The Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project (EBAP) concluded its final excavation season of a 3-year permit extension at the site of ancient Eleon in the village of Arma on July 8, 2018. This project is a synergasia between the CIG and Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia, under the direction of Dr. Alexandra Charami (Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia) and co-direction of Brendan Burke (University of Victoria) and Bryan Burns (Wellesley College). Dr. Kiriaki Kalliga is also a key partner in our research project. We are very grateful for the research funding we received in 2018 from an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada (#435 2018 0773)), the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, and the University of Victoria and Wellesley College. The Canadian Institute in Greece has facilitated and supported the permit process each year and we are grateful to the scholars, students and volunteers who made our work possible (some of whom are in the photo below).
Chronological summary: Our work has identified four major periods of occupation at the site of ancient Eleon, located on an elevated plateau overlooking the Theban plain, en route to Chalkis and the Euboean Gulf: First, a prehistoric phase spans the early Mycenaean period (from the end of the Middle Helladic and beginning of the Mycenaean palatial period, ca. 1700-1450 BC). In the second period, toward the end of the Mycenaean age, we have substantial levels dating to the Late Helladic IIIB and IIIC sub phases. The site seems to be abandoned by the Early Iron Age. The third phase is Post-Bronze Age that varies in levels of occupation, but the earliest recovered material is Late Geometric Euboean pottery of the 8th c. BCE. Eleon itself, however, seems not to be reoccupied in any substantial way until the 6th c. BCE. Also dating to the Archaic period is the construction of the large polygonal wall. After another long period of inactivity at the site we reach the fourth and latest archaeological phase in evidence: the Medieval period, from which material survives in surface levels and deeper pits only. These finds date consistently to the 15th and 16th centuries CE, which could indicate a relatively late date for the stone tower whose remains mark the western end of the site, beyond our permitted area of excavation.
Research Goals 2018: The majority of work in 2018 concentrated within and around an enclosure which we call the Blue Stone Structure (BSS), so named because of the polished blue limestone used to cap a large, rectangular perimeter wall (above). This structure was capped with a mound of clay and contained two standing grave stele and marked an early Mycenaean cemetery of some significance dating to the formative period of Mycenaean society, ca. 17th c. BCE.
We will return to ancient Eleon (and to Arma and Dilesi) in 2019 for study and research. Excavations will continue in coming years, but not immediately. Again, we are very grateful for the help and support we have received from our Greek colleagues and hosts.