LeSP - Sokastro Survey

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Παρασκευή, Ιούλιος 1, 2011 to Σάββατο, Ιούλιος 30, 2011

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In 2011, the focus of work shifted to Sokastro, a small rocky islet just off the coast of the northern peninsula of Kato Leukos.  It has a small plateau, ca 21,000 m2, on its top which is surrounded by a broad defensive wall with at least one gate on the north side.  Only a small part of this wall is still preserved.  The survey team systematically collected all visible artifacts via a 10 x 10m grid laid over the plateau.  The topography and major architectural remains were plotted using handheld GPS units and aerial imagery from a mounted digital camera.  These data were later integrated with Quickbird satellite imagery.

The citadel of Sokastro served a densely-packed settlement that flourished in the 11th and 12th centuries CE.  Numerous individual buildings represent two types of structures.  First, there are houses of two to three rooms each and, second, there are many large cisterns.  The latter must have had an astounding total water capacity, indicating substantial winter rains in the area with which to fill such a large number of cisterns.

Other notable buildings include a triple-apse basilica found near the eastern stretch of the defensive wall.  Two other churches may have been built on the citadel, one at the southeast corner and another at the northeast.  Although few walls are discernible amid the rubble, ecclesiastical structural elements are concentrated in these areas.  Fragments include polished granodiorite columns, marble column bases, and a small white marble capital with an incised cross and marble veneer fragments.

The collected sherds date to the 11th through 13th centuries CE., with most representing the 12th  century CE. The citadel appears to have been abandoned in the 16th century CE.  The unique presentation of preserved cisterns may exemplify a naval base of this period where ships anchored in the bay to the south where they were resupplied with water and other material.  Determining who built the citadel and when it was constructed would therefore have obvious ramifications for our meager knowledge of the naval history of the eastern Aegean in a time when Crusaders from the west were encountering Arabs from the east and Constantinople was attempting to re-assert its hegemony.


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