Friday, May 12, 2017

Confusion about the hill of Prophitis Ilias (C1926)

Gary: ‘Don’t confuse me any more than I am already.’
Little Darlings [1980]

On the hill of Prophitis Elias, in Boeotia, there is a LH house.  It is described in Simpson, Farinetti, and Fossey and these are just the sources that I happen to have to hand.

The problem is that there is disagreement about where this hill is.

1.   Simpson says
"The hill of Ayios Ilias is about 2 km. to northeast of Schimatari and to east of the road to Dilisi."[1]

2.   Fossey says
"The hill of Prophitis Elias, a rounded eminence, lies c. 4.5 km. South East of Skhimatari, a little to the North of the New National Road and overlooking the entrance to the valley which leads to Dhilesi."[2]

3.   Farinetti says  (I have broken up her quote in order to give letters to her choices)[3]

“The site of Prophitis Ilias has been given different locations in different gazetteers and reports on the site:”

A.   “- a hill 2km to NE of Schimatari according to Prehistoric gazetteers.”

B.   “- a hill SE of Schimatari (4km!) overlooking the valley leading to Dilesi by the chapel of Ag.Paraskevi (mentioned by Brown – the excavator) according to Fossey (1988: 57)”

C.   “- A hill 2km from A.Dimitrios, at Schimatari station, to the right of the direct road to Dilesi, much nearer to the sea (to the NE of the shrine of A.Paraskevi on hill) according to Brown (Brown BSA 1905/6: 93ff). The Brown location is probably the right one. He excavated a LH house (BSA 1905/6: 94-5). At the site material from other Prehistoric periods (Late Neo, EH, MH) has also been found (Prehistoric gazetteers: HS&D 1979; Syriopoulos 1968; French 1972).”

First of all let’s clear up some preliminaries.

The church of Ayios Dimitrios at Schimatari station is here: 38.322313° N, 23.610635° E (F954 in my catalog).

The church of Ayia Paraskevi is here: 38.332400° N, 23.627994° E.  It is not on a hill.

When Dr. Farinetti says "to the NE of the shrine of A.Paraskevi on hill" she implies that A. Paraskevi itself is on a hill.  While she plainly says that, her phrasing is ambiguous and she may not have meant that literally.  She may have meant this: "(Prophitis Ilias) is near the shrine of A. Paraskevi and is on a hill."   I choose to understand her in my rewritten sense.

What everyone seems to agree on is that Prophitis Ilias is on a hill and that that hill is … somewhere.

Simpson (Alternative 1 above) says that it is 2 km. NE of Schimatari.  That looks like this:

I think that this is unsatisfactory because there are no reasonable hills nearby.

Alternative 2 is Fossey’s description which I show in the next photo.  

Taken literally (that is, drawing a line exactly 135° (SE) of Schimatari) this gives us an unsatisfactory result.  For one thing it is on the wrong side of the highway.  There is a candidate hill which I have marked on the photo.  It does roughly conform to Fossey’s description of the position of Prophitis Ilias.  Before discussing that let’s next examine Farinetti’s descriptions.

Her choice ‘A’ is just Simpson’s description and we have already dismissed that.

Her choice ‘B’ is her report of Fossey’s description.

Her choice ‘C’ looks like this:

In this photo I colored orange the region which describes her choice C.  From this we see that her choice ‘C’ can be made to harmonize with Fossey’s description; these two descriptions ‘B’ and ‘C’ refer to the same place.

Here are our criteria:

a.    Rounded hill

b.   SE (or on the ‘right’ side) of the road to Dilesi from Schimatari

c.    Commands the entrance to the Dilesi valley.

d.   SE of Schimatari

e.    About 2 km. from Ayios Dimitrios at Schimatari Station.

f.     About 4.5 km. from Schimatari itself.

g.    Near the church of Ayia Paraskevi

What location simultaneously satisfies all these criteria?  Let’s look at this photo in which I drew in the constraint lines.

Yep.  All the lines seem to converge at one point and that is the hill that we've been discussing.  Does it command or dominate the entrance to the Dilesi valley?  I put together the following pano from Google Street View.  

Here we’re looking over about 150°.  The road up the hill looks directly west; on the other side of the pano you can see the mountains of Euboea across the gulf to the ENE.

Exactly as Fossey describes, it overlooks the entrance to the Dilesi valley as we see in the next photo.

So here’s what I think.  I say that the hill at C1926 is the hill of Prophitis Ilias (38.336267 N, 23.623502 E) and that's where the LH house site is.  I still don’t know where on the hill that house was found and so I have set my uncertainty radius at 200 m.  In the next photo I marked what I think is a church, perhaps even the church of Prophitis Ilias, but I’m not certain of that identification.  

(Updated on May 26, 2019.  I have been able to confirm that this church is, indeed, the church of Prophetes Ilias.)

So that's the best that I can do for now.  If any of my readers know better where Profitis Ilias is located I would very much like to hear.  Don't be shy.


Status of the Mycenaean Atlas Project

Currently prototyping an alpha online version of the Atlas.  I'm probably about two months away from making it available.

I've recently added twenty-four locations in the area of the Skourta plain (Farinetti [2009]), some eighty points in and around central Athens (Mountjoy, [2005]), and about forty points in Cyprus (van Wijngaarden [2002]).

Anyone who would like to have a copy of the MAP database can send an e-mail to bobconsoli 'at' or leave a comment on any of my posts.  

A large (about 2400 page) .pdf document which describes the entire database is available for the asking.

To run the MAP database requires a SQL server running on your desktop computer.   MySQL is such a server and it is powerful, industry-standard, and free.  

I can and will make .kml or .kmz files, which can be opened directly in Google Earth, available to those who would like them.  
I can also create .csv files for people who would like to import Mycenaean Atlas Project data into Google Earth but would like it in tabular form.
If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter (Squinchpix) or on Google+   (Robert Consoli)

Facebook?  Sorry.I.just.can't. 


[1] Simpson [1981], ‘B 47 Schimatari: Ayios Ilias’, 52.  And in Simpson and Dickinson [1979] 'F 59 Schimatari: Ayios Ilias', 221.  As Fossey (p. 57, fn. 53) notices the original excavator got the name wrong.  Simpson and Dickinson follow this error.  It's 'Prophitis Ilias'.

[2] Fossey [1988], ‘5. Prophitis Elias’, 57. And see the additional bibliographic material at that place.

[3] Farinetti [2009], 11.  The relevant components are TA_51, TA_52, and TA_53.  The location of TA_55, a MH cemetery (I have called it C822), depends materially on getting the location of TA_53 correct.


Farinetti [2009]: Appendix I.14; The Tanagra plain and Eastern Boeotia in Farinetti, Emeri. Boeotian Landscapes; A GIS-based study for the reconstruction and interpretation of the archaeological datasets of ancient Boeotia. Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.  2009.

Fossey [1988]: Fossey, John M., Topography and Population of Ancient Boiotia, Ares publishers Inc., Chicago, Illinois.  1988.

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

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment