Kouphovouno Neolithic project (Greece)
Kouphovouno, just south of Sparta, has been described as 'the most important Neolithic site in Laconia'; it was briefly excavated by von Vacano in 1941 (published by Josette Renard in Le site néolithique et helladique ancien de Kouphovouno Aegaeum 4, Liege 1989). Our work at Kouphovouno aims to clarify some of the key questions in earlier Greek prehistory. Few Middle to Late Neolithic sites survive in southern Greece and the number of sites of this period which have been excavated is extremely limited. In central and northern Greece the situation is quite different and this 'north-south divide' requires an explanation.
In the course of excavation the site has provided evidence for the domestic architecture, mortuary practices, ceramic and lithic technologies of the Middle and Late Neolithic periods. Burnt levels have provided rich bioarchaeological samples and seeds will also be used for 14C dating. The site was also occupied in the Early Helladic period and has provided new information on the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition, a process which is still not fully understood; Kouphovouno functioned as one of a network of Early Helladic sites which have been identified in and near Sparta. A cemetery of Middle Bronze Age burials has also been uncovered.
Floatation at Kouphovouno, Greece.
Excavation at Kouphovouno, Greece.
The Kouphovouno project is a collaboration between three universities and is directed by Professors W. G. Cavanagh (Nottingham), C. B. Mee (Liverpool) and Josette Renard (Clermont-Ferrand). Work started in 1999, with a pick-up survey of the whole area of the site, indicating an area of at least 4 ha was occupied in the Neolithic and in the Early Bronze Age periods, together with a topographical and geomorphological survey, including coring through the mound into the sediments underneath. We then proceeded with five seasons of excavation and the study towards final publication is now underway.
Yearly reports 1999-2007
Cavanagh, W. G. 2006. ‘Food preservation in Greece during the Late and Final Neolithic periods’ in C. Mee and J. Renard (eds) Cooking up the Past: Food and Culinary Practices in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Aegean: 109-22. Oxford: Oxbow.
Cavanagh, W. G. and C. Mee 2005. ‘Reflections on Neolithic Laconia’, in A. Dakouri-Hild and S. Sherratt (eds), Autochthon: Papers Presented to O.T.P.K. Dickinson on the Occasion of his Retirement (BAR International Series 1432, Oxford 2005) 24-37.
Cavanagh, W. 2004. ‘WYSIWYG: settlement and territoriality in southern Greece during the Early and Middle Neolithic Periods’ Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 17: 165-89.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2004-2005. ‘Kouphovouno’, Annual Report of the British School at Athens 2004-2005: 29-30 = Archaeological Reports 2005-06: ***.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2004. ‘Sparta before Sparta: Kouphovouno 1999–2000: Report on the Intensive Survey’ Annual of the British School at Athens 99: 49-128.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2003. ‘Kouphovouno (Laconie)’, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 127: 554-63.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2002-2003. ‘Kouphovouno’, Annual Report of the British School at Athens 2002-2003: 28-30 = Archaeological Reports 2003-04: 27-8
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2002. ‘Kouphovouno (Laconie)’, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 126: 583-9.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2001-2002. ‘Kouphovouno’, Annual Report of the British School at Athens 2001-2002: 28-9 = Archaeological Reports 2002-03: 31-2.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2001 ‘Kouphovouno’, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 125: 645-8
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 2001-02 `Kouphovouno', Annual Report of the British School at Athens 2000-2001: 28-9 = Archaeological Reports 2001-02: 31-3.
W. G. Cavanagh, C. B. Mee and J. Renard 2001. 'Laconia, Sparta, Kouphovouno' Annual Report of the British School at Athens 2000-01: 28-9.
C. Mee 2001. 'Nucleation and dispersal in Neolithic and Early Helladic Laconia' in K. Branigan (ed.) Urbanism in the Aegean Bronze Age: 1-14. Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield.
Cavanagh, W., Mee, C. and Renard, J. 1998-99. `Kouphovouno', Annual Report of the British School at Athens: 27-8 = Archaeological Reports 1999-2000: 40
Cavanagh, W. G. 1999 ‘Revenons à nos moutons. Surface Survey and the Peloponnese in the Late and Final Neolithic’ in J. Renard (ed.) Le Péloponnèse: Archéologie et Histoire: 31-65. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.