Thursday, July 22, 2021

Kamari Gouva (C173) Reconsidered

In my last post I discussed the location of a site called 'Gouva', near Kamari (UMME 236).  Gouva was a large tholos tomb from the LHIII A.  And just to recap some of the main points:

a. It has been robbed and destroyed. [1]

b. It had been so large that when the central dome collapsed (or was dug out) it left two little hills. [2]

c. These two 'bumps' on the landscape could still be seen from a nearby highway as late as the 1960's by investigators such as McDonald and Simpson.[3]

In that post I looked over all the constraints and decided on a location at  37.292614° N, 21.78284° E and I gave various reasons for why I thought that was the right location.

But now I have reason to think that I was wrong and that the real location is just a bit to the north.  A correspondent of mine in Greece, Pete, has actually been to this ridge and walked the whole length of it looking for features that might fit our tholos.  He reports:

"I took a general walk around the area either side of the ridge. Going much further south got difficult as the ridge was overgrown and I was weary of snakes in the undergrowth. Of course low scrub and trees make judging any details difficult but I can usually spot a point of interest or identify an area that might fit the bill. So none of this is conclusive, but I offer a suggestion for consideration.

I note that the report stated that the mounds were on the skyline and looked like two small hills. Or some such. So I took a walk along the skyline ridge route. I started a little further to the south of the area you had indicated and walked north, along the top of the little valley and up to the highest point some tens of meters away. Just beyond that high point (mostly covered by bushes) there was a cleared stony/earth field with a somewhat obvious mound near the higher, west side. The mound had a shallow dip in the middle."[4]

What does he mean?

This next image shows the area that he's talking about.  The various camera icons indicate where Pete was standing when he took these photos; the color matching rays indicate the direction the camera was facing.  (Photo 12 is a panorama.)  His suggested tholos location is the white circle and its lat/lon position is 37.293955° N, 21.782660° E.  North is at the top.

And in order to see his suggested mound clearly let's look at Photo 10:[5]

Proposed Kamari: Gouva tholos as seen from E.
For credit see fn. 5.

And from the SE facing NW here is photo 7:[5]

Proposed Kamari: Gouva tholos as seen from SE.
For credit see fn. 5.

Photo 8 shows the mound from the S:[5]

Gouva Mound(?) from the SE.
For credit see fn. 5.

Photo 9 shows the mound from the SW.[5]

Pete has this to say about Photo 9:

"Image 9 is taken from 'behind' the mound in question I walked though the gap in the bush to the SW of the mound as I wanted to see what the other side was like. The mound was not so obvious at this point. It was "lost" in a long linear patch of shrub and undergrowth. In fact if anything there seemed to be a short, steep bank (which the shrubs followed) instead of a smooth sloped side to the mound.

In the photo one can see that the nearest olive trees are smaller and so I suppose this immediate area has been bulldozed in the last 50 years (probably 20 or so). That might explain the missing west slope of the suggested site. It had been removed by bulldozer and  the "cut-edge" left exposed and left to weather. I could not get too close but when I tried to see if there were any stones showing I was not able to see any clearly. I did not see any regular pattern of placement of stone or anything proving or strongly supporting this as a site for a tholos. The exposed parts of the bank were composed of a gritty red earth with a lot of stones."[6]

Photo 12 is a panorama which looks at the site from the NE.[5]

Gouva Mound(?) from the NE.
For credit see fn. 5.

So.  Is this site correct?  Or at least does it fit the description in Messenia III?

Here's what McDonald and Simpson report:

"As one travels w on the road from Kopanaki to Kamari past the spring of Sanova, he sees on the w skyline what appear to be two artificial mounds quite close together.  The N-S ridge on which they lie is at least 1 km. from any road.

   On close inspection it turns out that there was originally one large mound and that its center was deeply dug out.  From a distance the heightened banks of excavated earth create the impression of two mounds.   ...    The shrubs that have since grown up in the crater suggest that the excavation may have been as much as half a century ago.  Perhaps the crater explains the local toponym of Gouva ("hole")."[7]

Can we find the road?  Can we find the spot from which McDonald/Simpson were when they saw these two mounds?

