Excavating a dense pottery scatter

Currently we are undertaking stratigraphic, contextual excavation on the North Hill. The excavations have a variety of aims: initially it has been important to test our interpretation of our geophysical data (see Geophysics) using small test trenches.  Subsequently,  we have focused on achieving a detailed understanding, first, of the use of domestic space, and second, of patterns of supply and consumption of foodstuffs and durable goods.  

This work is enabling us to test current ideas about the organisation of an Olynthian household, constructing a new and uniquely detailed picture of domestic activities and how they changed through time.  In the course of this work, we are seeking to develop and refine the methods and models typically used in household archaeology for understanding the use of space.  We are doing this by collecting an unusually wide range of data, by recording very precise contextual information and by using these to create a dynamic model of changing activity patterns.  At the same time we are also characterizing patterns of production and consumption of durable goods and foodstuffs within an individual household.  This latter study complements our activity area analysis by considering the wider trade networks in which the household chose to participate, locally, regionally and long-distance.  A major question is the extent to which these were stable over time.

To support these analyses we are recovering as many artifacts and ecofacts as possible, identifying scatters of associated material. Stratigraphic detail is enabling us to evaluate changes in the use of space over time. We are also isolating material which may come from a collapsed upper storey in order to characterize the activities taking place in upstairs rooms.  In addition, the stratigraphic information is also serving as a basis for re-evaluating the assumptions normally made about the chronology of the city, including the dates of construction of the different districts and the destruction of the city. We are also looking for any evidence of re-occupation.