Fouilles archéologiques à Khostia en Boéotie

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FaKB

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Sunday, June 1, 1980 to Wednesday, August 31, 1983

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The Fouilles archéologiques à Khostia en Béotie (FaKB), in the field between 1980 and 1983, was the first project granted a permit through the then newly founded Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens.  The Khostia project, directed by John Fossey, was a pioneering project which had a degree of uncertainty permeating the years of research.  It was not sure whether annual permits would be issued, whether grant money would be forthcoming, or if there was sufficient personnel from the office of the 9th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at Thebes available to supervise the work.  In the end, Khostia proved to be a successful project and learning opportunity for the opening years of Canadian-operated research in Greece.

The site’s general arrangement consists of an acropolis at its core, with the western and eastern quarters falling on either side of the acropolis.  To the south of the eastern quarter is the southern quarter, where two towers of the city wall are present.  Further to the south lies an area which has been identified as an industrial sector, details of which are noted in the lower town section.

Khostia appears to have been occupied, discontinuously, from the Middle Neolithic period onwards.  Down to the Archaic period, occupation is represented by only scattered surface material and sherds in a few mixed accumulation deposits.  The only structural remains from the prehistoric period are several terrace walls in Cyclopean masonry and a variety of later polygonal styles.  In the later Classical, site activity becomes much more intense.  Extensive fortifications are built around the acropolis and lower city in ashlar style which show a considerable degree of sophistication.  They appear to have been in use until the Hellenistic period when the site is destroyed and abandoned.

The causes of this abandonment are unclear, although the appearance of the Romans may be responsible.  It is known that the Romans dealt sternly with the immediately neighbouring city of Thisbe around 170 BCE, and Khostia may have suffered the same fate.  Whatever the cause of the destruction, the site was unoccupied for several centuries until the Late Roman period.  In the 5th century CE the walls were reinforced in a poor mortared style and many buildings were erected in the interior, using blocks lying around from the earlier destruction of the city’s walls.  The final end of occupation came within the Late Roman period with another destruction accompanied by widespread fire.  During both the Hellenistic and Roman occupations there is evidence that olive cultivation and sheep rearing for wool were important industries.

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Bibliography: 

Morin, Jacques. 2004. Khostia II: The Bronze Age. McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History. Chicago: Ares Publishers.

Fossey, John M. ed. 1986. Khostia I: Resultats des exploration et fouilles canadiennes à Khostia, Grèce Centrale. I : Etudes Diverses. McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History 5. Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben.

Fossey, John M. and Jacques Morin eds. 1986. Khostia 1983: Rapport préliminaire sur la seconde campagne de fouilles canadiennes à Khostia en Béotie, Grèce Centrale. McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History 3. Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben

Fossey, John M. ed. 1981. Khostia 1980: Preliminary Report on the First Season of Canadian Excavations at Khostia, Boiotia, Central Greece. McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeolgy and History 1. Montreal: McGill.

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