The Geometric and Archaic vessels from the sanctuary of Artemis Hemera in Lousoi (Peloponnese) are being examined with petrographic and geochemical methods in order to identify the sites of manufacture and the techniques of production, according to which different workshops can be differentiated. By determining the origin of the vessels, the regional and supra-regional attractiveness of the sanctuary can be reconstructed.
In this project, petrographic and wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence analyses are predominantly employed. Collaborative work and scientific exchange with other archaeometric projects in the northern Peloponnese and on the gulf of Corinth should help in developing a comprehensive petrographic and geochemical comparative databank; with the aid of this databank, it should be possible to reconstruct regional networks of exchange. Representative ceramic samples will be selected with the aid of general, microscopically visible characteristics of the clay matrix and the inclusions, which can be identified with non-destructive investigative methods (pXRF and optical microscope). Geological samples and Hellenistic building materials (e.g. roof tiles) as well as wasters will also be consulted in order to define a local reference group.
In addition to questions of origin, archaeometric investigations can also elucidate technological aspects such as the preparation of the clay body, processes of moulding, treatment of the surface and firing procedures. In addition, the question should also be pursued as to what degree the vessels that only appear in ritual contexts differ technologically from the rest of the ceramic inventory.
The project is being expanded both at the geographical as well as the chronological level. Contemporary assemblages from other find-sites in the northern Peloponnese such as Ano Mazaraki, Nikoleika, Skepasto, Psophis and Soudeneika are also being analysed in order to acquire a more comprehensive reconstruction of the regional and supra-regional networks of the sanctuary. In addition, the materials from the Archaic colony of Metapontum in South Italy are being examined in order to work out their relations to the northern Peloponnese sites, taking into consideration ceramic imports and the transfer of pottery technology. Not least, petrographic and geochemical analyses of the later ceramic evidence from the Hellenistic polis of Lousoi are being carried out in order to record diachronic transformations in the local strategies of supply and ceramic reception, as well as the intra- and inter-regional networks of Lousoi.