Finds from the excavations in the ›public center‹ of Lousoi

The movable finds from the area of the two cult buildings and the Hellenistic colonnade in the ›public center‹ of Lousoi are the topic of the publication. Based on the clay, metal, glass, and bone finds, insights into the cult practices in Lousoi from the Geometric period to the early imperial period will be developed and, furthermore, issues regarding the local pottery production will be discussed. 

In addition to the typological and chronological classification of the finds dating from the late 9th/early 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, ideas on the history of Lousoi and the building history of the three buildings as well as cult contexts with possible indications of the object of worship will be presented. Furthermore, based on the workshop waste and kiln supports from the area of the colonnade aspects of local production will be discussed.

The Geometric period and the Geometric-early Archaic period

The earliest phase of use was identified along the edge of the terrace below the north colonnade of the peripteros and the northern wing of the cult building on terrace 1. Two cooking pots, a cup, and a lekythos-jug are the oldest known vessels from Lousoi and document gatherings and communal meals in this area, likely as part of cult celebrations, already in the early or middle Geometric period. A use layer of the late Geometric-early Archaic period under the temple cella is even older than the two observed apsidal buildings. 

Finds from the area of the cult building on terrace 1 

A deposit with Classical terracottas, miniature vessels, and bone astragali dates the construction or abandonment of the naiskos (›oikos building‹) under the Hellenistic construction. A late Hellenistic votive deposit in the main room of the ›orthostat building‹ containing lamps, unguentaria, as well as a newly deposited Geometric horse statuette possibly dates the addition of the lateral rooms. A cult meal possibly took place at the same time as the deposition. Fragments of thymiateria, imperial period glass beakers, and lamps in addition to coins from the area of the altar illustrate cult rituals up to the Trajanic period. 

Finds from the area of the peripteros 

The construction of column foundations is dated to the second half of the 3rd century based on pottery fragments. The architecturally tangible dismantling of the temple in the late Hellenistic period is documented by pottery fragments in the pronaos. Classical to imperial period votives, including Classical weapons, deposited around the base of the cult image verify the cult tradition of the location. Fragments of large scale Laconian roof tiles are from a predecessor building. In its last phase the west and the east rooms of the three-part cella were used for late Hellenistic-early imperial period ritual meals.

Finds from the area of the colonnade 

The backfill under the colonnade has only been studied in individual sections and contained fragments of Archaic vessels, roof tiles, and workshop waste, including kiln supports. Also, a small backfill with fragments of Geometric vessels was identified. The construction period of the colonnade can only be grasped with a Hellenistic cup and a few vessel fragments. Once the colonnade had been abandoned as a formal building, a pottery workshop established itself directly in front of it. Currently only three fragmented, overfired early imperial period vessels can be assigned to this production.