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The Shipsheds of Sicilian Naxos: a Second Preliminary Report (2003–6)1

  • Maria Costanza Lentini (a1), David Blackman (a2) and Jari Pakkanen (a3)


This paper presents the results of the second and main period of excavation. The limits of the site were defined: a monumental building with four covered slipways or shipsheds, flanking another major public building, quite possibly the agora. Preliminary conclusions based on the 2001 excavation of the northernmost shipshed (BSA 2003) can be supplemented and modified.

The surprising discovery was ramps of sand, resurfaced several times during the second half of the fifth century. Shipsheds 3–4 produced evidence of two architectural phases, with the back- and side-walls moved upslope, and the ramps now ending in an upswinging curve.

The existence of an early phase in the dockyard, already indicated in 2001, was confirmed. The later roof of Corinthian type, without decoration (second half of fifth century), was preceded by a roof of the late sixth–early fifth century BC, attested in particular by a remarkable series of antefixes, both Sileni and Gorgoneia, found in every shed, with some concentration in sheds 2 and 3, and with a number of other architectural terracottas (all described in the catalogue). The excavation context shows that this material comes from the same roof, indicating the very unusual combination of Silenus mask and Gorgon mask antefixes.

Other finds are more briefly discussed. Remains of red and blue pigment show that ships were painted in the shipsheds. Pottery finds provide considerable evidence of drinking; so do some graffiti, while others may be ostraka for a selection procedure (possibly ostracism). A scatter of arrow-heads and a few spear-heads have been found in the working levels of the ramps.

The case is put for shipsheds as monumental architecture, with some specifically Sicilian features. Comparative material for use of wooden posts and post-pits is discussed, and also the use of mudbrick.

A three-dimensional computer reconstruction of the shipshed complex is illustrated, and some particular aspects discussed (lighting and drainage of water from the roof). The reconstruction preferred has a separate stepped ridged roof over shipsheds 1–2 and 3–4.

Η παρούσα ανακοίνωση παρουσιάζει τα αποτελέσματα της δεύτερης και κύριας ανασκαφικής περιόδου. Τα όρια που καθορίστηκαν στον ανασκαφικό χώρο ήταν: ένα κτίριο μνημειακής αρχιτεκτονικής με τέσσερα στεγαζόμενα νεώρια ή νεωσοίκους, το οποίο βρισκεται πλευρικά σε ένα άλλο μεγάλο δημόσιο κτίριο, κατά πάσα πιθανότητα την αγορά. Τα αρχικά συμπεράσματα που βασίζονται στις ανασκαφές του 2001 στο βορειότερο νεώσοικο (BSA 2003) μπορούν να συμπληρωθούν και να τροποποιηθούν.

Η απροσδόκητη ανακάλυψη ήταν τα κεκλιμμένα επίπεδα (ράμπες) από άμμο, τα οποία επιστρώθηκαν ξανά αρκετές φορές κατά τη διάρκεια του δεύτερου μισού του 5ου αιώνα. Οι νεώσοικοι 3–4 παρείσχαν ενδείξεις δύο αρχιτεκτονικών φάσεων, με τους οπίσθιους και πλαϊνούς τοίχους μετακινημένους προς την πλαγιά του λόφου και τα κεκλιμμένα επίπεδα να καταλήγουν τώρα σε μία ανωφερική καμπύλη.

Η ύπαρξη μίας πρωιμότερης φάσης στο νεώριο, που είχε ήδη επισημανθεί το 2001, επιβεβαιώθηκε. Της ύστερης στέγης κορινθιακού τύπου χωρίς διακόσμηση (δεύτερο μισό του 5ου αιώνα) προηγήθηκε μία στέγη του ύστερου 6ου-πρώιμου 5ου αιώνα π.Χ., η οποία πιστοποιήθηκε ειδικότερα από μία εντυπωσιακή σειρά από ακροκέραμα, με μορφές Σειληνών και Гοργόνεια, τα οποία βρέθηκαν σε κάθε νεώσοικο, με μια ιδιαίτερη συγκέντρωση στους νεωσοίκους 2 και 3, όπως επίσης και από έναν αριθμό άλλων πήλινων αρχιτεκτονικών μελών (περιγράφονται στον κατάλογο). Το ανασκαφικό περιβάλλον (context) δείχνει ότι αυτό το υλικό προέρχεται από την ίδια στέγη, υποδεικνύοντας τον πολύ ασυνήθιστο συνδυασμό ακροκεράμων με προσωπίδες Σειληνών και Гοργόνεια.

Τα υπόλοιπα ευρήματα συζητώνται με μεγαλύτερη συντομία. Υπολείμματα ερυθράς και κυανής χρωστικής δείχνουν ότι η βαφή των πλοίων γινόταν στους νεωσοίκους. Ευρήματα κεραμεικής παρέχουν αξιόλογες ενδείξεις κατανάλωσης ποτού- το ίδιο υποδηλώνουν και ορισμένα ακκιδογραφήματα (graffiti), ενώ άλλα, είναι ίσως όσιρακα προς χρήσιν σε κάποια εκλογική διαδικασία (ενδεχομένως οστρακισμό). Ένας αριθμός διεσπαρμένων αιχμών βελών και λίγες αιχμές ακοντίων έχουν βρεθεί στους χώρους εργασίας των κεκλιμμένων επιπέδων.

Η θεωρία που διατυπώνεται αφορά στους νεωσοίκους ως μνημειακή αρχιτεκτονική με ορισμένα ιδιαίτερα σικελικά χαρακτηριστικά. Εξετάζεται και συγκριτικό υλικό για την χρήση ξύλινων πασσάλων και πασσαλο-οπών, όπως επίσης και η χρήση ωμοπλίνθων.

Απεικονίζεται, ακόμη, μία τρισδιάστατη ηλεκτρονική αναπαράσταση του συγκροτήματος των νεωσοίκων και εξετάζονται ορισμένα ιδιαίτερα χαρακτηριστικά (ο φωτισμός και η απορροή του νερού από τη στέγη). Η αναπαράσταση που προτιμήθηκε παρουσιάζει μία ξεχωριστή, βαθμιδωτή, δίρριχτη στέγη πάνω από τους νεωσοίκους 1–2 και 3–4.

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The Shipsheds of Sicilian Naxos: a Second Preliminary Report (2003–6)1

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