I think we can.  The stretch of road along which they were travelling is shown here:

The yellow line is the road of travel.  In Google Maps the road is labelled 'Epar. Od. Chanion-Naou Epikouriou Apollonos'.  Kopanaki is in the lower right under the red arrow and Kamari is on the upper left center under another red arrow.  The stretch of road from which McDonald/Simpson could have seen the twin mounds is somewhere along the yellow line and inside the i km. circle which is centered on the proposed new location.  This stretch of road leaves Nea Agrilia going NW and the traveler drops from the plateau on which Nea Agrilia is situated into a little valley (some 15 m. or so vertical distance) through which flows a stream (Topoguide says that it's called the 'Kopitsa') whose origin is on the N side of this road.  It turns out that the proposed stretch of the ridge on which the proposed location is positioned is only visible from the very edge of this plateau just before the drop into the valley.  This position is just to the right of the 1 km. circle on the line which represent the road.

Here's a viewshed of these valleys and ridges; it has its origin on the plateau edge as I just suggested

And I have another way of demonstrating this.  Incredibly Google Street View is available for this entire road.   I've made a photo of what that ridge line looks like from the suggested observer's position on top of the plateau.  Here it is:

O.k.  This requires a little explanation.  The road in the foreground (we're facing NNW) is the road to Kamari.  What's that gray thing?  It turns out that when you draw a line in Google Earth and the extend it down to the ground you can often see that extended line in Googlle Street View.  This scene places us on the right road looking more or less west to the ridge.  The line here was drawn starting at the  proposed tholos position and extended to the observer's position just ahead of us on  the road.  I then extended it to create this unmissable indicator.  The left vertical edge of this figure is directlly over the tholos and the ragged corner here imitates the changing elevation of the ridges between us and the observer.  To see where the line hits the ridge line it is enough to continue the edges with arrows to the point where they meet on the ridge.

If Pete is right then this is the area of the ridge that MacDonald/Simpson would have seen.   

Can we see two little mounds from here given that we know that they're there?  I'm just not sure.  The bumps on this ridge are consistent with what M/S saw but whether they're exactly the same we cannot now know.

Anyway, Pete's suggested position (which I will be adopting for C173 in the atlas) is:  37.293955° N, 21.782660° E.

A shout-out to Pete for his extraordinary work on this ridge!


There's just one more mystery to clear up.  Simpson says: 

"As one travels w on the road from Kopanaki to Kamari past the spring of Sanova, ... "[8]

Where is the spring Sanova?  I'll deal with that in my next post.


[1] Messenia III, 137. ' ..., there is practically no doubt that this was a large tholos tomb that was excavated (presumably illicitly) and completely destroyed.  The shrubs that have since grown up in the crater suggest that the excavation may have been as much as half a century ago.'  This article appeared in 1969.  All the authors known to me who have described this tomb are simply repeating McDonald and Simpson.

[2] Messenia III, 137.  ' ... [the traveler] sees on the w skyline what appear to be two artificial mounds quite close together.  The N-S ridge on which they lie is at least 1 km. from any road.'

[3] Idem.

[4] Personal communication on July 18, 2021.

[5] Pete's photos were heavily post-processed by me in Photoshop before publishing.  Typical operations consisted of contrast adjustment (sometimes selective), color-balance and enhancement, and sharpening.   

All of Pete's photographs are licensed under the Creative Commons Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).  This license means, in brief, that anyone may use, modify, or tweak this data, even for commercial use, as long as credit is given to the original author(s).

[6] Personal communication on July 13, 2021.

[7] Messenia III, 137-8.

[8] Messenia III, 137.


(All of the sources listed here simply copy Messenia III.  Aside from these there are no other reports of Gouva to my knowledge.)

Boyd [2001]:  Boyd, Michael John, Middle Helladic And Early Mycenaean Mortuary Practices In The Southern And Western Peloponnese, 2001   pg. 212   'Unexcavated Tholos Tombs'.  It is online here.

