Sunday, August 26, 2018

Where is Arcadian Dhimitra: Troupes (C484)?




It is said that photographs don't lie but they certainly can mumble.

An example occurs in Syriopoulos' article on 'Windy Enispe'[1] that discusses the important Bronze Age site called 'Dhimitra'.   Syriopoulos tells us about the site and how it was discovered:

“IN 1939, during road construction near the modern village Dimitra in the district of Gortynia in north-western Arcadia, digging works brought to light considerable prehistoric remains from the eastern slope of a small hill called Troupes (= 'holes') about 2 km. north-east of the village of Dimitra.'

 The remains passed unnoticed until 1942, when I chanced to visit the site and collected from the cutting of the hill-slope a considerable number of prehistoric sherds, the most remarkable of which I have briefly mentioned under 'Demetra village' in my (Prehistory of the Peloponnese).  R. Howell quotes the site in his recently published 'Survey of Eastern Arcadia in Prehistory' without adding any more information.

 Unfortunately, I did not manage to publish these finds earlier with a more detailed description and the relevant illustrations. But I have visited the site several times since I942 and collected more sherds and other finds, the most remarkable of which are described below. They all prove, in my opinion, a continuous and intensive inhabitation of the site from Neolithic to L.H. IIIC 2 times, when the settlement was deserted for ever.”

I transliterated his title in parentheses and have suppressed his footnotes except for fn. 1 which I reproduce here:

“1. The area of Dimitra, formerly Divritsa, is described in Frazer, Pausanias iv. 287-90, PW 70-5, GL iii. 276. The road, during whose construction the prehistoric finds came to light, branches off the main carriage road from Tripolis to Olympia at its 83rd kilometre in the village of Stavrodromi and leads through the villages of Tropaia, Vachlia, Dimitra, Kontovazaina, Voutsi, and Monastiraki, towards Koumani village and the carriage road from Pyrgos to Patras via Platanos. It has not yet been completed.”


So.  A significant large settlement that existed throughout the Bronze Age in central Arcadia and situated about 1 km. north of the Ladon River.

Where is it?

The name of the site is 'Troupes' and 'Dhimitra' is the name of the modern town closest to it.  The general position of Dhimitra in Arcadia is shown in this map:



Here we're looking at the NW quadrant of the Peloponnese; the lavender arrow points to Dhimitra.   If we zoom in on this area we can see the road being described by Syriopoulos in his footnote 1 which are indicated more or less roughly in the next map.  (Click on it to enlarge.)



On this map I have labelled the names of the towns in Syriopoulos' footnote.  The sequence begins with Stavrodromi at the lower R and ends with Koumani at the upper L.  The last bit of the road from outside Monastiraki to Koumani is not very good; really a series of dirt roads and this may be the part that Syriopoulos thought was 'not yet ... completed.'.

Now for Dhimitra itself.



The modern town of Dhimitra is positioned at the lower L.  Measuring a path from that town to my proposed location for Troupes is just about 1890 m.  I admit that the starting point for this lavender line was somewhat arbitrarily chosen but Syriopoulos does not tells us where to begin measuring the 2 km. distance from town to site.

In this post I have started with the answer.  With a high degree of confidence it can be said that the site of Troupes is at 37.786502° N, 21.932709° E.  How can this be justified?  

The criteria for this site are as follows:
1. Ca. 2 km. from modern Dhimitra.
2. It is on the road between Stavrodromi and Koumani.
3. It must be on or very close to the side of the road because it was discovered during road-building.

In addition to these vague criteria there are two photographs that show the area around Troupes.  These are from Syriopoulos' article.

The first shows the Ladon river valley taken from ... somewhere.



Here I have labelled the gorge of the Ladon R. (tributary of the Alpheios).  Also I have indicated the facing ridge on the S which is Dariza.  The modern town of Dhimitra cannot really be seen but it's somewhere over the labelled ridge.

In the next picture I reproduce that view in Google Earth:


Being able to reproduce this view leads me to say that the photograph in Syriopoulos was taken from approximately 37.786022° N, 21.947296° E.  In this picture the red line is the road described in Syriopoulos' footnote 1.  The intermittent blue line is the position of the Ladon river itself.

Syriopoulos labels this picture (a) as 'Troupes (or Damari) from north-east.'

But it isn't.  

The photo labels in his article have come adrift.  This caption which says 'Troupes' is actually meant for photograph (c) which is here:

This is the original.  Here is a labelled version of it:


Here we're looking roughly SW down the Ladon river valley in the direction of Dhimitra which we cannot see.  The main highway actually winds around the site of Troupes.  If we could figure out from where this picture was taken we would know where Troupes is located.  Perhaps it's possible to recreate this view in Google Earth?

