Our excavations in Tsakonas Field, which lies northwest of the parking lot, continued from 2015 through 2017.
Excavating in Tsakonas Field was originally Plan B.
The goal had been to excavate in Demopoulos Field, which is northeast of Tholos IV, the tomb the University of Cincinnati team uncovered in the mid-20th Century. Unable to obtain their first choice field, the project began digging in Tsakonas Field in 2015, discovering the Griffin Warrior tomb on the first day.
In 1959, Marion Rawson opened a trench lower than and to the north of the acropolis. In it she found walls of Middle Helladic date.
The team uncovered Early Mycenaean and Middle Helladic remains in the area.
Hoping to find substantial and well-preserved architectural remains, the team opened two additional trenches near the Petropoulos plot where Marion Rawson had investigated Middle Helladic deposits in the 1950s. Instead of architectural remains, we found well-preserved early Middle Helladic pottery lying near bedrock. Beneath the Middle Helladic pottery were Pleistocene layers containing two microliths, tools that predated the Mycenaeans by over a thousand years.
For the first time in the modern excavations of the Tsakonas Field, the team found Middle Helladic architecture. This discovery, along with the Rawson walls and additional small points, points to the existence of a substantial settlement beneath the acropolis, one that began early in the Middle Helladic period and remains substantially unknown.
We resumed work in the grave of the Griffin Warrior, hoping to learn more about its chronology by examining its construction. In the foundations of the walls, we discovered cut, ashlar stones, at least a few of which appeared to be reused paving slabs or drain covers scavenged from the acropolis. It seems likely the large stone in the eastern corner of the grave fell not long after the tomb was built.
Remote sensing in the field using magnetometry, GPR, and thermal imaging suggested the presence of several subsurface anomalies. We opened two trenches to investigate them, but the results were insubstantial.
We excavated near the edge of the Dimopoulos plot, where several walls of the final phase of the palace are located. There we uncovered several nearly complete vases, including a highly decorated rhyton.
To prepare for the construction of a concrete path from the parking lot to Tholos IV, Katerina Skiada and a team from the Kalamata Ephoreia excavated near the western end of the dromos. After finding the top of a wall, they stopped digging just beneath the surface.
We began our excavations in the area during the summer season of 2015. During this summer, we uncovered parts of three walls, and by the end of the fall season, we had excavated to the bottom of them.
In 2016, we were invited to continue excavation in this area. We opened seven trenches and uncovered parts of additional Late Helladic walls. Beneath the walls and extending to bedrock was a substantial deposit of pottery and bone that sloped from north to south. These appear to be from a ritual feast that occurred before the buildings’ construction.