Archaeology in Achaea: A Millennary Landscape between the Aegean and the Adriatic
In 2010 an international collaboration was launched within a research project of the Greek Ministry of Culture (Greek Archaeological Museum of Eghion) in order to excavate the ancient site of Trapezà, a natural acropolis located about 7 km from the coast, in the nearby of the city of Eghion, in Achaea (North-Western Peloponnese), which was once seat of the archaic city of Rhypes – the motherland of many Achaean colonies in Italy – as well as of a monumental temple. The research group of the University of Udine, directed by Prof. Elisabetta Borgna, composed by doctoral students and assistant lecturers, and coordinated through a series of external collaborations, deals with the study of the prehistoric and pre-classical occupation of the area.
Field activities have returned important archaeological evidence dating from the 4th–3rd millennial BC to the transitional period between Bronze and Iron Age (ca. 11th–8th century BC). The project to date has been financed by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (Philadelphia) (2010–2017), the Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria (Florence) (2012; 2016), the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR) (2010), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2014–2016), the University of Udine (2014–2016), the Interuniversity Postgraduate School of Archaeological Heritage (Trieste-Udine-Venezia) (2011–2013), as well as by private sponsors (Gruppo Monte Mare – Grado) (2014), and by the Society for Archaeological Research in Aigialia, Eghion (2010-2013).
At the moment research activities focus on the excavation and the study of a large Mycenaean necropolis (15th–11th century BC) of underground chamber tombs, with wide access corridors and connected structures (niches, ossuaries, side-chambers). Materials and contexts are significative for the investigation of some crucial topics of Greek prehistory and history, from the developing of the Mycenaean culture to the relationship between palaces and peripheries, funeral practices, the problem of continuity and discontinuity between Bronze and Historical Age, the origins of the Greek temple and – considering the strategic position of the site, located on the Gulf of Corinth – the dynamics of long-distance relationships among the Eastern Aegean, Adriatic and central Mediterranean in the "pre-colonial" age.
Another focus of the field activities – conducted by Assunta Mercogliano in the context of her Ph.D. research – is a village dating to the middle Bronze Age and the Early Mycenaean period, located a few hundred meters south of the necropolis, which was discovered by the research team after a survey in 2013.
LINES OF RESEARCH
- Archaeology of death in the Mycenaean times, through field research and excavation of Mycenaean necropolis.
- Archaeology of human interaction: relations center-periphery between the palatial civilisation and other regional realities in the Aegean, with particular reference to those between the Aegean region and Italy during the Late Bronze Age.
- Archaeology and History of Aegean Societies: the end of the Bronze Age and the processes of continuity and discontinuity between Bronze Age and Historical Age; the Mycenean heritage at the root of the polis
- Settlement Archaeology: population during the Middle Helladic and the Early Mycenaean period in the Peloponnese.