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Dossier : Les fortifications du monde grec

Locrian and Phocean watch‑towers

Tours de guet en Phocide et en Locride
Λοκρικά και φωκικά φυλακεία
Fanouria Dakoronia et Petros Kounouklas
p. 267-288

Résumés

Les fouilles effectuées par l’Éphorie des Antiquités de Phtiotide et Eurythanie dans la partie orientale de l’ancienne région de Locride et dans le nord‑est de la Phocide antique ont mis au jour des vestiges de constructions datant de l’époque hellénistique et romaine. Ces constructions ont été identifiées comme des avant‑postes faisant partie de systèmes organisés de garde et de protection des voies de communication terrestres et maritimes. Elles sont les premières à être fouillées en détail et apportent des informations fondamentales sur les pratiques mises en œuvre pour la défense et la sécurité des communications entre la Phocide et la Locride antiques.

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1The science of archaeology is determined to a great extend by accidental facts and unexpected agents. The above view is proved by the findings presented below.

2A number of watch-towers were identified by chance in the area of the modern county of Locris that includes ancient Eastern Locris, and the Northeast part of ancient Phocis, which form the topic of this article (fig. 1). Three of them have been excavated over the last few decades by the local Ephorate of Antiquities.

Fig. 1 — Map of the modern county of Lokris showing the location of watch-towers and fortified sites.

Fig. 1 — Map of the modern county of Lokris showing the location of watch-towers and fortified sites.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

  • 1 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 247‑248; Pikoulas 1995, p. 28.
  • 2 A.W. Lawrence, Greek Aims in Fortification (1979), p188.

3The term watch-tower has been chosen for the structures under discussion as they are isolated buildings outside the urban plan of a city‑state’s territory. According to ancient literary sources for similar buildings different names have been assigned to these types of structures, such as πύργοι, φρυκτωρίες, φρυκτώρια, πυρσουρίδες, πυρσούρια, φυλάκια, φυλακεία, φυλακτήρια, σκοπές, φρούρια1, and περιπολεία2. Furthermore, according to Pseudo-Demosthenes (47-56) a tower may be characterized as the fortified part of a farmhouse.

  • 3 F. Dakoronia, AD 50 (1995), Chron., p. 341‑342, pl. 4.

4A fire in a public forest area near the modern village of Sfaka in the Municipality of Amfikleia-Elateia, in the summer of 1994, revealed the remains of a watch-tower (fig. 2). A rescue excavation was conducted and verified the character of the building3.

Fig. 2 — Aerial photograph showing the location of the antiquities at Sfaka.

Fig. 2 — Aerial photograph showing the location of the antiquities at Sfaka.

Courtesy Hellenic Cadastre.

5Recently, another accidental event, again a fire in a public forest area, a short distance southwest of the excavation, revealed structural remains of a similar construction.

  • 4 A. Orlandos, Τα υλικά δοµής των αρχαίων Ελλήνων (1959‑1960), p. 220‑222.
  • 5 F. E. Winter, Greekfortifications (1971), p. 71‑77; Pikoulas 1995, p. 330.

6The watch-tower excavated in 1994 is located 19 km from Atalante, on the modern road from Atalante to Elateia. It is square in plan measuring 9 × 9 m and its masonry is pseudoisodomic trapezoidal (fig. 3)4. Local large square‑cut limestone blocks were used for its construction, laid on the hard rocky ground, prepared for this purpose (fig. 4). The walls are preserved to a maximum height of 0.92 m. Their upper surface was shaped to receive further courses on top, a fact also deduced from the scattered ashlar blocks discovered throughout the building. There is no evidence of the final height of the building or of how many upper floors there may have been. The use of other building material for the wall superstructure, such as mud‑bricks and timber cannot be excluded, as suggested by other comparable examples5.

Fig. 3 — Topographical plan of the watch-tower and the ancient paved road at Sfaka.

