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Archaeological Site of Kalogerovrysi

Last Update: Apr 2011
Archaeological site FYLA , CHALKIDA , GREECE
Tel.: +30 22210 25131

Archaeological Site of Kalogerovrysi - Overview

The settlement is located in the mountainous area of central Euboea, 15 km from Chalkis, on a low rise surrounded by a pine forest. In the immediate vicinity of the site there are a spring and an old monastery all the area is named from, Kalogerovrysi exactly meaning the spring of the monks. It is unfortunate that the south part of the settlement was recently dispersed by ploughing. Most of the remainder, though, was excavated consisting section I, while section II comprised the northern area and the peak. The excavation began in 1984 and finished in 1991.
The remote location, the dense forest and the lack of available land for cultivation seem not to have discouraged the prehistoric population from settling in the area. On the contrary, systematic surveys proved that Kalogerovrysi and its vicinity were in all periods occupied more densely than expected.
Although Kalogerovrysi is a site of small extent, the fact that it has been occupied for over 1500 years, however not continually, is striking and arises attention. The very early prehistoric remains of Kalogerovrysi found in the deposits of the peak, but scantily traced elsewhere, are dated with certainty to Early Helladic 1. They are ceramic finds having no chronological correlation to any buildings. In Early Bronze Age 2 the population of Euboia and generally of central and south Greece is suddenly augmented. In the early 3rd millennium BC Kalogerovrysi starts being occupied more intensively and becomes an off-centre "provincial village" probably of seasonal use and mostly depended on husbandry.
In the south slope (sector I) came to light an Early Helladic 2 building called building 1 (B1), the walls of which are preserved up to a considerable height. A threshold can still be seen in the south side of the room, as well as two benches built against the walls, a niche to the north, while an ash hearth probably indicates a cooking place. Two Middle Helladic buildings were later constructed on B1, both preserving the floors. Part of an apsidal EH building (B2) was preserved on a higher level to the north. Stone walls were low and their upper surface had been obviously smoothed so that the mudbrick superstructure would fit to it. An extensive stone paving was brought to light in its northern part. A third EH building (B8) was excavated 20 m. to the west of B1, also comprising an ash hearth encircled with stones. Later, Middle Helladic constructions had destroyed most of another Early Bronze Age building located on a higher place, to the north of B8. In sector II deposits were very thin and facilitated buildings weathering. The excavation brought to light remains of two EH 2 buildings and part of a large wall that probably bound the settlement to the north. An internal construction found in one of the EH buildings was full of pottery and animal bones, and suggested that it was a cooking place.
The EH 1 pottery consists of a completely homogeneous ceramic group. Most sherds are of unpainted or monochrome ware with thick brown or reddish slip and belong principally to open vases of mainly triangular lip and secondarily to closed ones. New ceramic features appear, that would become very popular later, in EH 2, such as the broad tubed handles and the triangular lips.
Early Helladic 2 pottery can be divided in two groups: vases of type A (93%) and of type B (7%). Type A ware is of reddish clay and has been slipped with red or brown coating. Most shapes are shallow or medium-sized bowls with in-curved outline. Type B ware becomes very popular in Euboia during the EH 2 and is of whitish porous clay, with coarse surface that bears no burnishing or slipping. Vase shapes include bowls, big or medium-sized open vases with triangular rims, open bowls with carination just under the rim. Closed vessels have low, medium or high necks, sometimes out-curving, such as the hydriai and the much bigger broad-mouthed pithoi with ribbon handles or lugs. In any case Manika 3-Lefkandi I ware is totally absent, implying a gap between late Early and early Middle Bronze Age occupation of the site.
The Middle Helladic buildings in sector I have survived ploughing and erosion much better. To B7 belongs a compound construction of four rooms, the walls still standing up to a considerable height; the floor was found covered with tiles, immediate implication of an inclined roof. Part of another paved structure came to light 15m west of B7 with a small-sized cist grave opened in the floor. MH cist graves were found among buildings. Two of them were plundered, while the rest contained no finds. The habit of burying the dead within the settlement has already been observed in other MH sites. In Sector II very few MH debris have survived ploughing, within which a beak-spouted jug, and copper tools consist the more interesting finds. The few copper tools that came to light belong to the first MH phase of Kalogerovrysi (phase III) and comprise a part of a pair of pincers from grave 1, a knife and a thin implement from section II with broad ending, looking like chisel.
Minyan is the well-known group of wheel-made pottery that can be found in every early Middle Helladic site. Kalogerovrysi minyan pottery belongs to a later MH stage (phase III), when it coexists with matt-painted ware. Shapes are variable: shallow or medium-sized bowls, plates, open vases of S-shape or carinated profile, kantharoid and pedestaled cups. There is also plain wheel-made pottery of very fine clay of grey surface. Plain ware of phase IV is wheel-made, of fine clay that bears many similarities with the respective group of phase III. Coarse unpainted pottery of phase III-IV is found in both Middle Helladic phases of Kalogerovrysi, in the first being more abundant. Matt-painted specimens are few in Kalogerovrysi; especially, early MH matt-painted ware is very scantily found (phase III), while of later stage are pretty enough (phase IV).
The settlement was still occupied in early Late Helladic I, representing the transitional step from Middle to Late Bronze Age. Along with the older pottery styles new shapes make their appearance. To this period are dated a few bases coming from different types of kylices. It is probable, though, that buildings of the previous phase were continually occupied for about 100 years (middle 17th-middle 16th c. BC). The presence of a big-sized plundered shaft-grave of mycenaean type is exceptional. It must have been constructed when the site was not any more occupied for residence, in LH I. The sole finds left behind were the skeletal remains of a male in a semi-contracted position, a button of steatite and a few scattered sherds of LH I. The excavation showed that it was used more than once.
Twelve millstones and ten grinders dated to all phases of Kalogerovrysi were found among the debris. To EH 1-2 and to MH periods belong several types of clay spindle-whorls. A bone handle probably used as haft to a copper tool, a fayence bead from a LH layer, and a row of sealings with spiral pattern on a big-sized EH 2 vase are some more finds of high interest. Obsidian was also few, which is a likely indication that no local manufacture was being undertaken in Kalogerovrysi, since no cores and flakes were found. It is very probable that local dwellers had brought from elsewhere a small number of tools for their limited needs. Moreover, to EH 1 are dated a flint blade and a retouched flake. Finally, a stone axe was found within a MH layer of section I and is probably a neolithic tool in second-hand.

Text: Adamantios Sampson

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  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 22210 25131, 22210 76131, Fax: 22210 25131
    11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Chalkida

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Visiting Information • By appointment • No public access
Ancient monuments • Houses / Early Helladic period, 3200-2000 BC / Middle Helladic period, 2000-1600 BC • Tombs / Middle Helladic period, 2000-1600 BC
Prehistoric settlement • Bronze Age, 3200-1050 BC

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