Survey in the Western Plain of Thessaly, Greece

From the 10th of May to the 10th of June, Giannis Apostolou and Konstantina Venieri visited the region of Karditsa, in Western Thessaly, Greece, and completed their third field campaign in the area.

Giannis Apostolou during the survey

Their study is carried out in the context of the ongoing PhD thesis of the latter, “Computational approaches to the long-term reconstruction of past Thessalian landscapes”, in collaboration with the local Archaeological Service. The project aims at the location and analysis of archaeological sites in the study area. This PhD constitutes an extension of the project “Long Time, No see: Land Reclamation and the Cultural Record of Central-Western Plain of Thessaly”.

Western Thessaly has a diverse cultural landscape with sites known as mounds or “magoulas” in the local dialect. However, extensive land modifications have made it challenging to document and understand the long-term history of this landscape. To address this, the GIAP team has developed methods and techniques for documentation and interpretation.

An upstanding neolithic “magoula” dominating the modern agricultural landscape of the Thessalian Plain
The topographic expression of an unknown archaeological feature detected through historical aerial imagery.

The team members conduct archaeological prospection to identify features of potential archaeological interest. These features are detected using various sources such as historical aerial photography, topographic maps, or the TanDEM-X Digital Surface Model. Methods like photointerpretation and carthointerpretation, sometimes aided by computational techniques like the microtopographic analysis using the Multi-Scale Relief Model algorithm (MSRM), are applied.

A total of 135 features were thoroughly examined through pedestrian survey. As a result, 24 new sites were discovered for the first time. In the case of preserved mounds, drone flights were also carried out to gather data for remote sensing and geomorphological analyses.

Aerial view of the impressive multi-temporal site of Chomatokastro or “Earth Castle”, one of the focus points of this season’s campaign

All these new data will populate Project’s geo-database completing the archaeological map of the area and contributing to our knowledge on the long-term formation of its cultural landscape.

For more updates of these projects, stay tuned!

Konstantina Venieri is an FI PhD candidate with the project: Computational approaches to the long-term reconstruction of past Thessalian landscapes (01/05/2021 – 30/04/2024). AGAUR, Ajuts de Formació d’Investigadors (FI-DGR) (2021 FI_B 00989). Supervised by Hèctor A. Orengo (ICREA Research Professor at ICAC)

Giannis Apostolou is an FI PhD candidate with the project: Advancing the development of automated intensive archaeological survey: application to case studies from Greece (01/07/2020 – 30/06/2023). AGAUR, Ajuts de Formació d’Investigadors (FI-DGR) (2020 FI_B 01013). Supervised by Hèctor A. Orengo (ICREA Research Professor at ICAC)

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