The site of Lakka Skoutara was initially documented in 2001 as part of an extensive survey of the area between the harbor village of Korphos and the village of Sophiko. The goal of this extensive survey was to discover the pre-modern route between the two settlements and the work determined that it ran through the site of Lakka Skoutara. In addition, the extensive survey identified a significant scatter of ancient and modern ceramics as well as the presence of several houses, agricultural installations, and a 20th century church building associated with the modern route through the rugged interior of the Saronic coastline. (For more on Lakka Skoutara, see the index below)
The next year, the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey conducted a proper intensive survey in the area as a follow up to the extensive survey in 2001. Since there were limited resources and time available for the survey, the team decided to sample three transects across the landscape. These transects would followed basic geomorphological divisions in the basin by capturing some part of the slopes of the Lakka, the alluvial fans that produced rocky soil throughout the northern section of the basin, and the more-stable and less rocky red soils that marked the basin floor. This method was loosely consistent with the geomorphological division of units practiced throughout the EKAS survey area and allowed us to control for the significance and in a coarse way, the chronology of various erosional processes. The units were also positioned to capture areas immediately surrounding six of the houses which represented various states of abandonment. This sampling method produced 92 units in three groups with an average unit size of 2335 sq meters and a total area of 2.1 ha.
The EKAS team walked each unit at a 10 meter spacing with each fieldwalker counting every artifact that appeared 1 m to each side of their swath. This procedure sampled 20% of the area of each unit for density. The variation of artifacts present in each unit was sampled according to the chronotype system in which field walkers collected one example of each unique type of artifact. The ceramics team analyzed these artifacts in the field and the results were keyed into an Access database which was linked to a GIS database.
The units surveyed at Lakka Skoutara produced an artifact density of around 2200 artifacts per ha (walked), which is considerably higher than density of approximately 1500 sherds per ha produced by the units in the main survey transect on the Isthmus, but still below the 3000 sherds per ha often considered to be the benchmark for site density in the Eastern Mediterranean. There were, however, 25 units in Lakka Skoutara, with a total area of approximately a hectare which exceeded the 3000 artifacts per hectare standard for site density.
During the course of the survey, the field team designated one area of the site as a Localized Cultural Anomaly (LOCA) owing to the high quantity of Final Neolithic material concentrated at the conjunction of six moderate-density units with varying qualities of surface visibility. In these areas, the team conducted a more intensive form of artifact collection. The teams selected a 20m x 20 m square in each DU of the LOCA and performed a total ChronoType collection in that square. One example of each type of artifact was collected from each of the four squares to produce a complete sample of every type of ceramic present. The squares were located relatively close to one another, since the FN-EH material was not randomly distributed throughout each DU, but rather clustered together. Consequently, the LOCA collection units were concentrated in an effort to capture the area with the highest artifact concentration. GPS coordinates were taken at the SW corner of each LOCA collection square providing a fixed point from which to map the units.
The standard (or Discovery Unit (DU)) and local collection survey produced 926 artifacts in 625 batches. The periods represented in this assemblage of artifacts produced in these survey units represented over 6000 years of human occupation from the Final Neolithic period to the modern day.
Examining the assemblage produced by our standard (DU) chronotype survey shows that 33 periods appear in the survey. Since the chronotype system provides both broad and narrow periods, many of these 33 periods are overlapping. For example, a query for Medieval pottery brings up pottery that is certainly Medieval as well as material that our ceramicists could only date to a broad range of time which could include the Medieval period. There are many ways to deal with this kind of data and to represent it. Aoristic analysis can take into account the different degrees of precision in our dating of the artifacts and consequently provides one representative way to show the chronological distribution of artifacts across the basin. This kind of representative analysis assumes that an artifact has an equal chance of appearing during any year across its entire span of possible dates and weights the total assemblage of artifacts that might appear in a given time span accordingly. So if an artifact is dated to the Late Roman period with a date from between 400 and 700 A.D., the artifact has a 1/300 chance of appear in each year. While it is important to emphasize that this is simply a model for the chronological distribution of ceramics, it is a useful way to represent the relative quantity of material datable to a particular period of time. Since most artifacts (although certainly not all!) are most accurately datable to the century, that is the scale that I have chosen for the two graphs included here. As chart 1 shows, there is activity at the site for nearly the entire historical period with a sharp increase in activity in the most recent century.
The results of this kind of analysis, then can be compared to the spatial distribution of material across the unit. For a survey of this read this post.
Lakka Skoutara Index: