Classical-era house unearthed in Thrace

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An impressive residence of the Classical period (5th-4th century BC) with many artefacts, including numerous bronze and silver coins, terracotta antefixes, loom weights and figurines, jewellery and a significant quantity of ceramics and amphorae, has been brought to light by archaeologists on the Molyvoti Peninsula located on the Thracian Sea, at a site identified as ancient Stryme.

Classical-era house unearthed in Thrace
Aerial view of the site brought to light by excavations 
[Credit: Ethnos]

In the same excavation numerous artefacts were also recovered in one of the two wells that were detected and cleared outside the dwelling. Below the foundation level ceramics dating to the half of the 6th century BC were likewise discovered, while the house was likely abandoned in the last quarter of the 4th century or early 3rd century BC.

The building’s remains were re-used for the construction and upkeep of another house during the mid-4th and mid-5th centuries AD. The last phase of use of the site is dated from the second half of the 5th to the mid-6th centuries AD, when a circular building 6 meters in diameter was built over the earlier structures.

The excavation was carried out by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rhodope and the University of Princeton via the American School of Classical Studies.

Classical-era house unearthed in Thrace
Excavations at the site 
[Credit: Ethnos]

According to members of the excavation team, “the ruins of the walled settlement of the late Archaic and Classical periods, identified decades earlier, are equated with the settlement of Stryme, a colony founded by Thassians on Thracian coast in the 7th century BC., and thought to have been destroyed by Philip II”. They note however that this “identification is not universally accepted, as it has yet to be confirmed by the discovery of an inscription.”

The first findings from the area of Molyvoti came to light in the early 20th century when Bulgarian soldiers opened trenches across the coastline of Thrace during WWI. During the 1950’s the then professor of Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, George Bakalakis, made the first systematic collection of antiquities and conducted the first excavations of the site, which he identified as ancient Stryme.

The repeated use of the site largely destroyed the house of the Classical period, resulting in the excavation team to not be able to adequately discern the Interior layout and the functions of individual rooms.

Classical-era house unearthed in Thrace
Red-figure pelike discovered at the site 
[Credit: Ethnos]

“Although we are not yet able to confirm the site as ancient Stryme, we now know much more about the urban fabric of the city and the date of its establishment and abandonment. The frequent presence of red-figure Attic pottery of the 5th century BC, the many fragments of black-glazed and unglazed pottery of the 4th century BC, as well as the numerous commercial amphorae from Thasos and other centers of the northern Aegean – Mende, Lesbos and Chios – helped us to rebuild the network of trade relations for this Greek colony on the coast of Thrace. The fact that the majority of the coins from the 5th and 4th centuries BC originate from the mint at Maroneia clarifies the close relationship between the two cities, which is mentioned in ancient sources”, say archaeologists D. Terzopoulou and M. Tasaklaki.

The settlement under excavation is surrounded by walls on the northern and western sides. The area within the walls is approximately 120 acres, though part of the city to the east has today been lost to the rise in sea level. To date archaeologists have revealed sections of houses and roads, but no public buildings. A small section of the city’s aqueduct and its two ports have also been found, as well as cemeteries extending north and west of the walls.

Source: Ethnos [November 01, 2015]

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