Fig. 3 — Topographical plan of the watch-tower and the ancient paved road at Sfaka.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

Fig. 4 — The watch-tower at Sfaka.

Fig. 4 — The watch-tower at Sfaka.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

  • 6 S. Morris, « The Towers of Ancient Leukas. Results of a Topographic Survey, 1991‑1992 », Hesperia 7 (...)

7The structure is divided by an inner wall into two compartments. The smaller one to the north measures 8 × 3 m. On its eastern side, another wall, constructed of roughly-worked medium stones, forms a small area, which could be interpreted either as an air‑duct or a storage room6. The position of the main entrance of the building is not clear due to the poor preservation of its ground plan. However, a gap on the outer north wall could be interpreted as such. On the same axis in the middle of the partition wall there is a 1.05 m wide opening, connecting the two compartments. The tower was roofed with tiles of laconian type, as indicated by the destruction layers of the northern part.

8Two stretches of walls forming a right angle discovered outside and parallel to the southeast corner of the building can be interpreted as part of an enclosure (περίβολος). Both walls are constructed of roughly worked limestone of medium and large size, with no binding material. The masonry is trapezoidal with some irregularities.

  • 7 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 221.

9The building techniques attested at the watch-tower of Sfaka can be compared with those of numerous contemporary architectural remains recorded in the region under discussion, and dated to the 3rd cent. B.C.7, a period when we believe the watch-tower was erected. This suggestion is reinforced by the pottery collected during the excavation, ranging chronologically from the 3rd cent. B.C. to the beginning of the 1st cent. B.C. when the building was probably destroyed.

  • 8 Fig. 05a, see Rotroff 2006, p. 256, no 112, fig. 18, pl. 117, date: 225‑190 b.C. Fig. 05b, see Rotr (...)
  • 9 Fig. 5c, seeRotroff 2006, p. 304, no 568, 569, fig. 72, pl. 61, date: 175‑150 b.C. & 150‑110 b.C. r (...)
  • 10 Fig. 5d, seeF. Dakoronia, « Σύνολα κεραµικής από τάφους µε νοµίσµατα από την Ανατολική Λοκρίδα », i (...)
  • 11 Fig. 5e, see Rotroff 1997, p. 349, no 1108, fig. 68, date: 200‑175 b.C.
    Fig. 5f, see S. Rotroff, He (...)
  • 12 Fig. 5g, see G. Zachos, « Ελληνιστικοί τάφοι από την Αρχαία Τιθορέα (Φωκίδα) », in Kazakou 2004, p. (...)
  • 13 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 252.
  • 14 Pikoulas 1995, p. 358.

10Pottery mainly consists of vessels for storage (figs 5a, 5b)8, cooking (fig. 5c)9, eating (fig. 5d)10 and drinking (figs 5e, 5f)11. A few oil‑lamps were also discovered (fig. 5g)12. These are ordinary household utensils necessary for the needs of the garrison. These types of artefacts do not contradict the identification of the building as a watch-tower since there seems to be no typical military pottery13. Sparta is an exception to this rule, where the vessel κώθων is referred as part of a soldier’s equipment (Aristophanes, Hippeis 600)14.

  • 15 H. O. Schmitt, Die Angriffswaffen, in R. Felsch (ed.), KALAPODI II. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen im (...)

11The identification of the excavated building at Sfaka as a watch‑tower is also supported by the discovery of an iron spearhead (fig. 6) whose type is attested at the nearby shrine of Kalapodi and is dated at 4th-2nd cent. B.C15.

Fig. 5 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Sfaka.

Fig. 5 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Sfaka.

a – Part of a lagynos; b – Lip of a black-glazed amphora or pelike, probably from a local workshop; c – Handle and lip of a cooking pot; d – Part of a fish-plate from a local workshop, date: 2nd cent. B.C.; e – Sherds of a skyphos with handles; f – Sherd of a megarian bowl; g – Part of an oil-lamp from a local workshop, dated to the 2nd cent.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

Fig. 6 — Iron spearhead recorded at the excavation of Sfaka.