After a great deal of huffing and puffing I was able to do exactly that.     Here it is:



Not too convincing?  That's what I mean when I say that photographs can stutter.  O.k., let's zoom in on the ridge in the LC:


Now we have a photo almost identical to Syriopoulos' photo which was taken from about 37.790800° N, 21.932980° E. I suspect that Syriopoulos' original was taken with a moderate telephoto, perhaps 135 mm. focal length.

And there it all is.  That wooded plateau feature in the center is Troupes.  In Syriopoulos' original there are many limestone outcrops visible and those have nearly disappeared in the overgrowth some 45 years later.  But when we look at this ridge from above those limestone features are still plainly visible:



I have drawn yellow arrows that indicate extruding features.  Even though this east side of the ridge is greatly overgrown compared to when Syriopoulos' picture was taken its essential rocky nature is unchanged.

Here's another photo of the site from above:



Here's Syriopoulos' photo of it:



And this is as close as I can get in Google Earth Street View:



I think that Syriopoulos's photo was taken by following the branching road to the left (NW) and photographing the hill by facing more towards the NE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A new database (Rev. 65) and updated search files were moved to helladic.info on 08/23/18 at 06:52 PST.  This includes about 71 new sites, many of them on the islands of Karpathos, Saros, and Kasos in the Dodecanese.  And don't forget to try out the new chronological pages on helladic.info.

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   gmail dot com

And please remember - Friends don't let friends use Facebook.
Most researchers in this field use some product like Microsoft's Excel to create a 'DB'.  This is fine; it's what is generally referred to as a 'flat file'.  That is, a single table representation of your data of interest.
The Mycenaean Atlas database, on the other hand, is a relational database with several tables that was built using MySQL.  Dumps of this DB are available but you need MySQL (or similar) and a knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) to run it.  Otherwise it doesn't make much sense to ask for it.  But If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database anyway 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 (including the new reports pages) of the website helladic.info   Try it out!   I'm also willing to generate custom .csv or .kml files from the atlas if you need something specific.



Footnotes

1. Syriopoulos [1973] 193.  

   In Howell [1970] p. 98, "During the construction of the public highway near the village of Dhimitra, a cutting was made through a prehistoric settlement."  

   In Simpson [1981] 88, 'D 19 Dhimitra: Troupes', "The small hill called Troupes lies about 2 k. northeast of Dhimitra, on the south slopes of Mt. Aphrodision, above the Ladon river valley.  During road construction a cutting was dug through a prehistoric settlement here, and Syriopoulos ... collected a large quantity of sherds from it, mainly from the eastern slope.  Most of this was Middle Helladic coarse ware, but a few sherds were Mycenaean of provincial type  ...   the LH IIIC claimed is not certain ..."   

   In Simpson and Dickinson [1979] 83, 'B 33 Dhimitra: Troupes': "The small hill called Troupes is c. 2 km. NE of Dhimitra, on the S slopes of Mt. Aphrodision.  During road construction a cutting was made through the prehistoric settlement here and many sherds were collected, ...  Most of this was MH coarse ware and provincial LH.  ..."  

   In Parker [2008] 217: "Finally,  near  the  village  of  Dhimitra  (62)  in  the  northwestern region of Arkadia, a substantial settlement dating from the Neolithic to the LBA was discovered when the current road was built (Syriopoulos 1973)."


Bibliography

Howell [1970]:   Howell, R., 'A Survey of Eastern Arcadia in Prehistory',  The Annual of the British School at Athens (65). November, 1970.  79-127.

Parker [2008]:   Parker, Catherine Ruth, Arkadia in Transition: Exploring Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Human Landscapes. Ph.D. dissertation submitted to the University of Birmingham. Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, School of Historical Studies.  The University of Birmingham, January 2008.

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

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

Syriopoulos [1973]: 'The Homeric 'Windy Enispe': A Prehistoric Settlement in North-Western Arcadia near the River Ladon', The Annual of the British School at Athens (68), pp. 193-205, 1973.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The new Chronological Report Page on Helladic.info

The helladic.info site is pleased to announce support for chronological table creation and chronological ordering of sites in the DB.  A new database (Rev. 0.064) and new software has been delivered to implement this addition to the functionality.

The new Chrono report generates a table of occupation times based on your choices from the selection control on the Controls page. The control page allows you to select a combination of Region, Ceramic Horizon, or Type. After making your selection click on the 'Report' button. This brings you to the main report page. That page now has a 'Chrono' button. When you click on that button you will be given a chronological table on which your selection sites will be plotted with 'x's in the appropriate time span columns. Let's look at an example.




