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2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey of Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia


The work of this year's systematic archaeological research in Chiliomodi, Corinthia, focused on the areas of the bath, in the framework of the research project "Ancient Tenea", under the direction of the archaeologist Dr. Elena Korka and with the Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The findings of the project document the organized habitation in the area of Tenea since the 3rd millennium. The quality as well as the quantity of the finds indicate the existence of a well-organised settlement during this period, placing Tenea for the first time on the map of the Proto-Hellenic settlements of the north-eastern Peloponnese.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 1



The aim of this year's survey was to complete the excavation of the individual sites of the Roman bath (Fig. 1), which were excavated in 2019 and 2020, and also to investigate the possible expansion of the sites of commercial activity first identified in 2020.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 2

Specifically, behind the arch of the western caldarium the baths' vestibules were uncovered. An elevated floor of clay slabs and built-up ducts lined with ceramic plaques and masonry pipelines were found, which served to drain the sewage. Eight coins were found at the site, one of which dates from the end of the 2nd century AD to the beginning of the 3rd century AD and the rest from the end of the 4th century AD to the beginning of the 5th century AD, as well as finds from the Roman period, including a bronze ring, a bone pin, a lamp and a small marble column.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 3

Next, north of the heated rooms, the third praefurnium of the baths was excavated and the spaces that served for the storage of timber and materials for its operation. Within these spaces, among other finds of the Roman period, were found fallen architectural parts of the Archaic period, including an antefix and part of a painted sima (clay ridge that comes from the gable of an archaic building) (Fig. 2), elements that probably come from a building of the same chronological period as these, which is presumed to be located in the vicinity of the monument and whose important architectural parts have been found in earlier excavation periods.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 4



With the completion of the excavation work in the above sections, the excavation of the main body of the baths was completed. In the monument with a total area of about 800 sq.m. included three heated rooms (caldaria) with arched junctions, which have small pools (alvei) inside them, sub-floor and in-built heating and three praefurnia, two rooms of both cold and lukewarm baths, one of which is the piscina frigida, changing rooms and foot baths, a latrine, a three-part water filtration tank, a rainwater collection tank, a water tower and fuel storage areas. The public baths of Tenea seem to have been founded shortly before the middle of the 2nd century AD, followed by two new building phases, one in the 4th century AD and one in the 5th century AD, during which interventions, repairs and extensions were carried out.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 5

East of the bath the investigation of the commercial areas continued with the opening of new sections. They were found to extend both north and south, creating building enclaves bounded by roads and lanes. In particular, six new rooms, which appear to have provided accommodation, were identified in a linear alignment, on the SW to NE axis, averaging 7m x 5m in size with partition walls and doorway openings. The excavation of these rooms has helped significantly in mapping the urban fabric of the city, which is constantly being shaped with greater clarity.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 6

In their interior, objects of commercial activity were found (Roman period ceramics of utilitarian vessels, glass and ceramic cosmetic vases, pins, lamps, etc.) (Fig.3 ), product storage pits and 179 coins dating from the end of the 2nd century AD to the middle of the 6th century AD (Fig. 5) The continuation of the excavation in the room, where the hoard of 30 gold coins of the emperors Marcion, Justin I and Justinian were found in 2020, yielded over 120 new coins, bringing the total number of coins to 202, suggesting the intense economic activity that was taking place in this area. In the same room, at a lower depth, an earlier building of the late Hellenistic period was uncovered, facing N/S. The building appears to extend beyond the boundaries of the excavated site and will be further investigated in the next excavation period. In addition, two new buildings were excavated further north and south of the aforementioned commercial areas, of similar typology and on the same axis as these, indicating the expansion of the city in both directions. A carnelian seal stone with a bust of a young man (Fig. 4) stands out among the finds from these areas.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 7