Cavanagh and Mee [1998]: Cavanagh, W., Mee, Ch., A private place: death in prehistoric Greece ((Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, 125)).1998.  ISBN: 91-7081-178-4

McDonald and Rapp [1972]:  McDonald, William A. and George R. Rapp, Jr.,  The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  USA. 1972.   pg. 298, no. 236, 'Kamari: Gouva'.

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., '23D. Gouva (Kamari)', pg. 137. Online here.

Pelon [1976]:  Pelon, Olivier . Tholoi, tumuli et cercles funéraires; Recherches sur les monuments funéraires de plan circulaire dan l'Égée de l’Âge du Bronze (IIIe at IIe millénaires av. J.-C).  Bibliothèques de l'École française d'Athènes et de Rome - Série Athènes, 229. 1976.   pg. 465, 'Gouva'.   It is online here.

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.   pg. 177, 'D 236 Kamari: Gouva.'  It is online here.

Simpson [1981]:  Simpson, Richard Hope.  Mycenaean Greece. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press, 1981.   pg. 137   'F 209 Kamari: Gouva'.

Zavadil [2012]:  Zavadil, Michaela  Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien.  Wien:Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften. 2012.   pg. 411, 'KAMARI/GOUVA (EP. TRIPHYLIAS)'.  It is online here.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Kamari: Gouva (C173)

The area south of Kamari, in Messenia, is a lightly inhabited region of small farms and large olive orchards.  It is characterized by north-south running ridges which run from the outskirts of Kamari itself as far as the east-west running highway 25 which starts at Kalo Nero on  the coast and runs inland through the Soleima valley until it reaches Zeugolateio in the Pamisos river valley.  On the south side of highway 25 lies the wild and jumbled country of central Messenia which was, so far as anyone knows, nearly uninhabited in Mycenaean times.  One of the ridges running directly south of Kamari and stretching towards highway 25 was, in prehistoric times, the site of a great burial mound which is thought to have sheltered a tholos.  The literature of this site knows it as Kamari/Gouva[1].  What is this site?  It appears that, in prehistoric times, at the site location, there had been raised a great mound which (seems to have) concealed a tholos tomb.  At  some early period the mound was destroyed by robbers and their digging left a distinct notch in the ridge-line.  Simpson remarks on this:

"As one travels w on the road from Kopanaki to Kamari past the spring of Sanova, he sees on the w skyline what appear to be two artificial mounds quite close together. ...  On close inspection it turns out that there was originally one large mound and that its center was deeply dug out. From a distance the heightened banks of excavated earth create the impression of two mounds."[2]

We further learn from Simpson that there were many large flat stones lying around.  These were foreign to the place and are supposed to be the remains of the dug-out tholos which had been completely destroyed.   It appears that nothing datable was found in the place and so the significance of this site is somewhat limited.  But the enormous size of the thing and the effort that its destroyers went to suggest that this had been an important depostion site and, perhaps, linked to a hypothetical settlement found a short distance to the north (although its remains, in the form of sherds,  are somewhat exiguous).  So where was this (formerly) important site.  Luckily McDonald and Simpson have left us enough clues.  But first let's look at a map of the area.

The area N of the Soulima Valley and S of Kamari in Messenia.

Here is the area in question.  It is bounded by three highways that form a rough triangle.   Somewhere in the middle of this triangle is our site.

Can we be more precise about the location of site C173?  Luckily, in Messenia III, Simpson and McDonald give us good bearing marks and distances.  They say this:

"From the tomb one gets a fine view to N, s and E. Several ancient sites can be seen: Mesovouni ... 10° and about 2 km. distant; Stilari ... 90° and about 4 km.; Rachi Gourtsia ... 180° and about 4 km."

