context (including excavation and architectural units, finds, environmental and other related information); design of a database for recording pottery units and their fabric; conservation of pottery and small finds from the excavations of 2003, 2004, and 2005; drawing of pottery and other finds; and finally sorting of the residue material recovered from the soil flotation process in the excavations of 2003–5. In addition, a number of areas excavated previously were studied in order to understand their stratigraphy and chronology.


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