I introduced the site of Ano Vayia in several earlier blog posts (The Corinthian Countryside: The Site of Ano Vayia, New Research on the Corinthian Countryside: Vayia Microregion). It is basically a Late Classical - Hellenistic fortified site in the southeastern Corinthia. David Pettegrew and I documented the architectural remains and the local topography. We also managed to conduct a very small intensive survey in the area. Designed to produce data fundamentally compatible with the data collected over the course of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, we followed the same method. A team of field walkers spaced 10 meter apart walked a series of units which, in general, were under 2000 sq. m in size. The walkers looked 1 m to each side of their swath in the unit and collected one example of each unique artifact (following the "chronotype" system). For more on our method, we have posted a good bit of bibliography on the EKAS Bibliography page.
Our goal was to determine the extent of the ceramic scatter associated with the features atop Ano Vayia Hill and sample the artifacts present on the surface of the ground to provide some chronological and functional definition for the site. The only difficulty with this was that the hill was densely wood with rather mature fir trees making typical survey work difficult going. Consequently, we decided to sample the sides of the hill rather than attempt to cover the entire slope. This we hoped would give us a good idea whether the tower was part of a larger settlement on the hill itself or more of an isolated structure in the countryside while still giving us some sense of the kinds of artifacts present in the immediate vicinity.
As the distribution map above shows, the site appears to be at the center of a rather isolated spread of artifacts. (We did not systematically record densities or collect from the actual tumble of the building, but rather gathered diagnostic grab samples from the feature.) It is, of course, possible that erosion and vegetation effected our recovery rates from the slopes of the hill. Moreover, there could well be additional material beyond the extent of our field work; modern development (as well as the limitations of time and man-power) kept us from extending our survey units further afield. The relatively uniformity of material collected from these survey units -- a high percentage of painted Classical-Hellenistic rooftile and a significant scatter of pithos sherds -- suggests that most of the material in the units on the slopes originally derived from site itself.
While we are still analyzing the material collected from the site, we can make some observation with a fair degree of confidence. Aside from the large quantities of tile, the largest category of material from the site is storage and transport vessels. There is no fine ware and very little kitchen ware. Like most surveys we produced a fairly substantial collection of difficult to date or interpret "medium coarse red body sherds" none of these artifacts explicitly contradict a Late Classical to Hellenistic date. The only indication of later use for the site are a few piece of Early Modern utility wares, a couple of medium coarse sherds of possible Late Medieval date and a cut stopper, apparently of Late Antique date. It seems probable that these artifact represent episodic re-occupation of the site during later periods. The standing remains would have made it an ideal shelter for shepherds or even local sentries watching the coastline. There was no evidence for earlier material.
It's rare that intensive survey produces such a chronologically and functionally homogeneous data set, and our very limited survey of the hill should not be the last word on the distribution of material in this area. Indeed, some 400 m to the northwest, the lower site of Vayia produced a far more chronologically diverse assemblage with material dating from the Early Bronze Age through the Early Modern period.