Wednesday, July 4, 2018

On New Elevation Analysis and Gazetteer Report

I have always wanted this site to provide more than maps showing Mycenaean sites.  

Therefore I am happy to announce the release of new software for the site which provides more detailed reports and which I hope the community will find useful.

Additional text  has been placed on the 'Using the Atlas' page that explains what these reports do and how to access them.  

This blog entry is intended to familiarize users with these new pages and how they work.

The report page can be triggered both from the Controls Page Combo Map Box as well as the Combination Map itself. 

When, from the Controls page, you select some criterion such as the region name ‘Salamis’ you can then click on the new ‘Report’ button.

Choosing Reports from the original Controls page.  Select one, two or
three criteria (region, type, or ceramic horizon) and click on the new 'Report' button.

You can also reach the new reports pages from the Combination Map page by pressing the new report button.  The reporting criteria will be those that you selected when generating the map.

Main Report Page

The resulting REPORT page characterizes the sites which fit your criteria.

It provides a site breakdown by the number of times sites fitting your criteria are tagged with specific types. This gives you an idea of the dominant use of your chosen sites. There is also a site breakdown by regions. In this example using ‘Salamis’ all the sites are in that region and no other.

If you selected some criterion other than region you will get a table that lists all the regions containing sites that fit that criterion. For example if you chose the type ‘Fort’ the table would show all the regions that contain a site typed as ‘Fort’. Here those include ‘Boeotia’, ‘Thessaly’, ‘Corinthia’, ‘Locris Opuntia’, ‘Argolid’, and ‘Achaea’.

The basic REPORT page also has two buttons, ‘Elevation’ and ‘Gazetteer’ that, when clicked, will provide more detailed reports.

Close-up view of the detailed reports buttons.

The Gazetteer Report button provides a basic interative list of all the sites that fit your criterion. Clicking the Elevation report button provides further analysis of the elevations of the sites fitting your criterion.


The elevation report provides several sections. The first is for basic statistical parameters.

Sample appearance of the parameters section of the Elevation Report.
In this case for Achaea.

 The parameters listed here are:

- Arithmetic mean of elevations of the sites that fit this criterion. This is the sum of the elevations divided by the number of sites.

- Median elevation. The median is another measure of central tendency. It is that actual elevation which falls halfway between the lowest and the highest elevations.

- Standard deviation

- Variance

- Skew The skew shows how much the bulk of the observations are displaced from the arithmetic mean. It is an indication of symmetry in the curve – or the lack of it. If the skew is positive then the bulk of the observations are displaced to the left of the mean; if negative then the bulk of the observations are displaced to the right of the mean. If the skew is 0.0 or close to it then the distribution is more or less symmetrical. Skew might be either positive or negative but in interpreting the meaning of any partiular skew I use the absolute value. So the skew parameter is interpreted as follows:

0.0: The distribution is symmetrical

0.0 to 0.5: The distribution is approximately symmetrical

0.5 to 1.0: The distribution is moderately skewed

> 1.0: The distribution is highly skewed

Kurtosis This is a parameter that indicates how much of the population is in the tails as opposed to the shoulders of the distribution. For more information about skew and kurtosis and how to interpret them see this.

The elevation report also provides two graphs. The first shows the frequency of various elevation ranges; that is, it maps the elevations into the frequency domain. The horizontal axis is elevations from 0 to highest elevation in the set. The vertical axis shows the frequency of sites whose elevations are in that range.

The second graph is a straight-forward plot of sites against their elevations in the order of increasing elevation. The horizontal axis consists of the site place keys in order of elevation from lowest to highest. The vertical axis is elevations.

Charts on the elevation report page.
Here for sites in Arcadia

Beneath the charts are two tables. The left-most table is a list of all the sites fitting these criteria which have elevations lower than the arithmetic mean. The right-most table is a list of all the sites fitting these criteria which have elevations greater than the arithmetic mean. The columns in both tables are sortable. The place key numbers in those tables, when clicked, will bring up a place key report for that site.

The next illustration shows the full elevation report page.


The Gazetteer report is a simple list of all the sites which meet the specified criteria. The criteria themselves are listed on the top of the page. A sortable and clickable list of all the relevant sites follows this. The list is sortable by clicking on the column heads.

Gazetteer Report Page

On the both the elevation and the gazetteer pages there are buttons for generating .kml and .csv files.  These will be implemented shortly.


If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter (Squinchpix) or Google Plus (Robert Consoli).  Please do this.

