Geoarchaeological investigation of a prehistoric tell in a coastal environment: the lowest levels at Kirrha (Plain of Delphi, Phocis, Greece)
dans la revue Journal of Archaeological Science
Article accessible en ligne ici
Located downstream of the deltaic plain of Delphi and close to the present-day coastline, the tell of Kirrha is the largest Bronze Age site (Middle to Late Helladic I) in Phocis (Greece), covering an area of around 6 ha. The deepest, and therefore oldest, archaeological levels of the tell have never been reached. A multidisciplinary investigation combining geophysics (ARP and ERT surveys), coring, sedimentological and geochemical analysis (grain-size, CaCO3 content, magnetic susceptibility), observation of the microfaunal remains and radiocarbon dating provided for the first-time capital information about the internal structure of the tell of Kirrha as well as the date of the earliest occupation phase. The results indicate a thickness of occupation layers ranging from 7 to 9 m (until 2 m b.s.l.). While some archaeological indicators found in the cores (such as very isolated pottery fragments) suggest a probable Neolithic occupation, the radiocarbon dating results presented here indicate a first occupation at the very beginning of the Bronze Age (Early Helladic II). Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction reveals that the first inhabitants of Kirrha settled in a coastal-marsh-type environment that was being filled in by fine-grained alluvial deposits from the Pleistos and Hylaithos rivers. Geophysical surveys also revealed that parts of the tell have been eroded by a palaeochannel or buried under alluvial sediments.