Fig. 6 — Iron spearhead recorded at the excavation of Sfaka.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

  • 16 F. Dakoronia, P. Kounouklas, « ∆ρόµος µε παρελθόν », in International Conference. Ancient Phokis. N (...)

12Α survey conducted on the surrounding area of the excavation, after a recent fire, enriched the archaeological record with more architectural remains consisting of stretches of wall with similar masonry to that of the excavated watch‑tower, and probably belonging to a similar type of building (fig. 7)16.

Fig. 7 — Structural remains discovered west of the watch-tower at Sfaka.

Fig. 7 — Structural remains discovered west of the watch-tower at Sfaka.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

13During these investigations, part of an ancient paved road was discovered 24.50 m west of the watch-tower (fig. 8).

Fig. 8 — The ancient paved road at Sfaka.

Fig. 8 — The ancient paved road at Sfaka.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

  • 17 For the first reference of the existence of a small part of an ancient paved road next to the watch (...)
  • 18 Pikoulas 1995, p. 17.
  • 19 A. Yialouri, « Ερείπια κτιριακού συγκροτήµατος στο Καλαπόδι Φθιώτιδας », in A. Mazarakis (ed.), 3ο (...)

14The ancient road runs parallel to the modern road of Elateia-Kalapodi-Atalante17. Paved roads are constructed on the Greek mainland at the beginning of the Roman conquest, probably in the middle of the 2nd cent. B.C18. The presence of a modern road following the ancient one confirms that ancient road networks remained in use until modern times and change only when new construction principles and economic parameters make it essential. An inn and baths dated to the early Byzantine period, discovered during public works for the widening of the modern Elateia-Kalapodi-Atalante road, add further evidence19. Such buildings constructed near roads were useful for the travellers.

  • 20 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 71; F. E. Winter (n.5), p. 77.

15The preserved part of the ancient road measures 18 m in length and its width ranges from 1.5 to 2 m. For its construction local limestone slabs of different sizes were used, similar to the building material of the watch-tower20.

  • 21 Zachos 2004, p. 208; ead., Ελάτεια Ελληνιστική και ρωµαϊκή Περίοδος (2013), p. 37.

16The two above mentioned buildings are situated on the top of low hills on both sides of the ancient road, which follows the saddle between the summits of Velaora and Prophitis Ilias, both of which were within Elateia’s eastern-northeastern boundaries21.

  • 22 S. Prignitz, « Zur Identifizierung des Heiligtum von Kalapodi », ZPE 189 (2014), p. 141‑143.
  • 23 S. Prignitz, « Zur Identifizierung des Heiligtum von Kalapodi », ZPE 189 (2014), p. 144‑146.

17Based on excavation and epigraphic evidence it is possible that this road can be identified with the one referred to by Pausanias (X, 35, 1) leading to the district governed by Abae22, the Phocaean city which housed the Shrine and Oracle of Apollo,23 according to ancient literary sources.

  • 24 G. Zachos 2013 (n. 21), p. 119.

18The date of erection of Sfaka’s watch‑tower to the 3rd cent. B.C. is backed up by the fact that this period is characterized by repeated conflicts between the Greek ethne. The pottery collected allows us to date the destruction of the watch‑tower to the first half of the 1st cent. B.C. and more precisely during the First Mithridatic War, some of which took place in the region of Elateia24. The view that Sulla, during his campaign against Greece, destroyed the Greek cities and their fortifications cannot be true in the case of Sfaka’s watch‑tower, since the Elateians remained pro-Roman, and perhaps helped the Roman victory at the battle of Chaeronea. This friendly attitude was rewarded by the Romans with the declaration of Elateia as a free, and not taxed, city (civitasliberaetimmunis), the only city in fact that fought on the side of the Romans.

  • 25 Y. Bequignon, La vallée du Spercheios (1937), p. 5‑6; F. Dakoronia, Μάρµαρα. ΤαΥποµυκηναϊκάΝεκροταφ (...)