You can e-mail me (and I hope you will) at  bobconsoli   at

And please remember - Friends don't let friends use Facebook.

If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database then e-mail me and tell me about your project.  And remember that useful .kml and/or .csv files can be generated directly from all the windows (except the new reports pages) of the website   Try it out! 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Cape Galatas and Stalos: Vouno

In my last post I tried to locate a find spot on Cape Galatas on the northwest coast of Crete.  I did that by reproducing a photograph from Hood [1965] and I include the original photo (post processed by me) here:

There are, however, two sites involved.  The one is on Cape Galatas and the other is in the foreground of this very picture.  The name given to it by Hood is 'Stalos: Vouno'.  On p. 107 of Hood's 'Minoan Sites in the Far West of Crete' we read this [1]


 Dominant hill on the west side of the road to Stalos about half a kilometre inland from the sea (BM I :50,000, CRETE Sheet 2, PLATANIAS, 043/567). On the summit is a large pile of stones,  some of which appear to come from house walls. The few sherds recovered here by S. and R. Hood and G. Cadogan, October 1964, included one or two Minoan, among them a fragment of a tripod foot of thick oval section, but others Greco-Roman and Medieval or later. There might have been an isolated Minoan house here."

So.  A 'Dominant hill'.  The difficulty is to find the right hill out of so many in this area.  In my last post I reproduced the view in Hood's photograph.  This time I decided to determine the boundaries of that view.  Because Hood plainly tells us that the picture was taken 'Looking east from Stalos: 'Vouno' (C. 5)'  [2] then wherever those boundaries intersected ought to be the location of Stalos: Vouno and the pile of stones in the foreground are, I assume, the 'large pile of stones' to which Hood refers earlier.  Here is the result of my trying to draw these image boundaries:

Where the lines intersect ought to be the photographer's position and, by extension, the site of Stalos: Vouno which I have termed 'C5762'.  Here it is again with labels:

On the upper right edge of the original photo we see an old road that makes a bend from NE to E.  That road is still there and I have picked it out in yellow in this last picture. The grove of trees on the left has now been superseded by an elaborate home or hotel.  The pile of stones has, I guess, long since vanished although fragments may remain around the site.

The angle of view here is about 34° - rather narrower than the average normal lens (closer to 55°) which suggests that the picture has been cropped.  It may have been taken with a telephoto (extended focal length) lens although both the Akrotiri peninsula and the pile of stones in the foreground are both in focus.  In order for a telephoto (85 mm?) to do this would require the lens to be stopped down to f16 or f22 (not impossible in Greece on a bright day).  The lack of visible grain (to my eye anyway) suggests that the photographer used Kodak's Pan-X which was the most popular fine-grain film in those days.

The boundary lines cross at the place where I have dropped the marker - very close to an attractive resort swimming pool.  If this was the location of a Minoan house, as Hood suggests, then it would have enjoyed an extraordinary view.  We've already seen that the entire Akrotiri Peninsula is visible to the E.  Looking W the inhabitants would  have enjoyed this view which extends from the Rhodopos Peninsula to the island of Agios Theodoros.

The position of Stalos: Vouno (C5762), then, is approximately 35.510661° N, 23.940605° E

Stalos: 'Vouno'
     DMS:       35° 30' 38.38" N      23° 56' 26.178" E   
     W3W: extends.liquidated.quite
     UTM:       34 S   766696 m E   3933653 m N
     GGRS87:    494465 m E    3929389 m N


If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter or Google Plus (Robert Consoli).  Please do this.

You can e-mail me (and I hope you will) at  bobconsoli   at

And please remember - Friends don't let friends use Facebook.

If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database then e-mail me and tell me about your project.  And remember that useful .kml and/or .csv files can be generated directly from all the windows of the website   Try it out!


[1]  Hood [1965] 107.
[2] Hood [1965] Caption for Plate 22.


Hood [1965]:   Hood, M.S.F., 'Minoan Sites in the Far West of Crete', The Annual of the British School at Athens (60), pp. 99-113, 1965.

 Kanta [1980]:   Kanta, Athanasia, The Late Minoan III Period of Crete. Paul Åströms Förlag, Göteborg. Sweden. 1980.,  "19. Stalos", 234.

