Digital Eleon

Three-dimensional modeling is enabling us to record the site’s architecture and analyze artifacts in new ways. We are excited to share some of the results from this year’s digital fabrication project, sponsored by the Friends of the Library at Wellesley College.

Below please find numerous 3D models documenting the results of excavations conducted from 2011 to 2017, as well as a video capture of the virtual reality platform through which we are uniting artifacts with the archaeological site.

Virtual Eleon
This video presents the latest version of our VR experience centered on the architecture and finds from the Blue Stone Structure.


Digital Models of the Site and Select Artifacts

This model, documenting the excavations at the end of the 2016 season, offers a sense of the site’s topography and major features. The steep cliffs on the north, west and south give way to a more gentle approach at the east, where the polygonal wall was built by 500 BCE. Most of the settlement remains exposed in large trenches date to the Late Helladic IIIB and IIIC periods, and a burial complex of the Early Mycenaean period is at the center of the excavations

Excavations since 2015 have focused on the Blue Stone Structure and the burials contained within this Early Mycenaean monument. We have revealed eleven tombs within the rectangular wall that separates this group from a larger burial area.

Finds from the BSS tombs consistently date to the beginning of the Mycenaean era, ca 1700-1600 BCE. This jug represents a mainland tradition of bichrome decoration, and was found alongside other small Minyan and Matt-painted vessels.

The steatite jewelry mold (measuring 7.3 x 4.8 cm) was found in a Late Helladic IIIB level in the Northwest excavations. Open molds of this type were used to produce glass ornaments that were sometimes covered in gold foil. The designs cut into this tool are typical of the adornments found at Thebes and other major sites, including a large waz lily, papyrus, and cockle shell.

The site’s post-palatial settlement is characterized by vessels like the LH IIIC Early kylix with a distinctive conical shape. The cup was found with two others, fallen into a bathtub in a room that was destroyed by fire.

A new phase of activity at Eleon is marked by the accumulation of Archaic vessels and figurines. This kylix with four horizontal handles is typical of Boeotian style in the 6th century BCE.

The elaborately coiffed hair of this terracotta figurine indicates a date in the mid-5th century BCE. This suggests the cultic activity at Eleon may have been carried out for several generations.

The polygonal wall is best preserved at its southern terminus, where the bastion stands 5 meters tall. Three courses of irregular blocks Eleon’s eastern stand upon the ashlar leveling course and exposed foundations of roughly cut stone.