Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Finding Tsoukka (C1922)

I have been reading the very interesting dissertation by Dr. Catherine Parker about bronze age Arcadia and checking her list of sites against mine.  In the course of this I came across her discussion of the site of Tsoukka (C1922) which is in Arcadia's Pheneos valley.  Tsoukka is an MH site.  I positioned it somewhat informally at the small country crossroads here: 37.889404° N 22.293383° E, basing this on the large-scale map in Zavadil [2006], with an accuracy parameter of 'Unknown' and I confess that I didn't think too much more about it.  Then I came across Dr. Parker's discussion which tells us that the discovery of Tsoukka included apsidal houses.  Because I don't have access to the original discoverer's articles (Erath [1999] and Erath [2000]) I had not known about the houses.  

Apsidal houses always get my attention.   I have certain ... er ... hypotheses about such structures and this was too good to let go.  It became my number one priority to identify exactly where these houses are located.   The only clue I had was a photograph taken by Dr. Parker.  I reproduce it here:

Courtesy of Dr. Catherine Parker.  All rights reserved to creator.

Can we work with what we have?  I think so.  We're looking for a road or a footpath which is flanked by two poles.  Behind the poles is a tree.  The apsidal house (or its entrance) is in the foreground and marked by the several stones.

It's not much to go on.  Can we find such a combination of features?   Here's what the territory actually looks like:

In the above aerial photo from Google Earth we see the east end of the hill of Tsoukka along with the little rise at its foot (center with the feature marker).  The apsidal  houses are somewhere on this map among this interlace of country roads.

I began by assuming that the 'path' in Parker's photograph was really one of these roads and, thank heaven!, Google Street View is available for nearly all these roads.  I traversed the road coming in from the north: nothing.  I then tried the road running NE to SW.  This road is lined by a single file of telephone poles except for one place.  Here it is:

Can these be the same two poles that we see in Dr. Parker's photograph?  I tried to reproduce her view in Google Earth:

In the foreground of this picture we see some stones which look quite like those in Dr. Parker's photo .... and here's a better view of the famous tree behind the poles:

When we look back from the double poles in the direction from which Dr. Parker's picture was taken we see this:

The terrace on which the apsidal houses are located is here:

Here's what it looks like from directly above:

The 'x' marks the place from which Dr. Parker's picture was taken.

And another view:

In this picture I tried to recreate the exact angle of Dr. Parker's photograph with the blue line.  The place from which the  picture was taken would be at the tip of the white arrow by the apsidal houses.

Well, to wrap it all up, the Mycenaean Atlas Project DB now has a new location for Tsoukkas (C1922).  It is here:

     Decimal:   37.888726° N          22.290945° E
     DMS:       37° 53' 19.414" N     22° 17' 27.402" E     
     W3W: geared.braces.squarely
     UTM:       34 S   613515 m E   4194254 m N

     GGRS87:    349568 m E    4194558 m N

It will be a couple of days before I update the DB.  However, it should be corrected by 8/23 or so.

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Some remarks on the Mycenaean Atlas Project database:

Many researchers in the social sciences 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   Try it out!   I'm also willing to generate custom .csv or .kml files from the atlas if you need something specific.


Erath [2000]:  Gabriel Erath, "Neolithische und bronzezeitliche Keramik aus dem Becken von Pheneos in Arkadien", in F. BLAKOLMER (ed.), Österreichische Forschungen zur Ägäischen Bronzezeit 1998. Akten der Tagung am Institut für Klassische Archäologie der Universität Wien, 2.-3. Mai 1998 (2000), p. 111-118, esp. 114, fig. 6. 

Erath [1999]:  Gabriel Erath, "Archäologische Funde im Becken von Pheneos", in K. TAUSEND (ed.), Pheneos und Lousoi.  Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Topographie Nordostarkadiens (1999), p. 199-237, Taf. 4, 5

Mazarakis-Ainian [2009]:  Alexander Mazarakis-Ainian, From Ruler's Dwellings to Temples; Architecture, Religion and Society in Early Iron Age Greece (1100-700 B.C.).  Paul Åströms Förlag. Jonsered, Sweden.  1997.

Parker [2008]: Catherine Parker, 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.

Philippa-Touchais et al. [2006]: Mesohelladika; La Grèce continentale au Bronze Moyen.  Actes du colloque international organisé par L'École Française d'Athènes en collaboration avec l'American School of Classical Studies at Athens et le Netherlands Institute in Athens, Athènes, 8-12 mars 2006.  Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplement no. 52.

Zavadil [2006]:   Michaela Zavadil, The Peloponnese in the Middle Bronze Age: An Overview', in Philippa-Touchais et al. [2006], pp. 151-163. 2006., p. 161.

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