Moody [1987]:   Moody, Jennifer Alice, The Environmental and Cultural Prehistory of the Khania Region of West Crete: Neolithic through Late Minoan III,  Ph.D. Dissertation.  The Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.  1987,  "Appendix III: Site Catalog, STL1"

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cape Galatas: One Among Many

Where is Cape Galatas (C5763) in Northern Crete?

Greece is a very small country; hardly a fly-speck on a world map.  And yet when you examine it hillock by hillock, ravine by ravine, it turns into a continent.  Your faithful companions are Ambiguity and Doubt.  Is this the right cape, bight, ravine?  Or is it the next one?  Or is it one of those four or five closely huddled near the original?

Case in point.  Where is Cape Galatas?  Cape Galatas is the location of an MMI settlement.  and is somewhere on the north coast of western Crete among a jumble of other capes large and small.  But which cape is it?  Let’s look at the directions:

In Hood [1965] we read

“C. 6. Galatas
‘Psathi’ (PLATE 22). Settlement with traces of occupation in M.M. I or earlier on the highest part of a bluff overlooking the sea about 5 kilometres west of Khania (BM 1:50,000 CRETE Sheet 2, PLATANIAS, 058/569)’” [1]

What do these words mean 'about 5 kilometres west of Khania'?  Does Hood intend us to measure from the center of Chania or from its western edge?  The current city is 4 kilometers wide.  And what was the center or western edge in 1965?  Did Hood suppose that the city would always stay the same size?  To be sure he gives us coordinates in the BM which he defines as (99) ‘BM 1:50,000 = British Staff maps of the last war, scale 1:50,000.’   He must have supposed that his readers would always have access to these now long-outdated maps.  I call this writing style 'the ever-present Now' and it's characterized by a sublime indifference to the fact that it will ever be any time but the Now in which the writer is setting down his words.  It will never be fifty years or a hundred years in the future and Eternal Greece will never change.

Well, those of us who don't have access to the British Staff maps must find other means.

Fortunately Dr. Hood has provided us with a photo which, if employed properly, might give us some clues.  Here it is as it appears online:

One of the points I'm always trying to make is that there is a lot of life left in these old academic photos no matter how many times they've been stepped on by the printing and now the digitization process.  Here's what I was able to make out of this photo by judicious post-processing:

First I converted this photo to Grayscale since there's no color info.  I then stretched the brightness range overall to increase contrast and then I separately processed the sky/mountains, the rocks in the foreground, and the middle zone.  After that I selected the dark trees in the middle range and lengthened their brightness curve.  Then the photo was sharpened far beyond what caution would dictate but, in this case, I think it worked.

So what do we wind up with?  Well, the photographer is facing east and looking along the N coast of Crete towards Chania in the upper right.  The mountains on the horizon are the Akrotiri - that bold peninsula which stretches northward and to the east of Chania and where, among other things, the Gouverneto Monastery is located.  I've labelled everything in the next photo:

Now if we can just reproduce this view in Google Earth that will constitute proof that we have the right cape:

When we compare these two photos about the only thing that hasn't changed is the gross outline of the landforms themselves.  The same road along the shore is just visible in both pictures but the little houses that line it in the earlier picture have now been crowded out or replaced by a bloom of touro-junk architecture.  I looked into Google Earth and in this area I counted something like thirty fresh-water swimming pools along with a plethora of tourist 'villas' and a miniature golf course.  This desecration has even begun to extend inland over what were previously farms.  If we ignore all that, though, it's clear that the recreation has singled out the right cape and has even reproduced something like the very same angle of view.

Here's the same area in a Topoguide map:

Here we see Cape Galatas on the left (W) and there can be no doubt about which Cape Dr. Hood intended.  Here it is from directly above:

Somewhere on this plateau the MMI settlement was located.

After doing all this work I discovered a description in Moody [1987].  She says:

"SITUATION: Coastal headland
.6 km W of Kalamaki Beach.  Overlooking the E end of the Stalos and Aghia Marina beach." [2]

If I had started with Moody things would have been much easier.  Here's a map that shows what she means:

This map is from Topoguide and it shows the two beaches to which Dr. Moody refers and Cape Galatas sitting right in the middle.  If you look at the left center of this map you'll see that I placed a white 'x' there.  This marks the approximate position from which Hood's photo was taken.  But more on that in my next post.


The work of converting the site to the new maps is complete and the code (and a new DB) have been delivered.  This conversion work will be ongoing.

