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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2017

Dora Katsonopoulou
The Helike Society and The Helike Project, Athens, Greece
Stella Katsarou
Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports
E-mail address:


Excavations carried out by The Helike Project in the Helike plain on the south-western coast of the Gulf of Corinth, north-west Peloponnese, since 2000, have brought to light the well-preserved remains of a coastal Early Helladic (EH) II–III settlement. The site developed as a densely organised settlement during the EH II period and underwent a major architectural transformation at the beginning of the following EH III. In addition to a reorganisation of the settlement on a rectangular town grid, the outstanding feature among the buildings discovered is that of a monumental Corridor House. The newly organised building plan of the settlement was most probably associated with the rise of a new socio-economic structure at the time, including advanced technological specialisation, and possibly the establishment of administrative control within the town supporting communal interests, together with a new emphasis on the status of the private individual.

Considering EH Helike in its broader geographical context, the site's prosperity marks an exception to the widespread decline attested in the mainland settlements of the time, and links it rather with centres across the Aegean Sea and further east. In addition to similarities at the level of settlement organisation, such overseas links and contacts are conspicuously evidenced at Helike through the presence of an array of exotic, prestigious items and commodities including an outstanding depas cup of Trojan/Anatolian type, ornaments of precious metal from the east or the north and Melian obsidian tools, and by the adoption of ‘international’ fashions of life such as the ‘serve and drink’ culture and ‘potter's marks’. In this paper, we present the range of material evidence from the EH III town of Helike illustrating its various spheres of foreign contact, and discuss possible insights into the social and economic conditions that generated the town's floruit and cosmopolitanism in EH III.

Κοσμοπολίτικη κοινωνία στην ηπειρωτική Ελλάδα και ανάδυση του ιδιωτικού κύρους: νέα δεδομένα από το παράλιο πρωτοελλαδικό κέντρο της Ελίκης στη ΒΔ Πελοπόννησο, Ελλάδα

Σε συστηματικές ανασκαφικές έρευνες που διεξήγαγε, από το 2000 και εξής, το Ερευνητικό Πρόγραμμα Αρχαίας Ελίκης στην πεδιάδα της Ελίκης στη νοτιοδυτική ακτή του Κορινθιακού κόλπου, στη ΒΔ Πελοπόννησο, ήρθαν στο φως, σε πολύ καλή κατάσταση διατήρησης, κατάλοιπα οικισμού που χρονολογείται στην ΠΕ ΙΙ και ΙΙΙ περίοδο. Κατά την ΠΕ ΙΙ ο οικισμός χαρακτηρίζεται από πυκνή οικιστική οργάνωση, η οποία υφίσταται ραγδαίες μεταβολές στην αρχή της ακόλουθης ΠΕ ΙΙΙ. Οι αλλαγές αυτές περιλαμβάνουν την αναδιοργάνωση του οικισμού βάσει ορθογωνισμένου χωροταξικού σχεδιασμού, καθώς και τη διαμόρφωση ενός μνημειώδους κτηρίου του τύπου “των Διαδρόμων”. Οι αρχιτεκτονικές καινοτομίες πιθανότατα συνδέονται με την ανάδυση νέας κοινωνικο-οικονομικής δομής, που χαρακτηρίζεται από πρωτοαστικά χαρακτηριστικά, όπως η συστηματοποίηση της τεχνολογικής εξειδίκευσης και η εγκαθίδρυση διοικητικού ελέγχου της πόλης, ο οποίος ταυτόχρονα επιτρέπει την ανάδυση του κύρους και της δύναμης ιδιωτικών θεσμών.

Σε ευρύτερο γεωγραφικό πλαίσιο, η ακμή της Ελίκης κατά την ΠΕ ΙΙΙ διαφοροποιείται από την διάχυτη παρακμή των σύγχρονων οικισμών της ηπειρωτικής Ελλάδας, ενώ βρίσκει ομοιότητες με τα κέντρα του Αιγαίου, αν όχι και ακόμα ανατολικότερα. Εκτός από τις ομοιότητες στο επίπεδο της οικιστικής οργάνωσης, η ύπαρξη άμεσης επικοινωνίας της Ελίκης με μακρινούς θαλάσσιους προορισμούς τεκμηριώνεται από ένα εύρος εισαγμένων αντικειμένων, που υποδηλώνουν την προώθηση σχέσεων κύρους στο εσωτερικό της κοινωνίας της. Στα αντικείμενα αυτά, συγκαταλέγονται ένα εμβληματικό δέπας τύπου Τροίας/Ανατολίας, κοσμήματα από πολύτιμα μέταλλα με προέλευση από την ανατολή ή το βορρά, και οψιανός Μήλου, τα οποία εντάσσονται στο πλαίσιο υιοθέτησης μιας πολιτισμικής κοινής, που χαρακτηρίζεται από τη χρήση σημείων “των κεραμέων” και κυρίως από την υιοθέτηση συνηθειών συμποσιασμού. Σε αυτό το άρθρο, παρουσιάζουμε το εύρος των υλικών καταλοίπων που μαρτυρούν τη σφαίρα αυτών των επαφών και συζητούμε τη σχέση των κοσμοπολίτικων χαρακτηριστικών με την ανάδυση δυνάμεων κύρους στο πρωτοαστικό κέντρο της Ελίκης κατά την πρώιμη ΠΕ ΙΙΙ.

Copyright © The Council, British School at Athens 2017 

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