The archaeological research carried out between 2011 and 2016 on the southern and eastern slopes of the acropolis and in the area of the 'saddle' immediately to the east provided new insights into the history of the Late Mycenaean settlement of Aigeira and the origins of the early sanctuary.

In the 1970s and 1980s, W. Alzinger was already able to prove several phases of a Late Mycenaean settlement on the acropolis of Aigeira. Of particular importance was the discovery of a significant destruction horizon by fire marking the end of one the first Mycenaean settlement phase.

New excavations on the slope of the Acropolis and on the ›saddle‹

Between 2011 and 2016, an extensive Bronze Age 'lower town' was identified for the first time on the saddle‹. According to this, the acropolis was the centre of a larger settlement, which extended over the entire area of the plateau to the south and east of the acropolis and covered an area of up to 12,000 m².

›Lower town‹ and fortification

Traces of a powerful destruction horizon by fire were also found in the Mycenaean 'lower town. This indicates that large parts or even the entire Mycenaean settlement together with the acropolis were hit by one and the same fire disaster. The reconstruction of the destroyed settlement began immediately after the catastrophe. The fact that the acropolis and presumably also parts of the 'lower town were now provided with a new fortification wall suggests, in any case, an increased need for protection on the part of the inhabitants of Aigeira.

The construction of this fortification wall also shows that a functioning settlement organisation must have continued to exist after the fire catastrophe, which made the realisation of such a building project possible in the first place. Remarkably, Aigeira is so far the only example in the Peloponnese of a site that was newly fortified in this late phase of the Bronze Age.

Beyond these findings on the settlement structure, the excavations in the 'lower town' also allow new insights into everyday life, domestic animal use and economic practices in Bronze Age Aigeira economic practices in Bronze Age Aigeira.

Aigeira after the End of the Bronze Age: Settlement Continuity or Hiatus?

The new research in the area of the 'lower town' also yielded findings for the period after the end of the Mycenaean settlement in the years around 1100 B.C. Since no finds from the Sub-Mycenaean, Proto-Geometric and Early Geometric periods have been identified so far, the possibility that Aigeira was unsettled in the early 1st millennium B.C. must be considered.

The Early Greek Sanctuary

From the second half of the 8th century BC onwards, there is a clear increase in ceramic finds, which can be seen in connection with the foundation of the early Greek sanctuary on the Acropolis. Initial results of geophysical investigations on the plateaus to the south and east of the Acropolis, i.e. in the area of the Bronze Age 'lower city', suggest that the settlement belonging to this sanctuary was also located here. Its investigation will be the focus of future work in Aigeira.

Principal investigator