Nemea Valley Archaeological Project
Cooperative Research at Barnavos, Ancient Nemea
Brief Report of Activities Conducted
June 30-July 25, 2003
|Note: Click on images for enlarged
views. For optimal enlarged viewing of images in MS Explorer, make
the following browser setting:
Go to Tools->Internet Options->Advanced
tab, and under Multimedia, UNcheck the option "Enable Automatic Image
Resizing". Then click 'OK'.
The goal of research in 2003 was to test for evidence of chamber tombs on both
sides of the ravine at Barnavos. Work was divided between these two sides. On
the west side, where a robbed chamber tomb was excavated in 2002 and where the
property in which it is located had been purchased, three long trenches (EUs
25, 26, 27 on the accompanying map, Fig.1) were excavated. On the east side
the entire field east of the agricultural road was tested using ground penetrating
radar (GPR) and through two test trenches (Figs. 1-2, EU 29). All tests were
negative for evidence of any archaeological remains.
The tests in EUs 25-27 were made using a JPL backhoe (Fig. 3). Each cut
was carefully inspected and photographed. We cut through the topsoil and
into the underlying sterile marl base to be certain that we had inspected
below any area of possible human disturbance. No artifacts were found
in any of the three trenches. After this work, each trench was backfilled.
In the east field, we secured permission from the landowners, Vassilis
and Athanasios Skazas, to test. This permission was restricted to the
fallow fields on the west slope that lie below an olive grove (Fig. 2).
In the field we established a grid of 10 x 10 m. that ran perpendicular
to the slope. This grid was used for the test lines for the GPR. Prof.
Donald Barber of the Department of Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College, conducted
the GPR work. Dr. Barber ran several tests where the underlying rock strata
were evident, in order to establish a baseline for interpreting the data.
A total of 15 transects were taken with the GPR (Figs. 2, 4a). Most
of them confirmed the profile of the underlying soil and bedrock. Several,
however, showed anomalies that possibly corresponded to sub-surface depressions
or adjustments to the form of the bedrock (Fig. 4b). These occurred in
an area in the center of the field that was visibly lower, and we hypothesized
that this depression might be that of a collapsed chamber tomb. After
the GPR work was complete, we established a N-S grid and cut two trenches
(EU 29, Figs. 1 and 5a-b) to test where we thought there might be an entrance
(dromos) and the collapsed chamber (thalamos). These trenches were dug
to the hard paleosol or caliche that caps the marl in the area. No artifacts
were found and no trace of any disturbance of the marl and caliche other
than the marks of a deep plow (Figs. 5a-b).
We conclude that there is little probability of there being any other tombs
in the immediate vicinity of the robbed tomb in EU 21. The only area we considered
likely, but were unable to test, was the east-facing slope on the eastern side
of the ravine. This slope faces the settlement on Tsoungiza. There is no a priori
reason to believe that tombs were located here, but some anomalies on the ground
surface attracted our interest. Unfortunately, the conditions of the written
permission of the landowners prevented us from sinking trenches in this area.