All the functionality of Google Maps has been reproduced except for one thing.  On the  Placekey Report and Feature Report pages you no longer have access to Google Street View.  I deeply regret this because the ability in many instances to drop directly down on the landscape was incredibly convenient and illuminating.  But Street View is one of the services for which Google is going to start charging webmasters.  You still have access to Street View from your own copy of Google Earth - it's just that you don't have the convenience of reaching it directly through

I am still integrating the Murray DB to my own.  Currently I'm working on Crete for which more than 600 sites have been integrated and can be reviewed on the website.

If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter or Google Plus (Robert Consoli).  Please do this.

You can e-mail me (and I hope you will) at  bobconsoli   at

And please remember - Friends don't let friends use Facebook.

If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database then e-mail me and tell me about your project.  And remember that useful .kml and/or .csv files can be generated directly from all the windows of the website   Try it out!


[1] Hood [1965] "C. 6. Galatas; 1. 'Psathi'", 108.

[2] Moody [1987] (no page numbers), Appendix III, Site Catalog.  "GA1; Kydonia: Galatis: Kato Stalos: Psathi"


Hood [1965]:   Hood, M.S.F., 'Minoan Sites in the Far West of Crete', The Annual of the British School at Athens (60), pp. 99-113, 1965.  Online here:

Moody [1987]:   Moody, Jennifer Alice, The Environmental and Cultural Prehistory of the Khania Region of West Crete: Neolithic through Late Minoan III,   Ph.D. Dissertation.  The Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.  1987.  Online here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Lambaina Quarry (C131) found again.

In Messenia, near a town called Lambaina, there is a site that was identified by the MME researchers as a quarry/cem/habitation.  First let's look at it in the context of Messenia:

Lambaina sits on the W side of the Pamisos valley just before the Ithome foothills.  

And here's a close-up of the Lambaina area:

In this map N is to the top.  The main N-S highway runs through the center of the picture past a woodworking yard and former quarry.

The first description of this site known to me appeared in an article by McDonald and Simpson in 1964 where we read this:

“77B. Tourkokivouro (Lambaina)
On the E side of the Messini-Meligala highway and near the fork to Lambaina village (which is above and W of the highway) is a tile factory belonging to Ioannis Michalopoulos.  Immediately E of the factory is a great clay quarry which has cut into and perhaps largely destroyed a prehistoric cemetery.  The owner states that he retrieved from here and conveyed to the museum in Kalamata the two Mycenaean vases (a pilgrim flask and the bowl of a kylix) which are labeled as originating in Lambaina.”  [1]

In a follow-up article from 1969 McDonald and Simpson wrote this:

“77B. Tourkokivouro (Lambaina)
The ephorate investigated the site reported by us … Three pits were dug to rock on the E side of the clay pit and factory.  Pottery was more or less stratified in the sequence EH-LH-G.  The only structure encountered was an empty slab grave, probably EH.  The pottery was taken to the Kalamata Museum.  Mr. Papathanasopoulos suggests that this is a habitation site, rather than (as we thought) a cemetery.”  [2]

Finally, what does Simpson say in his gazetteer?

F120  Lambaina: Tourkokivouro
(MME No. 122)
About a kilometre east-southeast of Lambaina, on the east side of the Messini-Valyra road, stratified EH, Mycenaean, and Geometric layers were found on the east edge of a clay quarry. …”  [3]

Well, since the tile factory has disappeared the site is now effectively lost.  Can we find it?  What do we have to go on?  

a. near the fork to Lambaina village.
b. E side of the main N-S highway in this area
c. about 1 km. E-SE of Lambaina
d. Tile factory

Let's take another look at the general area:

The fork to Lambaina village is at 37.142447°, 21.969534°. 

Lambaina village itself is at 37.147274°, 21.967193°. 

One km. to S of Lambaina brings us to 37.138490°, 21.969614° which, as will appear, is an overestimate.

The tile factory.  Fortunately Google Street View exists for this part of Messenia so we are able to cruise up and down the main highway looking for it.  It doesn’t take long to establish that there is no longer a tile factory in this area.  What I discovered is a wood-working shop/factory with the name of ξυλεια Οικονομου or ‘Economy Wood Products’.

  This must have been the tile factory back in the 1960’s and has since been converted to wood products, or so I hoped.  On that basis I put the marker on the ground in back of this shop.  I plotted a point (C131) at 37.143516°  N, 21.97205° E.  

