Vlochos Archaeological Project

Greek-Swedish archaeological fieldwork in the Kardítsa region, Thessaly

Category: Preparations

One week left

It is already late August! Parts of the Swedish team have already embarked upon the journey to Karditsa – Rich and Johan are traversing Europe, approaching Ulm as I type – but most of us will join the Greek colleagues in a week’s time.

A pioneer team will spend some days staking out the large 20×20 m grid we use for the geophysical survey at the area of Pátoma, just below the hill. By doing this, we speed up our work-pace immensely, and hopefully, we will be able to cover the whole of the ancient settlement before the end of September.

The work at Pátoma this year, however, would not have been possible without the assistance of the municipality of Palamás (in which our site is located). Normally, the foot of the hill of Strongilovouni is covered in thistles and other nasty plants, but through the hard work of the municipality, it is now smooth and clear.

We look forward to work in this improved environment, and hope to share some of our progress and experiences this year as well.

See you @Vlochos!

Summer preparations

Half of the year has already passed, and VLAP 2017 is approaching fast. We’d just like to provide you with a little update on what’s going on within the project, and what to expect in the near future.

The institute director Dr Wallensten presents VLAP to the general and scholarly public in the amphitheatre of the Acropolis Museum

In late March, Robin, Derek and Fotini travelled to Athens to participate in the annual meeting of the Swedish Institute. This was held in the spectacular Acropolis Museum, with a lovely reception at the nearby Institute.

Roughly at the same time, the Department of Historical Studies in Gothenburg acquired a magnetometer of their own, doubling the magnetometric capacity of VLAP.

Johan and Rich trying out the new magnetometer at the Gothenburg campus

Paying a visit to lovely Bournemouth, Derek introduced Robin to this year’s students – an enthusiastic bunch, all eager to come to Thessaly. Some of them have never been to Greece before, and no one had been to the mainland. We’re certain that they are going to love it!

At Vlochós, preparations are also proceeding. With the help from mrs Karaïskou, the deputy mayor of Palamás, our tractor god Angelos Davadzikos is trying to rid the flat space at Pátoma (the site of the ancient settlement) from all the nasty thistles. With all of them gone, the place is going to be a geophysical paradise! Robin has just ordered 300 red plastic pegs to be used to mark out our great grid (more on this in upcoming posts), and Johan and Rich will spend a few days in August banging them into the ground. Last year we used canes, but the local goats apparently found them tasty – we hope they’ll find the plastic less appetising!

New year

After the somewhat stressful period around Christmas, things have now calmed down, and we have been able to start planning for the upcoming fieldwork at Vlochós. We managed to get our basic funding for 2017 right in the middle of the media circus of December, so we are now looking forward to the second season of VLAP.

Our main goal for the 2017 season will be the completion of the geophysical and architectural surveys at the site of Strongilovoúni. We will hopefully be able to survey the area of Pátoma at a greater pace, as we will have access to two magnetometers instead of just one.

We were happy to learn that Angelos Ntavadzikos, our tractor master, will join us for the geophysical prospection this year as well. His precision and ingenuity is highly regarded by the team.

Our next point on the agenda, however, is to attend the annual meeting of the Swedish Institute at Athens in late March. The preliminary results of VLAP will be presented in the lecture hall of the Acropolis Museum together with the other projects involving Swedish archaeologists. We are very much looking forward to it. If only the weather in Greece could get a little better!

Three weeks left

Half of the VLAP team will depart from Gothenburg by car on the 1st of September for an adventurous road-trip through most of Europe. For all of us to fly down via Athens would be impossible as we need to bring some of the university’s heavy and bulky equipment.

We are very exited about this project, which is not just a new prógramma, but the first Swedish archaeological project in Thessaly, and probably the first foreign such in the regional unit of Kardítsa.

Sweden is rainy and cold at the moment, it feels like autumn is close at hand. The heat of the Western Thessalian plains, however, might be severe, and we hope for “something in the middle”.

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll test most of our equipment such as the MALÅ georadar borrowed from the generous department of Historical Studies at the University of Gothenburg. We aim at having a clear picture of the ground beneath the big lawn in front of the Faculty of Humanities when we are finished…

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