In the Mycenaean Atlas these  place names correspond to these:

1. Rachi Gourtsia (C171)

2. Stilari (C164, C343)

3. Mesovouni (C172)

I took the trouble of drawing these distance circles and bearing lines in Google Earth and was gratified to see that they all seem to converge on the same place

At the top is a yellow circle centered on Mesovouni (C172) and of 2 km. radius.  The green circle is centered on the sites at Stilari (C164) and is of 4 km. radius.  The dark blue circle is centered on Rachi Gourtsia (C171) and is also of 4 km. radius.  The bearing lines from each of these centers are drawn as Simpson and McDonald would have them.  We see that they all converge on pretty much the same ridge south of Kamari.  Here's a close-up:

The blue circle and line originate in Rachi Gourtsia.  They intersect at the light blue paddle marked 1.  The green line and circle originate at Stilari.  They intersect at the green push-pin marked 2.  The yellow circle and line originate at Mesovouni.  They intersect at the yellow push-pin marked 3.  So far they seem to be in rough agreement.  The distance from 1 to 3 is almost exactly 200 meters.  Is our bowl-shaped site anywhere in the vicinity?

In the view just above we're looking directly west.  The construction lines are the same and the same push-pins are easily visible from far left center to center right, yellow, green, and blue.  Our site should be around here somewhere and, sure enough, just in the center the white push-pin denotes an area that is a dip and still has some remnant of wild bushes not completely overtaken by olive trees.  I suspect that this is our site.  To prove that it is a dip requires some additional work.

I went back into Google Earth and drew a multi-segmented line (the red line) criss-crossing the area of interest in generally a north-south direction.  I then did a 'Show Elevation Profile' which produced the image at the bottom.  The dark red vertical bar is the area just crossing our selected area (the white push-pin).  You can see that travelling from north to south that this is a local minimum.  

When the lines are drawn running east and west a different story emerges.  Here's what that looks like:

From this we see that our location at the white push pin actually sits on a slope that runs from west to east.  So: a) in a dip from north to south, b) on a slope that goes from higher in the west to lower in the east.

I analyzed this site in my Atlas by choosing an 'Aspect' report for site C173.  This is what it shows:

This report (you may have to enlarge it by clicking on it) shows that, at 150 m. from the center the aspect of the site is east and west (red arrow).  This means that the ground falls away from our site to the E and W.  At 300 m. the aspect of the site is also east and west (orange arrow).  But at both distances the slopes to north and south are positive which means that the ground rises to north and south but dips to east and west.  And it dips most significantly to the east.  And that makes sense.  Simpson would have been looking from the east and this notch in the ridge is what he would have seen.  Here's what it looks like in Google street view.

This is the view that Simpson would have had from the road going towards Kamari.  Off to the west the near ridge (some 850 m. distant) is clearly visible as is the dip in its outline.

I've updated the splash page for the Mycenaean Atlas to show some beautiful terra-cotta dancers from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.  You can see them here.


[1] Kamari Gouva:  in Zavadil [2012], 'KAMARI/GOUVA (EP. TRIPHYLIAS)', pg. 411;  Simpson [1981], 'F 209 Kamari: Gouva', pg. 137; Messenia III [1969],  '23D. Gouva (Kamari)', pg. 137; McDonald and Rapp [1972], '236 Kamari: Gouva', pg. 298; Boyd [2001], 'Goúva Kamári, Messinía.', 212

[2] Messenia III, 137, '23D. Gouva (Kamari)'.

[3] Ibid. 138.


Boyd [2001]:  Boyd, Michael John. <i>Middle Helladic And Early Mycenaean Mortuary Practices In the Southern And Western Peloponnese</i>. 2001.  Online here.

McDonald and Rapp [1972]:  McDonald, William A. and George R. Rapp, Jr.. <i>The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment</i>,  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. USA. 1972,

Messenia III:  McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson. ‘Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968’, American Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 73, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177.

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

Zavadil [2012]:   Zavadil, Michaela. Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien. Wien:Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften. 2012., '. Online here.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Changes to the Chronology Report Page

 The chronology page has been a mess since I originated it.  The central problem is that, because I was exploring how to do it, I committed the programmer's gravest sin: hard-coding things that should be dynamically figured out at run-time.  In this case I hard-coded the column header names - here the ceramic horizon names, LHIII, MMI, etc.  That led to a whole bunch of kludges that severely limited the adaptability of the page.  As an immediate consequence I had to repeat nearly all the code in a whole separate page devoted just to Minoan ceramic horizon names.  And ... endless .. I was going to have to create a new Cycladic Chronology page.  Well, worse and worse.