From the controls page I select 'Building' under the type label. Then press 'Report'. You'll be taken to the main report page:



You'll see the new 'Chrono Report' button. When you press that you'll be taken to the new Chrono page:



In the left-hand column are the unique place key identifiers for all the places in your selection set. They are clickable. When you click on one you'll be taken to the specific Place Key Report page for that site.

The second column is the place name. The names in this column are mouseable. When you run the mouse over them the region name will pop up in a tool-tip.




Succeeding columns, 'EH', 'EH I', 'EH II' etc., are the ceramic horizon columns. If there is evidence for your site having existed, been used, etc. during any specific ceramic horizon then there will be an 'x' in the box for that ceramic horizon. Here we can see that C1164, Troullos on Kea, existed in the LH I and the LH II.




The column headers with the ceramic horizon names are mouseable. When you do mouse over them the approximate year range will pop up in a tool tip.






It must be emphasized that these ranges are very approximate and scholars differ over what the proper year ranges should be for any specific ceramic horizon. Please keep this in mind. As I learn better ranges for specific ceramic horizons then I will probably change these tool tips.


The 'x' characters in the table boxes are also mouseable. When you do pass the mouse over them then the ceramic horizon label will pop up. This is intended to make it easier to work with the table when the column headers are out of sight.





When creating this table I faced the choice of making the table pageable (column headers never out of sight) or sortable. I chose sortable as probably the more useful alternative. When you click on the column heads the table will be re-sorted to put your criterion at the top. Because spaces in the cells sort before the character 'x' by default you'll probably have to click twice on any specific column head to get the effect that you want.

Also keep in mind that there are really two chrono pages, one in the helladic name style: 'EH', 'MH', 'LH' etc. and one in the Minoan name style 'EM', 'MM', 'LM', etc. These pages function differently. If your chosen data set has sites from Crete then the default or initial chrono page will show few or no 'x' characters in the table.



In order to see a meaningful chart you will switch to the 'Minoan Scale' page. Probably the most disorienting thing that a user can do is to make some region choice such as 'Crete' and then be faced with an empty chart and not know why. Remember to switch scales. The button to do this is at the upper right of the page and labelled 'Minoan Scale'.




Also keep in mind that some sites, particularly in the islands, have ceramic horizons in both styles. You will need to look at such sites under both scales. If you are on the Minoan Scale page there is also a button, in the same place, for switching back to Helladic.

I have not yet implemented a page for the Cycladic time scale.


There are buttons on the chrono pages that allow you to go to the elevation report page or the gazetteer report page. Those pages now also support buttons that allow you to go to the Chrono page. This should make multivariate analysis more convenient.



The tables, like any .html table, can be selected with the mouse, in whole or in part, and dropped directly onto an Excel spreadsheet. Here is an example of a table from the chrono page dropped onto Excel:


After you have dropped this table into Excel you can change the formatting or delete it completely as you choose.   But that's another topic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With a correspondent I've been discussing the question of whether putting exact locational information online is a good thing or a bad thing.  I'd like to hear from my readers on this question - do you have qualms about putting this kind of information online?  You can respond to this post or use my e-mail which is bobconsoli at gmail dot com.





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   gmail dot com

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

Most researchers in this field use some product like Microsoft's Excel to create a 'DB'.  This is fine; it's what is generally referred to as a 'flat file'.  That is, a single table representation of your data of interest.

The Mycenaean Atlas database, on the other hand, is a relational database with several tables that was built using MySQL.  Dumps of this DB are available but you need MySQL (or similar) and a knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) to run it.  Otherwise it doesn't make much sense to ask for it.  But If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database anyway 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 (including the new reports pages) of the website helladic.info   Try it out!   I'm also willing to generate custom .csv or .kml files from the atlas if you need something specific.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

C5708: Volakas Cemetery in Siteia on Crete

Giorgos Vavouranakis, in his Funerary Landscapes East of Lasithi, describes the burial sites around Hagios Georgios in Crete.  Of the Volakas Hill site he says this:

"The second burial site is on the south slope of the Volakas hill, just outside the modern settlement (of Hagios Georgios), to the northwest off the main road ... Nine chamber tombs with a roughly circular chamber and a dromos were excavated  ..., but were found looted and, generally, disturbed.  According to the pottery, the place was used throughout the Postpalatial period (LM IIIA-C)."[1]

The Volakas site is the location of several chamber tombs and was used for a very long time: from the Early Minoan III to the Late Minoan IIIC.  The site mentioned, outside Hagios Georgios, is in Siteia, eastern Crete.  Hagios Georgios is indicated by the arrow on this first photo:







Here is a close-up of Hagios Georgios.  But where in all this wilderness of hills and field roads is the Volakas site?


