EXCAVATIONS

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Excavations on the hill of Tsoungiza

Tsoungiza had been excavated in 1924 by Carl Blegen and then in 1926-27 by James Harland, but their work had never been fully published. The site was known to hold settlements of the Neolithic, Early and Late Bronze Age. Excavation and survey between 1979 and 1986 explored the extent of the settlement over the hillside and refined our understanding of the periods of occupation. The results of the excavation have produced evidence for the following periods of settlement: Neolithic (Early, Middle, and Final).  The surface collections were gathered in 1x1 meter squares in order to compare surface distributions to subsurface ones.

Method

The site was excavated such that its remains would be comparable to information gained by the survey of the valley. Thus most of the hillside was explored by surface survey survey map.

 
 
 
 
Also before excavation of an area a collection of surface remains was made (see photo above).Each excavation area was dug in 1x1 meter squares (called Square Meter Units or SMU  see diagram at right)which were part of a collection unit, called a Stratigraphic Unit (SU). This procedure permitted close control of the horizontal distribution of artifacts as well as of the vertical (stratigraphic) distribution.inal phases), most phases of the Early Bronze Age, the very end of the Middle Bronze Age, the early phases and the late ones of the Late Bronze Age.

 
 
 
 
 
Utilizing this procedure we were able to collect controlled samples. Thus soil was systematically collected for water sieving, a process that permitted us to recover seeds, shells, small stone flakes, and other organic and artifactual material. For example, when we encountered a burnt floor, we would collect all the soil, recording it by square meter, and subject it to water sieving. Because this often creates an enormous amount of material to sort out after sieving, we first passed the soil through a sample splitter, (photo above) to divide it into a 50% or 25% sample. Then the remaining soil was poured into a water sieve (photo right).
The light material (photo left) floated on the water and was captured in fine sieves while the heavy material sank (photo right) and was captured by larger submerged sieves, which were then dried.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
  Afterwards the recovered material was sorted, bagged and identified in the museum. Thus we are able to relative percentages of such material as animal bones and seeds from area to area and use the information to reconstruct such information as diet.
 

 
 
 


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