I have now solved all these problems by rewriting the Chronology page to be self-configurable.  It figures out at run-time what ceramic horizon headings are needed and what order to put them in.  Now a single chronology page works for all ceramic horizon combinations.  It works for Minoan, Cycladic and any other horizons in the database.  And, strangely enough, the resulting code is a lot simpler.

Here's what the new page looks like:

Strangely it looks just like the old page except simpler.  Notice that the annoying 'Minoan' button that was in the upper right of the page is now gone.

This example was generated for 'hab' sites in Achaea.  There are 15 such sites in the DB.  The left-most column lists the names of the sites along with their place keys.  Clicking on one of the place keys will create a Place Key Report page for that site.  Mousing over the column headers (ceramic horizon names) will pop up the start and end dates for that ceramic horizon that are listed for it in the DB.  Some of the charts have very many rows and, as you scroll down, you may lose the info about which ceramic horizon is intended.  Mousing over the 'x' will pop up the ceramic horizon name for that column.  The following illustrations show each of those things:

The ceramic horizon name pops up when the 'x' is moused over.
Here the cursor is simulated by the red arrow.

Here the date-range for the ceramic horizon as reflected in
the DB pops up when you mouse over the ceramic horizon name. 
Here the cursor is simulated by the red arrow.

I should finish up by saying that the new chrono page is already released so you can use it.  You get to the chrono page from the control page by 1) pressing the 'report' button and then 2) pulling down the Detail Reports drop down and selecting 'Chronology'.  

Also don't forget that you can generate .kml or .csv(s) from this page and that those can be inputs into QGIS product (and if you don't have that then you should download it and install it and start learning how to use it).  The download page for QGIS is here.

And that's all there is to it.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

“The World Will Always Welcome Plovers”; Environmental and other concerns in lyrics of the ‘Casablanca Poet’


Pondorff has restored the fragmented phrase of the anonymous ‘Casablanca Poet’

T-- Worl- will a(lac.)y- -elcome -overs’


The world will always welcome lovers’. [1]

We must regard this as a somewhat eccentric restoration. Pondorff has not considered that in an overpopulated world of some 8 billion people the world would hardly welcome ‘lovers’.

LeSage, with respect to this lyric, pointed to many instances of economic distress and job loss at that time. For him this requires the reading:

The world will always welcome glovers.’ [2]

This can hardly be correct as this ode is, putatively, a lament for the degraded environment and the alarm over species extinction which were characteristic concerns of that period. The correct restoration is clearly

The world will always welcome plovers.’

This has the virtue of being consistent with the generally agreed restoration of the very next line:

'As slime goes by.'

I trust that this will correct the misapprehensions of those who want to follow the unjustifiably romantic readings of Pondorff.

End Notes

[1] Pondorff[2334], III, 549, 'Bemerkungen zu Fr. 8.'

[2] LeSage [2289], 35.


[1] Pondorf [2334]: Pondorff, Eric. Neue Untersuchungen für lyrische Fragmente der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts. XIV vols., nchen 2334.

[2] LeSage [2289]: LeSage, Jean-Marie. ‘'Jouez, Sam, encore une fois”; Lyrisme dans 'Le poète de Casablanca'” in Chansons populaires américaines: la période Kardashian, (III: Spring). pp. 34-35. [2289].

Saturday, March 6, 2021

In praise of the telephone pole. Kato Goumenitsa (C521)

 I sometimes think that the scholar of toponomy has no truer friend than the humble but sturdy telephone pole.  Kilometer markers are renumbered, torn down or stolen.  Towns may change their  places, churches their names and hills are levelled.  'Vineyards', currant patches, and wheat fields are now olive groves.  'Tall trees' are cut down, monasteries and nunneries are disbanded, but the telephone pole abides forever.  After all it costs the utility companies serious money to move them around and, as a result, they are among the most permanent of all man's creations.[1]

A case in point.  How shall we find Achaea's hill of Hagios Paraskeuei on which sits an important graveyard of the LH IIIA-C?   We have a photograph of the site which is all but useless except for one thing ... it shows a telephone pole.

