The new excavation project at Olynthos uses inter and multidisciplinary approaches to interpret the domestic and social life of an urban centre of the Classical period and its chora. The project started in 2014 under the direction of the Greek Archaeological Service in collaboration with the Universities of Liverpool and Michigan and under the auspices of the British School at Athens. The archaeobotanical work is used as a proxy in order to document contextualised and situated activities of farming, food processing, production and disposal of food at Olynthos.

The archaeobotanical data from Olynthos, retrieved through a detailed sampling protocol, comes as an invaluable addition to the very limited archaeobotanical data deriving from the Classical period thus far, not only from Macedonia but the whole of Greece. This dataset will not only demonstrate the essential value of interpretative techniques such as archaeobotanical analysis in the study of archaeological contexts, but it will also emphasize that in the absence of such work, knowledge of significant aspects of daily life would have been permanently lost.

The work has focused on the range of cultivated and wild plants used at the site, detecting any variation in the species and dietary choices between the different buildings and identifying crop-processing procedures and husbandry regimes or the use of specific plants as fuel. The archaeobotanical work also aims to discuss the form and intensity of labour, the risks involved in agricultural production undertaken at Olynthos and whether the production of agricultural products aimed to self-sufficiency or was market oriented.

The support of the Mediterranean Archaeological Fund was used for the travel expenses for the work to be undertaken at the Fitch Laboratory of the British School at Athens, where the material is stored and there are all the necessary equipment and reference collection of the study of the material.

Margaritis 2
Taking soil samples from House B at Olynthos. Source: own photo.
Margaritis 1
Studying seeds under the microscope. Source: own photo.

For further information, please contact Dr Evi Margaritis (Assistant Professor in Archaeological Science, STARC, The Cyprus Institute) on evimargaritis@gmail.com.

 

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