Department of Antiquities


Amathous (Palace): French School at Athens


(Director: Th. Petit)

The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces the completion of the first part of the 2011 excavations at the Palace of Amathous, by the French School at Athens, under the direction of Prof. Th. Petit. The excavations began on the 13th June and ended on the 9th July and the second part will occur in September. The director was assisted by Aurélie Carbillet (Université de Lyon II)), Julie April, Sarah Lambert and Benoit Proulx (Université Laval - Québec).

This year’s research occurred simultaneously in two areas:

I) Area 20 (Room I) was investigated since this is the area where in 2010 an archaic habitation level was identified. Investigations this year extended westwards, in the southern half of Room I. Firstly, all layers related to the preparation of the classical floor were removed. In these layers a small foundation pit was uncovered containing a cooking pot in which a small bowl had been placed. Beneath these layers the older archaic level was found which preserved three areas where pithoi used to stand. A small round pit full of ash and burnt remains was excavated on this floor. It seems that beneath the archaic floor, in the room’s northern half, an earlier floor exists that has not yet been investigated.

II) In addition, investigations focused on identifying the palace’s southeastern area, where the palace shops used to be. The extensions of two walls that are visible in the north (Area 18) were uncovered. These walls continue beyond the excavation’s limits in the south. Also, a small room was identified (1, 68 X 1, 30 m.) which was filled in with ash, large quantities of bone and pottery as well as pieces of votive offerings.

Amongst the moveable finds are: a clay head wearing a bull’s mask, part of a horse-rider, a limestone figure holding a flower to its chest, the upper part of an Astarte-type figurine, pieces of terracotta horses, the head of a helmeted warrior, part of a terracotta boat etc.

In a large zone in the southeast, walls and other built features do not survive as a consequence of stone robbing. A destruction layer was identified in an area measuring 1.90 X 1.20 m.. The layer was found above many superimposed layers of which only 2 have been excavated, while the rest will be excavated in September.

The thick fill contained large quantities of pottery, mainly dating to classical times. A large quantity of imported amphorae is noted (from Chios, Canaan etc.) as well as attic pottery with painted scenes and many female figurines. The fill also included a substantial number of pieces of wall mortar with traces of red, yellow, green and black paint as well as many pieces of mortar that bear the traces of beams and straw.

There is ample evidence for the dating of the stone robbing and the filling phases. Amongst the material, which is mainly dated to the Classical period, there are also objects which belong to later periods, from the 2nd c. B.C to the 2nd c. A.D.

2011 excavations at Amathous Palace by the French School at Athens: Foundation pit

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