Now a correspondent of mine has visited this place and suggested a correction.  This is what he says:


“I have managed to pass the Lambaina quarry (or wood yard) several times and finally found the yard open with the owner in attendance. I asked him about the excavations and what he knew of it all.  He said he was rather younger when all this was going on and his father (not there) was the one who might remember more detail.  However he walked with me to the back of the yard where the quarry was originally located.  He confirmed that ceramics were made there before the yard became a saw mill.   It seems the ceramics were mostly tiles rather than pots or other utensils. That obviously made a quick survey rather difficult as the remains of the tile production had been dumped in the quarry when the yard was cleared for lumber storage.   In fact I picked up some of the more "interesting" ceramic pieces and wondered how anyone could tell by sight alone if they were ancient or modern.   The owner said there had been some excavations in the 80's but that they had not found too much and decided it was more likely a habitation of some sort - maybe even an ancient ceramic production centre using the same clay source.   His impression was that the excavators did not think it was a cemetery - certainly not one of any size.   However he was only a young interested person at the time and may have not understood all/any details.  He did say they became interested in something further to the east in another field (maybe the tumulus reported) but he didn't know anything about it.   I noticed a number of low mounds/small hillocks in the area to the east of the old quarry but did not investigate further at this time. 

   The upshot of all this is that your original presumptions are mostly correct (it was that yard and it had had a change of use from ceramics to wood).   However you might like to adjust the position of the site to something about 50m west of the current location (which is definitely outside the original quarry area).   My GoogleEarth  co-ordinates for the quarry area are:  37° 8.605'N ,  21° 58.284'E.

   The quarry was mostly worked on the southern side into the low hill. Indeed there is a semicircular area a little further to the west that one might suppose was formed by excavation. Unfortunately after the official excavation the site was filled and the debris from the old ceramic shops was dumped in the area with little regard for ‘contamination’.”


What's interesting about this narrative is a) no one seems to have visited it since the 1980's, b) When the changeover to wood products was carried out the debris from tile making seems to have been dumped into the quarry, c) the owner's son seems to have heard that the consensus of the archaeologists was that it was a habitation or, perhaps, a place of tile or vase manufacture and d) the archaeologists were later interested in a mound found further E (Tourkokivouro, C132). [4]

My correspondent also sends along some pictures that he took there and which I reproduce here:

First a Google map that shows how photos 1 and 3 were taken:

The next photo, Photo 1, is facing Mount Ithome and shows the clay pit/quarry to the left:

Some of the debris and plant-life found in the quarry.

Photo 2 is a close-up shot of the overgrown quarry.

Next, photo 3 is a shot of one of the piles of rock debris that lie around the site.   Here we're facing W (towards Ithome, visible)  and the back of the workshop:

And, finally, we have a spectacular panorama of the entire quarry and back of the lot:

In this last picture we're facing N.  The red lines indicate the angular scope of the panorama.  Certain things visible in the pano such as the telephone pole and the pine trees are indicated on the diagram.

So that's it then, quarry found again thanks to a valuable correspondent!


In my last post I discussed the issue of Google starting to charge for its maps and how that affects

In response to Google's change I have redelivered the Place Key report and the Feature Key report pages - re-written to use maps from Open Street Maps and ESRI.  This conversion work will be ongoing.

If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter or Google Plus (Robert Consoli).

You can e-mail me (and I hope you will) at  bobconsoli   at

And please remember - Friends don't let friends use Facebook.

If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database then e-mail me and tell me about your project.  And remember that useful .kml and/or .csv files can be generated directly from all the windows of the website   Try it out!


1. Messenia II:  "77B Tourkokivouro (Lambaina)", 235.

2. Messenia III:  "77B. Tourkokivouro", 157.

3. Simpson [1981]: "F 120 Lambaina Quarry", 129.

 4. Tourkokivouro described in Simpson [1981]  129, 'F 120 Lambaina Quarry'.


Messenia II:   McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson, 'Further Exploration in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1962-1963'.  American Journal of Archaeology. (68:3). (Jul., 1964), pp. 229-245.

Messenia III:   McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson, Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968.  American Journal of Archaeology. (73:2).
 (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177.

Simpson and Dickinson [1979]:   Simpson, Richard Hope and O.T.P.K. Dickinson, A Gazetteer of Aegean Civilization in the Bronze Age, Vol. I: The Mainland and the 
Islands, Paul Åströms Förlag, Goteborg. 1979.,  "D 122 Lambaina: Tourkokivouro", 159.

Simpson [1981]:   Simpson, Richard Hope, Mycenaean Greece. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press, 1981.