New evidence suggests the port of Lechaion in Corinth dates to the Late Bronze Age

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The port of Lechaion, on the shores of the Corinthian Gulf, has been the largest harbour of ancient Corinth since 600 BCE.

A collaborative research effort between the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Institute of Denmark in Athens aimed to study and highlight the earliest period of use of this ancient port. This period is linked to the establishment of ancient Corinth as a robust trans-shipment centre for trade, both before and during the colonization of the West.

The Lechaion harbour area and the drilling locations. The pre- and protohistoric site of Korakou, which was occupied until the end of the Bronze Age, is located on top of a hill, west of the harbour area [Credit: A. Chabrol et al, 2023]
The Lechaion harbour area and the drilling locations [Credit: Lechaion Harbour Project]
Location of the sites and pre- and protohistoric silver‑lead mines mentioned in the text (Vaxevanopoulos et al., 2022; Morin and Photiades, 2005). The brown coal (lignite) sources in the Peloponnese (Kavvadas et al., 2020) [Credit: A. Chabrol et al, 2023]

After extensive sampling and laboratory analyses, the Lechaion Harbour Project brings to light significant evidence indicating intense metallurgical activity in the area of the ancient harbour from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Sediments recovered from the harbour basins show high concentrations of lead and lignite. These concentrations, mixed with organic remains, are radiocarbon-dated to the end of the Bronze Age (1381-1056 BCE).

These new findings contribute to a better understanding of developments in metallurgy and maritime trade activities in Corinth and the broader Eastern Mediterranean during the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The results, just published in the journal Marine Geology, represent some of the earliest indications of harbour activity in the European region.

Source: Lechaion Harbour Project [November 03, 2023]

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