New archaeological sites attract scientific interest in the Peraia of Samothrace


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The increased presence of ceramics, stone objects, worked stones, including part of a millstone, but also shells, blades and flint cores are among the first results brought to light by archaeological research at a new site in the Peraia of Samothrace, where scientists are now directing their interest.

New archaeological sites attract scientific interest in the Peraia of Samothrace
Pottery sherds collecting during surface survey [Credit: Peraia of Samothrace Project]

The goal of the research project is to explore the diachronic landuse from prehistory to modern, both urban and rural, coastal and inland, in relation to the complexities of the enviroment and natural resources of the area opposite the island of Samothrace. The region is known in literature as the Samothracian peraia or peraia of Samothrace. 

In particular, the project examines the ancient topography and promotes the archaeology of Aegean Thrace through the systematic survey of four (4) areas of interest (AOI) in the vicinity of Petrota, Rhodope Prefecture and Dikella, Evros Prefecture. The AOI extend along the coast and to inland areas of higher elevations, which have largely been excluded from archaeological research, being overshadowed by major ancient cities like Maroneia and Zone.

Map showing location of the Peraia of Samothrace [Credit: Peraia of Samothrace Project]

The surface survey was carried out in October 2020, taking all necessary protection measures, but because the scientists were caught up in the negative developments of the second wave of the pandemic, they managed to cover only a small area and therefore the work is expected to be completed in 2021.

In addition, indications of antiquities in the subsoil, the study of which also guides the actions of scientists in this field, have also been shown by the remote sensing work carried out in conjunction with the surface survey, which focuses on the study of modern satellite images on the one hand and old satellite images and aerial photographs of the area under investigation on the other.

New archaeological sites attract scientific interest in the Peraia of Samothrace
Map of the Peraia of Samothrace [Credit: Peraia of Samothrace Project]

All this is carried out in the framework of the research project “Archaeological and Geophysical Research in the Peraia of Samothrace”, which is conducted under the auspices of the Democritus University of Thrace in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rhodope, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Evros and the Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment, Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH). It is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI).

The project is structured around three main axes: archaeological research (systematic surface survey, collection, recording and study of material), geophysical survey and remote sensing. A large part of the research is also devoted to the collection and study of ancient sources, historical maps, oral traditions and literature.

New archaeological sites attract scientific interest in the Peraia of Samothrace
A series of hills around the villages are possible fortified sites. Pictured
are  the remains of some collapsed walls near the summits
[Credit: Peraia of Samothrace Project]

The results of the survey are updated throughout the course of the project and are posted both on and on the project’s Twitter account.

Preliminary findings were presented at the 33rd Scientific Meeting on the Archaeological Project in Macedonia and Thrace (AEMTH). “We hope to complete most of the fieldwork in the current year, so that in the next AEMTH we can come back with more results from the surface and geophysical research”, says the Scientific Officer, Assistant Professor of the Department of Language, Philology and Culture of the Black Sea Countries (with specialization in Classical Archaeology) of the Democritus University of Thrace, Amalia Avramidou.

New archaeological sites attract scientific interest in the Peraia of Samothrace
The remains of a temple excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service several decades
ago in the area of Petrota beach [Credit: Peraia of Samothrace Project]

It is noted that according to the ancient sources, the periphery of Samothrace is defined as the mainland coast of Thrace opposite the island of the North Aegean, in the area extending from Mount Ismaros in the west and the Zonaia Mountains in the north and from the lower course of the river Evros in the east. In this landscape, which was of particular strategic importance for the whole of Thrace, an entire civilization developed over time, from prehistoric times until the establishment of the Roman province of Thrace.

Specifically, six settlements are mentioned in the area (Mesimvria, Zoni, Dries, Sali, Tembyra, Harakoma), of which the most important and longest-lived seem to have been Zoni, Dries and Sali. The excavation activity has at present focused only on the first one. Now, with research being directed to other parts of this site, the chances of learning more about this rich civilisation in the future are increasing.

Source: Makedonia [trsl. TANN; April 22, 2021]

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