The picture I refer to is from Papadopoulos [1978]. [2]  I have balanced the contrasts in Photoshop and sharpened the result.

Adapted from Papadopoulos [1978] 12, Fig. 11.

First of all notice how this photograph tells us almost nothing at all.  He calls this 'Paraskevi Hill' but it's not clear whether this is the surface in the foreground or the hill in the middle distance.  I have talked elsewhere about the  use of photographs in academic publishing and I have stressed the idea that photographs will not stand by themselves.  They require extensive text accompaniment so that the reader will take away the desired information.[2]  Papadopoulos' photo fails on all these counts except for that one blessed telephone pole.  Can we recreate Papadopoulos' scene and by so doing locate the chamber tomb cemetery?

In order to do this I set out to find every visible electric or telephone wire (I lump them together since I don't know the difference) in that region which is visible in Google Earth.   Here's what I came up with.

I then set out to map every pole that I could see:

All the telephone poles that I could find are marked in yellow.  Which, if any, is the right one?  Well, we appear to want a pole on a grassy ridge and in this map there are really only two candidates.

In this photo they're circled.

After settling on a likely pole the test is whether Papadopoulos' photo can be reproduced starting from that pole.  The answer is that it can.  Here is my reproduction of Papadopoulos' photo starting from the right-hand side pole in the previous picture.

In this picture the electrical lines are still in red and the poles (which appear to lie on the ground) are in yellow.  A purple line connecting the base of the telephone pole to the ridge is 8.38 degrees E of north.  The green line is drawn from the base of the telephone pole to true north.  Part of it is hidden by the terrain.  I reproduce the Papadopoulos photograph for comparison:

So the result is that his photograph of Papadopoulos' was taken from within 5 meters of 38.055960° N, 22.026076° E and facing just about 8° to E of N.

This south Achaean hill of Hagios Paraskeuei is significant because in the early 1920's Kyparissis investigated 12 chamber tombs there.

The general area of Goumenissa in Achaea.


Kyparissis was the first serious investigator of what had already been recognized as a chamber tomb cemetery.  In succeeding years he continued to discover and excavate more tombs here.  

The directions to the hill which are given by all the researchers center around several difficult toponyms.  

A) 'Koudounomylos': a region somewhere to the south west of the little town of Kato Goumenitsa.   The area of 'Koudounomylos' is a ravine stretching from the church Hagia Marina at  38.060517 N,  22.030972 E and stretching from there to the SW and W about 2 kilometers.

B) Vrysarion/Goumenissa/Kato Goumenitsa: The name of the closest town to the ridge in Kyparissis' time was 'Kato Goumenitsa'.  This name was changed to 'Vrysarion' on Aug. 20, 1955.  The name was changed again from 'Vrysarion' to 'Goumenissa' on November 23, 1984.   We are liable to find all three names assigned to the town depending on our source.[4]

C) Hagios Paraskeuei hill.  The directions are simplicity itself.  One starts from the region of 'Vrysarion'.  One then descends into the ravine at Koudounomylos.  After ten minutes walk one ascends the hill of Hagios Paraskeuei and the chamber tombs are at the top of the hill.

So how do we reach the LH cemetery of Ayia Paraskeuei from Goumenissa/Goumenitsa?  Here is what our authors say:

1. Åström: "Outside Kato Goumenitsa at 10 minutes' distance from it, at the 72 kms. stone, one descends at the locality Koudounomylos to a ravine and ascends in 10 minutes to a white hill (c. 850 m. above sea level), whose top has been levelled off.  Chamber tombs had been found here ... "[5]

