KKAP - Excavations: Building 10

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KKAP

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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This component of KKAP is the Canadian excavation of a house labeled "Building 10”.  The goal of this excavation project, which ran from 2007 to 2013, is to obtain better insight into the domestic economy of households found in this city and to chart changes in household and city organization over time.  Particular attention has been paid to the location of finds so that a detailed analysis of the artefacts’ spatial distribution can be used to elucidate the organization of domestic activities and clarify the economic base of the household.

Building 10 is located at the corner of Avenue B and Street 3 in the northeastern section of the town, an area where the foundations of many housing blocks are still visible. The building is a large Hellenistic mansion dating to the late 3rd century BCE which was abandoned around the end of the second century BCE.  This large house, measuring 19.45 x 14.60 m, has ten rooms surrounding a central courtyard/atrium.  Overall, the building has a number of unusual features, but its construction, layout, and decoration are clearly similar to contemporary architectural styles in Greek domestic architecture.

For example, the central atrium (Area 3) displays a distinct Roman influence and the wall paintings and domestic items must have articulated the wealth of this household. Houses of the Late Hellenistic period with Roman influences have been found in various other areas such as Delos and Northwestern Greece, but thus far not in inland Thessaly and never one dating to a period this early, making Building 10 extremely unique.

One of the last rooms to be excavated, Room 11, is another indicator of the overall wealth of the household.  In this 7.3 x 5.2 m area, 10 large storage vessels, pithoi, were found in situ with pits in the floor for at least another four vessels.  Five of them were very large in size, measuring at least 1 m in diameter, and one of the smaller vessels had toppled over and the burnt remains of spilled organic contents were found on the floor.  Many other smaller containers were found between the pithoi which must have fallen from shelving on the wall of the room.

To the north of Unit K, across the building’s narrow entry corridor, are Rooms  2 and 2a.  The entrances to both are marked by large, well-worked threshold stones in situ which must have housed impressive double leaved doors.  Room 2a may have served as an antechamber for the main part of the room, Room 2.  Excavations found that this room had the most elaborate wall decoration of the building, consisting of large plaques of moulded grey plaster imitating marble.  The room therefore must have been the setting of public activities, such as receiving visitors.  Finds point to a more domestic use but may not be representative for the activities that took place in this room.  Many loomweights were found here, for instance, which may have fallen from the second floor.

In the other corner of the north face, the northwest, is Room 6 which may have functioned as a main living area.  In the hearth a sacrifice was found which was deposited in a stamnoid pyxis which was decorated with a snake. This may pint to a domestic worship of Zeus Ktesios.  Next to it is Room 5, a room which possesses a floor of waterproof plaster and contained many finds.  The assemblage had ca. 20 unguentaria, which served as perfume or oil bottles, suggesting that this room served as a bathroom.  However, also found here were 40 loomweights in a row along the far wall.  Their location in the bathroom, a room with limited light, suggests that weaving did not occur here but rather that the weights were stored on a shelf.

In Units F and I, a large room (Room 10) was identified which gave access to Unit A (Room 9) in the southwest corner.  Excavators also find large pieces of a bathtub in the area as well as two stones with round protrusions and the marble base of a louter.  Finally, at least three sets of hopper-rubber type grinding stones were found throughout Room 9, in Room 10, and in the central courtyard.

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http://www.greekarchaeology.org