Finally, north of the baths, three limestone kilns with their feeder mouths were uncovered. In the interior and exterior of the chambers a number of wedge-shaped sandstone were found. The pottery in the layer of kilns dates mainly to Roman times, although this does not allow us to clearly determine the exact date of the structures due to disturbance. Among other things, an intact conical oenochoe of the late 7th century BC and a part of a clay figurine of an upright female figure of the Classical period were found (Fig. 4). The burn layer found in the area of the lime kilns extends to the north of them, measuring 1.20m x 1.13m and 0.30m thick.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 8

The most important discovery of this year's excavation period, which adds new data regarding the occupation in the area of Tenea, is the excavation of a built-up prehistoric (Early Bronze Age) deposit. It was located north of the bath complex at a distance of 45 m. and at a depth of about 2 m. from the ground surface. It was overlain by a layer of clay stones and a pile of pottery about 2m thick. The inner walls of this structure consist of a uniform and highly elaborate construction of large-size clay stones and in the upper part of the structure are formed by successive spiral levels, which probably served as a means of descent and ascent inside the structure. The shape of the deposit is ellipsoidal with axial dimensions of 3.30m x 3.10m and its depth under the overlying layer reaches 6.80m. The deposit gradually narrows to its end, reaching a final axial dimension of 0.60m x 0.45m and an internal height of 4.80m (Fig. 6).


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 9

The finds from the overlying layer and the interior of the deposit are particularly important. Of these, ram figurines stand out (Fig.7), storage vessel bases with straw imprints and a base with leaf imprints (Fig.8), parts of clay hearths with incised decoration (Fig.8), parts of what are probably portable clay offering tables with spiral and incised decoration (Fig.8 ), legs of tripod vessels and holders, lugs (Fig. 9), numerous fragments of open vases, flasks with a black and red coating, flasks with a stand and flasks with a ringed or flat base, knobbed handles from pithoi, and tubular handles from large open vessels (Fig. 9). Handles with eccentric and incised decoration and parts of stones with embossed rope decoration (Fig. 10). In addition, parts of beaked jars or sauceboats, spoons, small plates and part of a stone utensil (Fig. 10) were also unearthed. The identification of a large quantity of spindle whorls, as well as obsidian cores, blades and flakes, and abraded tools (Fig. 11) is also significant.


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 10

The project, under the direction of Dr. E. Korka, is supported by an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, headed by Mrs. P. Evangelloglou, archaeologist of the Corinthian Archaeological Foundation, numismatists, headed by Dr. K. Lagos, anthropologists, headed by Dr. Chr. Papageorgopoulou, topographers under the supervision of the professor of land surveying and surveying engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, Mr. Georgopoulos and geologists under the supervision of Professor A.A. Georgopoulos, professor of the University of Thessaloniki, Mr. Gr. Prof. G. Tsoukas. In the context of the above mentioned collaborations, modern methods of photogrammetric mapping, 3D imaging of spaces, objects and anthropological material, as well as geophysical surveys were applied. For another year, students from Greek Universities participated with the archaeologists P. Vlachos, M. Ioannou, P. Panailidis, M. Syrrou, I. Christidis, K. Psichas, the architects D. Bartzis, and A. Antoniou, the surveyors A. Anastasiou, E. E. Koutro, E. Syrokou, and the conservator V. Paparidou. 


2021 Results of the Systematic Archaeological Survey Ancient Tenea at Chiliomodi Corinthia
Fig. 11

The excavation team would like to thank the Region of Peloponnese, the Municipality of Korinthia, the company Chr. Tsaousis and MYTILINEOS, thanks to whom the research is carried out. Also, the association "Friends of Ancient Teneas" and the residents of Chiliomodi, who support the project, as well as Mr. Takis, Tagaras, Bitziou, Chassikidis, Giannopoulos and Mezinis, who gave their plots of land for the research, and Manousos and Maria Manousakis, Thomas Athanasakos and Panagiota Vourvopoulou for the hospitality of the researchers and collaborators. The team would also like to thank the IEPKA and the Corinthian National Archaeological Museum, the Directorate for the Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments, the Athens City Archaeological Museum and the Numismatic Museum for their support.


*All photos via the Greek Ministry of Sports and Culture


Source: Greek Ministry of Sports and Culture [trsl. TANN; December 31, 2021]



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