Vavouranakis provides a photograph of the site which you see here:


This picture leaves a lot to be desired.  By the time these photos appear in academic publications they've been stepped on so many times that there usually isn't much left.  In their published state these photos aren't nearly as helpful as their creators suppose.  And yet there's much that can be done to rescue these old pictures.  Applying judicious transformations in photoshop gives us this:



The real problem with the original is that the contrast is too low.  Major improvements were achieved by increasing the contrast and by sharpening (which is a kind of micro contrast increase).

We're looking at a footpath which leads up to a large rock with bush on top of it.  Behind the rock, and at no great distance, is a characteristic ridge covered with emergent rock and maquis.  Between the rock and the ridge is a dark mass that we must interpret as a grove of trees, probably olives.  Also, overhead, we can see at least two wires.  In this photo they've been aliased into a series of dashes but there's no mistaking what they are.  To the left (in this case SW) of the path is a complex of chamber tombs.  Vavouranakis' arrow points to them.

In the next picture I label all these features:



But where is this on the ground?   Well, it turns out that, because of the wires, there are only a couple of places where this could be.  Let's look:




In this photo I've drawn in the wires in blue.  These wires cross roads at only two places, here marked 'A' and 'B'.    In the next illustration I tried to recreate the view from point A in Google Earth:


If we compare this picture to the original photograph it's obvious that we're close.  The characteristic bumps on the ridge to the N match up well.  But we're really not close enough to that ridge.  Point A doesn't really match up to what we're expecting to see.  Let's try Point B.



This looks a lot better.  Not only is the characteristic ridge (with its bumps) visible but the wires match up better.  In this picture, though, there is a prominent tertiary road which is not visible in the original photograph.  Here's the view from above:


I'm convinced that this is the right place.  I've labelled all the features that I could.  The rock, the wires, the grove are all in their expected places and, if you click on this to enlarge it, you'll see what looks very much like Vavouranakis' chamber tomb dromos.  The only discrepancy is that the path in the original photograph has now disappeared.

This is chamber tomb cemetery C5708 and it is at: 35.125530 N, 26.064386 E.  I'm embarrassed to say that, on the website helladic.info, it has been in the wrong position (near Point A) for several weeks.  I'll fix that with the next DB release.

Notes

[1] Vavouranakis [2007] 43.



Bibliography

Eaby [2007]: Eaby, Melissa Suzanne, Mortuary Variability in Early Iron Age Cretan Burials, Dissertation for Ph.D. submitted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 2007.  Online here.  Eaby discusses the cemetery at Ammoudoplaka which is C5888 in the Atlas.  Ammoudoplaka is contiguous to the Volakas site discussed here.

Sakellarakis [1966]:    Sakellarakis, I. 1966. Αρχαιότητες και μνημεία κεντρικής και  ανατολικής  Κρήτης.  Αρχαιολογικόν Δελτίον 21, Β2 (Χρονικά): 405-419.  (I have not seen this.)

Vavouranakis [2007]:    Vavouranakis, Giorgos.  Funerary Landscapes East of Lasithi, Crete, in the Bronze Age, BAR International Series, no. 1606, 2007.  Online here.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With a correspondent I've been discussing the question of whether putting exact locational information online is a good thing or a bad thing.  I'd like to hear from my readers on this question - do you have qualms about putting this kind of information online?  You can respond to this post or use my e-mail which is bobconsoli at gmail dot com.


There have been recent database updates on helladic.info which show more sites on Crete (mostly).  Also the Elevation Report page and the Gazetteer report page have been updated with some extra features.  You might check this out.



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   gmail dot com

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

Most researchers in this field use some product like Microsoft's Excel to create a 'DB'.  This is fine; it's what is generally referred to as a 'flat file'.  That is, a single table representation of your data of interest.

The Mycenaean Atlas database, on the other hand, is a relational database with several tables that was built using MySQL.  Dumps of this DB are available but you need MySQL (or similar) and a knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) to run it.  Otherwise it doesn't make much sense to ask for it.  But If you'd like to have a copy of the Mycenaean Atlas database anyway 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 (including the new reports pages) of the website helladic.info   Try it out!   I'm also willing to generate custom .csv or .kml files from the atlas if you need something specific.





Wednesday, July 4, 2018

On Helladic.info: 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 Helladic.info 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.

ELEVATION REPORT


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.



GAZETTEER

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   gmail.com

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 helladic.info   Try it out!