2. Papadopoulos: "At 10 minutes distance W of Vrysarion one descends at the locality Koudounomylos to a ravine, and 10 minutes later ascends a white hill called "Ayia Paraskevi".  ...  At that locality Kyparisses excavated 25 chamber tombs in his successive expeditions in 1925, 1926 and 1927 and Yialouris three more in 1959-60.  They belong to the early Mycenaean period ... "[6]

3. Alexopoulou: "The location is at the entrance of the village (Goumenissa, RHC) and on the left / west side of the road that leads to it. It (i.e. the hill we're looking for) owes its name to the homonymous church of Agia Paraskevi. From here to the area of ​​Koudounomylos in the N rises a cluster of small sandstone hills, on the plateaus of which are carved tombs of the Mycenaean period. The cemetery has been partially excavated."  (Greek language, my translation). [7]

It turns out that none of the directions make sense.  

To begin with one must dispense with Åström's kilometer stones.  They no longer exist in the form seen in his (or Kyparissis' time).  There are new kilometer markers in this area (I was able to find two after hours of searching.) with numbers in the range of 33 - 37 or so.   

Nor can one walk from  Vrysarion down to Koudounomylos for 10 minutes and then turn north to find Ayia  Paraskevi hill with its chamber tombs.   This invalidates both Alexopoulos' description as well as Papadopoulos' map which I reproduce below.

Alexopoulos places our chamber tombs at  38.060400° N ,  22.029200° E.  This position, as we shall see, is off by half a kilometer.

So where is the hill of Ayia Paraskevi?   The photograph makes clear what is intended.  The map puts the site N of the Koudounomylos Ravine (The route across it is the curved pink line) but the  photograph proves that it is really to the south of the Ravine and just N of the road.

Adapted from Papadopoulos [1978].  Pink line is the path over Koudonomulos Ravine.  I re-typed place names which were blurred on the reproduction.[8]

So why would we walk down into a valley from Goumenissa, cross the valley, and then walk up a steep hill on the other side of the valley to reach the cemetery site?   Especially when we can just drive down road 31, park at the side of the road and then walk uphill the 70 meters or so to the site?  I don't know the reason but what I suspect is that road 31 did not exist in Kyparissis' time (not to mention the scarcity of automobiles).  A hundred years ago it may have been much easier to start from Kato Goumenitsa, pop down the hill to the Koudonomulos  ravine bottom and then up the hill on the other side.  This would have been close to a straight line (a distance of about 780 m.).  If that's so then we have a situation where the same meaningless directions about going down into the Koudonomulos Ravine have been handed down over the years long after they ceased to make sense.


1.  See these case histories: Gargaliano Megas Kambos 1 C390; Tsoukka C1922; or Aghia Paraskeuei in Boeotia C1600.   For a change of pace there are high voltage AC transmission  towers, e.g. the location of Thouria in Messenia.

2. Papadopoulos [1978], p. 12, Fig. 11.

3. See this: Chamber Tomb in Barnavos C1749.

4.  Name change record from Kato Goumenitsa to Vrysarion is here.  Name change record from Vrysarion to Goumenissa is here.

5. Åström [1965], 104.

6. Papadopoulos [1979], p. 33, nos. 48-9.

7. Alexopoulou [2009], p. 101, 'α/α 29'.

8. Papadopoulos [1978] p. 15, Fig. 20.


Alexopoulou [2009]:  Αλεξοπούλου, Γεωργία Ζ.   Σύμβολή στην Αρχαιολογιά και τοπογραφία της Αζανίας (Βόρειας Αρκαδίας) Επαρχία Καλαβρύτων.  Patra, Greece. 2009.

Åström [1965] :  Åström, Paul, 'Mycenaean Pottery from the Region of Aigion, with a List of Prehistoric Sites in Achaia', Opuscula Atheniensia, V, pp. 89-110, C.W.K. Gleerup, Lund, 1965.

Papadopoulos [1978]:  Papadopoulos, Thanasis J., Mycenaean Achaea, Part 2: Figures.  Åstroms Forlag, Sweden.  1978.

Papadopoulos [1979] : Papadopoulos, Thanasis J., Mycenaean Achaea, Part 1: Text.  Åstroms Forlag, Sweden.  1979.