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New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline


More new archaeological sites have been uncovered in Thrace and Macedonia as the construction phase of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) continues to traverse through Greece.

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
More than 400 archaeological excavations have been completed along TAP's path [Credit: TAP]
Thrace, Greece

Archaeological remnants of human activity in Thrace from the Neolithic (4th millennium BC) to the post-Byzantine period have been brought to light from archaeological excavations, carried out in the context of construction works for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG.

This is supported by the findings of archaeologists who are employed in the area by the project and monitored by the local Ephorates of Antiquities (of Evros, Rhodope and Xanthi), as well as the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

- Evros Regional Unit -

Starting from the east, during TAP construction works in Evros a total of 30 locations of archaeological interest were identified, from Kipoi in the Greek-Turkish border, to the area of Sykorrachi in the west. These include cemeteries, architectural remains, artisanal and other findings, dating from the antiquity to the later Byzantine period.

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Potamos: early Byzantine three-nave basilica [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Potamos: Roman cist grave [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Potamos: Glass unguentarium from the Roman grave [Credit: TAP]
"The findings are associated with already known archaeological sites in the vicinity, as well as new and –up to now unknown– archaeological locations. All findings are kept in the storage facilities of the local Ephorate of Antiquities, and many of them have already been conserved and are being studied by our staff archaeologists," stated the Head of the Rhodope Ephorate of Antiquities and former head of the respective Ephorate of Evros, Chrysa Karadima. Also participating in the research were archaeologist and project manager, Zoe Miltsakaki, and archaeologist Filoxeni Aitatoglou, who was in charge of coordination of the works.

Archaeological research in Evros mainly focused on four excavations, all in the Municipality of Alexandroupolis. According to the scientists, these locations document the area’s historical significance due to the number and kind of the findings:   

- late antiquity cemetary in Gemisti

- late Byzantine cemetary in Palagia

- architectural remnants of an early Byzantine three-nave basilica in Potamos 

- cist Roman grave with rich grave goods, also in Potamos

- Rhodope Regional Unit -

Twelve unknown archaeological findings were unearthed and recorded during construction works in Rhodope. From these, according to the Head of the local Ephorate, Chrysa Karadima, and the archaeologist in charge, Marina Tasaklaki, two evolved into large-scale rescue excavations and are now identified as locations of archaeological interest.

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Arsakeio: building and graves (4th-5th century AD) [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Galini: Roman graves [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Amaxades: stability works on Anastasioupolis Wall [Credit: TAP]
The findings include:

- the Arsakeio area of the Maroneia-Sapes Municipality, where two phases of use were identified,

  • - one belonging to the Roman/late Roman period (4th-5th century AD) and relating to findings such as: kiln, remnants of a rectangular and a circular building, well and large pots. Out of these, the kiln has already been transferred to the courtyard of the Komotini Archaeological Museum, with the intention to use it in the local Ephorate’s educational projects.
  • - and a second one, belonging to the Byzantine period and relating to 55 graves, mainly pit-like and unadorned.

- the Galini area of the Iasmos Municipality, where part of a Roman cemetary was excavated.

Finally, added Ms Karadima and Ms Tasaklaki, "in the Amaxades area of Iasmos, TAP crosses with the Byzantine Wall of Anastasioupolis, dated to the Justinian period and presenting singular scientific interest – regarding both its construction and operation. That’s because the 2.4km wall combined the dual role of aqueduct and fortification. In order to protect the monument, the construction of the pipeline in the area was carried out without trenching, but by the use of the boring method instead – after performing restoration maintenance and fastening works, to ensure stability."     

- Xanthi Regional Unit -

The most impressive aspect of the rescue excavations carried out in the context of TAP’s construction in Xanthi, is that none of the archaeological locations identified were known beforehand. According to the Head of the local Ephorate, Konstantina Kallintzi, and the archaeologists Maria Chrysafi, Kyriaki Hadjiprokopiou and Despoina Skoulariki, this is very significant, as it enriches both archaeological topography and scientific knowledge.   

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Sounio: stone tools from an early Bronze Age settlement (3,200-2,000 BC) [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Polysitos: 4th century BC fortress (reign of Philip II) [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Grigoro: glass jewellery-graved goods from middle-Byzantine cemetary (10th-12th century AD) [Credit: TAP]
Antiquities were excavated in several levels compared to today’s ground surface, dating from the Neolithic to the post-Byzantine period. The local Ephorate identifies the following as the most important findings:

- Remnants of an early Bronze Age settlement (3,200-2,000 BC), in Sounio, Avdira Municipality.

- Iron Age ceramic pots and Thracian graves (8th century BC), in Grigoro, Avdira Municipality.

- 4th century BC fortress related to Philip II’s activities in coastal Thrace, Polysitos, Avdira Municipality.

- Remnants of Roman metalwork activities, in Kossos, Topeiros Municipality.

- 3rd-4th century AD settlement, including artisan workshops, ceramic kiln and a location for storing coins and/or metal objects, in Sounio, Avdira Municipality. The selection of the location is linked to the proximity of the Roman Via Egnatia.

