The overall aim of the project is to understand the nature of the human occupation of Plakari and its direct environs. Special attention is paid to site formation processes and post-depositional processes that are part of its long-term habitation history, which begins in the Final Neolithic. Within this broader framework, one of the main foci concerns the sanctuary and its associated cult, and the site’s position and functioning within local, regional and inter-regional contexts.
Over the last 30 years, surface surveys and rescue excavations in Karystia have added much to our knowledge of the archaeology of southern Euboia. However, in comparison to most of its neighbouring regions, Karystia still represents a blank spot on the archaeological map. The Plakari Archaeological Project aims to help fill this gap in our knowledge of the region. We also believe that Plakari can contribute to enriching our picture of the EIA, which is currently based on a limited number of systematically excavated sites. Our research project will address the following specific issues:
The earliest items (SM pin, PG pottery) from what is in all likelihood an open-air bothros allow us to date the start of cultic activities at Plakari to the 11th or 10th century BCE. This means that the Plakari sanctuary is one of a very small group of Greek cult places of such an early date. Because the site was in use for a relatively long period, we are able to monitor developments over time in the spatial organization of the sanctuary and in the organization of cult itself.
Excavations help to shed light on how the cult site developed during the various phases of its use. Our research also aims to clarify how these developments relate to larger trends in Karystia's occupation history, notably during the Archaic period, when Karystos was a flourishing polis, and during the Classical period, which saw first the waning importance of the Classical city and then its recovery after the mid-4th century.
As the Late Bronze Age is virtually unattested in the Karystos region, the EIA occupation of the Plakari hill top can be considered almost an act of colonization. We expect to learn more about how a freshly established EIA community shaped itself with the help of cult and religion, and how it adapted to its new environment. Although the phase of expansion of EIA settlements within the Aegean can be considered a prelude to the Greek colonizing movement of the 8th century BCE, it has so far received little scholarly attention.
Plakari is located at an important crossroads between the Aegean and the Euboian Gulf region. Votive material from the Plakari sanctuary constitutes a potentially rich source of information about EIA regional networks and the role of sacred places in overseas communications.
The continuous pressure exerted on the site and the landscape by ongoing building activities makes systematic archaeological research extremely urgent. Another of the project’s aims is to explore how the sustainable preservation of cultural heritage can be combined with the further development of the area.