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Completion of Excavation Period 2018 at Geronisos Island Completion of Excavation Period 2018 at Geronisos Island

Completion of Excavation Period 2018 at Geronisos Island

The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, announced the completion of five weeks programme of excavation, survey, and study at Maniki Harbor under the direction of Joan Breton Connelly, professor, classics and art history, New York University.

An international team of scholars gathered at Maniki Harbor to take part in the innovative multi-disciplinary programme of research. The small, ancient port at Maniki served as the main harbour for Geronisos and the ancient settlement at Agios Georgios of Pegeia from the Hellenistic through the early Byzantine times.

Theotokis Theodoulou, head, Cretan section of the Ephorate for Underwater Antiquities in Greece, Alexandros Tourtas, University of the Aegean, and Konstantinos Kostakis, Plano S.L.A., Crete, executed a coastal and underwater survey of ManikiHarbor.

This included aerial mapping, 3D modelling, video-recording, snorkelling and reconnaissance dive. A custom-made platform bearing a digital camera was used to photograph the western seabed of the cove.
Rounded rock-cut ‘bollards’ for mooring ships were identified at the west side of the promontory, as well as in the middle of the harbour. Rock cut channels preserved in the limestone shelf at harbour’s edge may have accommodated wooden frameworks for loading and unloading or hauling ships and boats.

Georgia Andreou, Cornell and Brown University, undertook coastal analysis employing ArcGIS, Agisoft PhotoScan and Digital Shoreline Analysis Software. She produced georeferenced 3D models of the harbour, contour and bathymetric maps, and a digital elevation model that is suitable for visualization and viewshed analysis.

Miltiadis Polidorou, national and kapodistrian, University of Athens undertook geomorphological surveys of Geronisos Island and coastline from Agios Georgios to Maniki, with drone mapping, 3D modelling, and orthomosaics.

Excavation focused on three stratigraphic sections dug through the vast dumps of late Roman transport amphorae at the harbour’s edge. Thomas Tartaron, chair of the graduate programme, Mediterranean archaeology, University of Pennsylvania, directed a surface survey as well as the excavation of one section through the dump.

Jolanta Młynarczyk, professor, University of Warsaw, identified the dominant amphora type as Southwestern Cypriot in origin, dating from the fifth to mid-seventh century A.D. Also prevalent are Palestinian ‘bag-shaped’ amphorae of the fifth to sixth centuries and ‘Gaza jars’ dating from the forth to sixth centuries A.D. This assemblage attests to pilgrimage movement between the basilicas of Agios Georgios of Pegeia and the famous monastic centers of south Palestine, particularly during the years of Justinian’s reign.