- Middle-Byzantine cemetary (10th-12th century AD), in Grigoro, Avdira Municipality: pit-shaped and cist graves were excavated, several of them adorned with glass and bronze jewellery.

- Post-Byzantine aqueducts, in Kossos, Topeiros Municipality, as well as in Tecton, Feloni and Vafeïka in the Avdira Municipality.

Region of Central Macedonia, Greece

Archaeological remnants of human activity in Central Macedonia from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine period have been brought to light in archaeological excavations, carried out in the context of construction works for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG.

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Karteres: artisan workshops for the processing of leather or wool [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Assiros: early Christian graveyard [Credit: TAP] 
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Pentalofos: pits and hearth in prehistoric settlement [Credit: TAP]
The work has been undertaken by archaeologists, who are employed in the area by the TAP project and monitored by the local Ephorates of Antiquities (of Thessaloniki, Kilkis and Serres), as well as the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

- Thessaloniki Regional Unit -

Starting off from the largest Regional Unit, and specifically the Municipalities of Langadas and Oraiokastro, archaeological works focused on an area extending from the Evangelistria district to Pentalofos and the River Gallikos. Thanks to these excavations, many archaeological sites were unearthed –particularly in the mountainous areas– that had remained unexplored to date. The Ephorate of Antiquities, under its head, Maria Tsiapali, and the archaeologist in charge, Anna Panti, singled out the most significant findings:                                             

- Two ashlar-built graves in Evangelistria (in a poor condition).

- Ruins of a Roman building, between Lachanas and Evangelistria

- Two unadorned graves in the Karteres area

- Remnants of Roman artisan workshops for the processing of leather or wool, north-west of Karteres

Findings in the Assiros area:

- a waste-disposal pit dating from the late Bronze Age (ca. 1,600-1,125)

- pit from the Hellenistic period (4th-1st century BC)

- part of a late Roman building

- early Christian graveyard (4th-7th century AD)

- Part of a late-Roman graveyard in the Drymos area

- Prehistoric settlement with two phases of habitation in Pentalofos​

- Kilkis Regional Unit -

Anastasios Keramaris, archaeologist at the Ministry of Culture and Sports in charge of the excavations carried out in Kilkis, described the unearthing of sites of archaeological interest during the preliminary construction works for TAP as "unexpected". Excavations in the area focused on the "Theodosia" and "Isoma" sites, where parts of two organised Roman gravesites were found, as well as traces of buildings – possibly from the same chronological period. 

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Isoma: Roman cemetery [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Isoma: grave findings [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Grave findings from excavations in the Kilkis Regional Unit [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Theodosia: bronze coins as grave goods [Credit: TAP]
In total, 48 burial sites were investigated in "Theodosia" and another 43 in "Isoma." Several grave goods, accompanying the deceased on their final journey, also came to light in the context of these excavations. These include ceramic and glass pots, clay lamps, bronze coins and some jewellery. All findings are expected to be conserved and exhibited, so as to tell the long story of the place in which they were found. 

- Serres Regional Unity -

Several sites and antiquities, dating from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine period, were excavated in the Serres Regional Unit. The excavations were monitored by the archaeologists Penelope Malama, former head of the local Ephorate of Antiquities, and Nicoletta Pylarinou.

New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Symvoli: Roman-Late Roman cemetery [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Messorachi: Neolithic potsherds [Credit: TAP]
New archaeological sites unearthed in Greece during construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Kefalochori: settlement and cemetery from the Bronze Age and the Hellenistic period [Credit: TAP]
According to their research "the findings have enriched the area’s archaeological map with new data and confirmed our knowledge for already noted sites." Some of these are:

- A Roman-late Roman (2nd-5th century AD) cemetery in Symvoli, west of the Aggitis River, with 74 graves

- Prehistoric settlements in Mandili and Messorachi. In the known archaeological site of Mandili, in use until the Byzantine period, remnants of buildings and waste-disposal pits were found. Relevant findings were also unearthed in Messorachi, as well as adorned potsherds dating to the Neolithic period (ca. 5,300-3,200 BC). Figurines, bone jewellery and chipped stone tools were also excavated.

- More than 40 artificial trenches (waste-disposal pits) in Nea Zichni, containing ceramics from the Archaïc and Classical period (8th-4th century BC). Interestingly, pots imported from Ionia, Attica and Corinth were found along products of local workshops.

- A child’s cist grave from the Archaïc period (late 6th century BC) in Neos Skopos, containing significant goods, such as a small Corinthian pot for storing essential oils with floral designs and golden trim.

- Late-Roman (3rd-4th century AD) gravesite in Peristeria, containing pottery, bronze jewellery and coins.

- Three burial sites in Kefalochori. The first regards a prehistoric settlement, the second a settlement and cemetery dating from the Iron Age (11th-8th century) to the Hellenistic period, and the third a cemetery with grave circles. The extent and density of the findings in the second site, led TAP to re-route in this location.

In February 2017, TAP was awarded a grant of €14,018,347 to fund archaeological trial trench investigations and rescue excavations uncovered during the construction of the pipeline in Greece from Kavala to Kastoria.

Source: Trans Adriatic Pipeline [July 12, 2018]

TANN

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