Extensive dendrochronology sampling and test excavation at Dispilio, Northern Greece, 2019
Previous excavation at the Neolithic lakeside site of Dispilio had revealed a large pile field, which consists an ideal assemblage for reconstructing the architectural remains of the settlement and for conducting dendrochronological research. So, after several weeks of preparatory work, the extensive sampling of the wooden elements at Dispilio took place from the 26th of August to the 27th of September under the license of the Greek Ministry of Culture and the supervision of the Kastoria Ephorate for Antiquities. Researchers from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki cooperated with members of the dendrochronology team of the University of Bern, namely Prof. Kostas Kotsakis (director), Dr Tryfon Giagkoulis, John Francuz, Andrej Machkovski, Filippos Stefanou, and were assisted by Carlota Blasco Aguirre, conservator, archaeology postgraduate and undergraduate students from AUTH and workers. This research team worked on the sampling, sorting, documentation, storage and measurement of the wooden elements. Measuring and analysing the hundreds of the wood samples will continue in the following months, but the first preliminary results are impressively promising for the dating and understanding of the architectural remains and the organisation of the settlement.
During the same period, the EXPLO Aristotle University of Thessaloniki team conducted a test excavation in a small trench close to the extensive pile field. With the aim of new documentation of the stratigraphy of the site of Dispilio, the team supervised by Ioanna Siamidou and consisting of archaeology students, dug several layers of Neolithic sediments. The flotation process was overseen by Eleftheria Almasidou. The fieldwork at Dispilio was also supported by Prof. Amy Bogaard (University of Oxford), Dr Stella Kyrillidou (micromorphologist), Dr Eva Panagiotakopulu (palaeoecologist, Senior Lecturer in Palaeoecology, University of Edinburgh) and Dr Maria Ntinou (archaeobotanist). Dr Marina Sofronidou (Archaeologist, Ephorate of Antiquities of Kastoria) and Dr Evangelia Voulgari (Laboratory Teaching Staff, AUTh) assisted by archaeologist Lena Tsiola and archaeology students organised the analysis of pottery and other material culture. Yannis Stagkidis, a traditional potter, visited Dispilio to contribute to the study of ceramics.
Kostas KOTSAKIS, Thessaloniki