Project Team Members:
The town of Khostia provided the opportunity for a full examination and excavation of an ‘average’ settlement site in Boeotia, presenting a fair cross-section of the sorts of features commonly encountered in the sites of Boeotia. Much of the excavation throughout the city focused on examining the history of the masonry (and thus defences) on the site and its cultural sequence. Trenches were placed in several parts of the site to investigate the stratification associated with the different walling types and two of the gateways. Many of the trenches extended into the site’s interior so as to give some indications of the general internal stratigraphy in various parts of the site.
Examination of the fortifications found a number of construction techniques, indicating a complex history of use and reconstruction. Several Cyclopean style walls were likely used for terracing, while the first truly defensive architecture is of polygonal style. These sections are distributed around the site and are associated with the Archaic and early Classical periods. There is a chance that the polygonal walls were also retaining walls. The earliest sections of certain fortifications are built in isodomic ashlar style with a terminus post quem of the later Classical period. Throughout the course of the wall, the builders made use of the natural topography wherever possible. It appears that the ashlar walls were deliberately weakened at the close of the Hellenistic period, leading to the final stage of the site’s fortification in the reconstruction phase of the Roman period.
Besides fortifications, exploration of the area revealed a curious zone to the south of the walled settlement where the bedrock had been quarried, most likely for the construction of the town’s defenses and major buildings. This flattened area contained numerous cuttings, pits, channels, and a trough. The similarity of these cuttings to those found within the city (assumed to be part of an olive press facility) suggested that the extramural zone might contain the remains of some other working establishments. The excavated complex consisted of two rooms on the north side of a large open court. Each room had a number of carved pits, channels, and cisterns. Given the large number of loom weights discovered, the area has been interpreted as some kind of textile work zone. The various cuttings and cisterns are therefore indicative of the use of liquids used for dying materials.