Project Team Members:
Over the course of three seasons, from 2007 to 2009, the EBAP survey investigated 1,453 units of land, comprising a 20% sample of the survey region around the modern villages of Tanagra, Arma, and Eleon. Each year, work was carried out in an intensive manner in which walkers spaced 10 m apart walked individual transects. In the first year of work, 56,000 sherds were counted in the field, of which nearly 7,000 were retained for analysis. Observed sherd densities were relatively high, with an average field density of 0.45 sherds/square metre, with several fields possessing densities higher than 1 sherd/square metre. Preliminary analysis was carried out each year, and a full study season in 2010 focused on the creation of chronological sequences based on this material (detailed on the main EBAP page of this website).
The focus of work shifted each year. In 2007, field walkers concentrated on the elevated acropolis of Eleon and its immediate environs. In 2008, the goal was to provide context for several known locations of archaeological and architectural remains: Mycenaean tombs at the locations of Dendron and Gephyra, the kastro located on the peak to the area’s southwest, and a medieval tower to the northwest. In 2008 surveyors were also able to locate several chamber tombs excavated in the 1960s and 1970s which contained the famous painted larrnakes. In 2009 work primarily focused on the western half of the permit area where general results confirmed the importance of the acropolis site. Researchers also surveyed an area just below the acropolis of Eleon which had been too overgrown in previous years for fieldwork. Here, extremely high quality Mycenaean pottery continued to be found. While concentrated in this area, Bronze Age ceramics were generally absent from the western survey zone.
In addition to pedestrian survey, architectural and geological/petrographic surveys were carried out. Architectural survey in 2007 focused on establishing a system to record Eleon’s standing remains through computer-assisted design. The main target was the site’s 70 m long curved wall, built of Lesbian polygonal masonry preserved in some areas to a height of 5 m. A partial foundation of a 3 x 3 m tower was also located to the west of the elevated centre of the site, which may be related to the edge of an expanded settlement possibly built during the Classical period. A number of chamber tombs were recorded on the slopes of hills surrounding Eleon, most of which were opened fairly recently. The largest concentration of tombs around Eleon was found below the church of Profitis Eleias where over 20 tombs were recorded and mapped. All were heavily disturbed and devoid of ancient material. Natural erosion and modern damage made the exact dimensions of many difficult to determine. One relatively intact tomb had a dromos of ca 6 m with a substantial chamber preserved in the rock containing evidence of modern use as a shelter. In 2008, petrographic and geological work focusing on the eastern side of the region was begun which will result in the completion of a map of subsurface deposits, the sourcing of building material, and a reconstruction of tectonic history and shifts in water sources.