19In the antiquity the territory of a city‑state included the area of its economic interests and activities, which were usually dictated by the topography. A similar situation is still true for modern Greek villages, where their boundaries extend to the land belonging to the members of the community, whilst the rest is public woodland25.

  • 26 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 253‑254.

20The two buildings, located at both sides of the ancient road, can be characterized as roadside guard-houses. Such structures are located on the outskirts of the city‑states, on the borders where sovereignty was not normally exercised, at locations far from arable land, or rocky areas suitable only for pasture26.

  • 27 K. Tsaousi, “Οδικό δίκτυο και άµυνα στη ∆‑Β∆ Αττική”, Thesis, University of Thessaly (2003), p. 6.

21From the ancient literary sources we know that the city‑states kept garrisons in such watch-towers to prevent invasions or any kind of hostile activity. They also protected travellers from attack, prevented cattle stealing and sometimes functioned as custom-houses27.

  • 28 Zachos 2004, p. 212‑214.

22A study of the topography of ancient Elateia confirmed the existence of a network of watch-towers for the protection of the city and its countryside28. The buildings of Sfaka may have belonged to the defence system of Elateia. This is evidenced by the geographical position of the structures, whose visibility is unlimited towards the territorial area of the city. They were constructed at the borders of Elateia’s territory, perhaps, on the basis of a central authority’s plan, rather than as private enterprises.

  • 29 A.W. Lawrence (supra, n.2), p. 189; Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 250.

23The planning of such networks, which constitute the defence system of the countryside, is affected by the geographical relief29. The buildings of Sfaka must therefore have served as frontier guardhouses for the Elateian territory.

24In the area of the modern village of Magaplatanos (fig. 1) a similar structure was discovered, situated on the southeastern slopes of Prophitis Ilias hill, next to the modern road of Livanates–Megaplatanos, 500 m west of a military radar installation.

  • 30 F. Dakoronia, AD 40 (1985), Chron., p. 175‑176.

25An excavation undertaken in 1985 revealed a rectangular building measuring 9.80 × 7.20 m founded on rocky ground (fig. 9)30. Its walls were built with rectangular roughly-worked limestone blocks in pseudoisodomic masonry (fig. 10). They are preserved up to four courses to a maximum height of 2 m.

26The building’s architectural features (masonry, plan) as well as its location on a hillock with a direct view of other fortified sites in the area (Mikrovivos, discussed below), the North Euboean Gulf and the island of Euboea, support its identification as a watch-tower.

Fig. 9 — Overall plan of the watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

Fig. 9 — Overall plan of the watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

Fig. 10 — The watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

Fig. 10 — The watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

27Poor architectural remains discovered around the tower could belong to adjoining buildings for the accommodation of the garrison.

  • 31 Fig. 11a, see H. Robinson, Pottery of the Roman World. Chronology, AthenianAgora V (1959), group F, (...)
  • 32 Fig. 11b, see H. Robinson, Pottery of the Roman World. Chronology, AthenianAgora V (1959), group F, (...)
  • 33 Fig. 11c, see Rotroff 1997, p. 271, no 276, pl. 28, date: 150‑100 B.C.
  • 34 Fig. 11d, see Rotroff 1997, p. 317, no 730, fig. 51, pl. 65, date: ca 175 B.C.
  • 35 Figs 11e, 11f, see Rotroff 1997, p. 17, no 61, pl. 74, date: end of 2nd cent. B.C. and p. 83, no 32 (...)
  • 36 Fig. 11g, see R. Howland, Greek lamps and their survivals, Athenian Agora IV (1958), p. 120, no 500 (...)
  • 37 Bouyia 2000, p. 51‑59.

28Dating the complex to the Hellenistic period and more precisely to the end of the 4th cent. B.C. or the beginning of the 3rd cent. B.C. is confirmed by the pottery. It consists, mainly, of sherds belonging to cooking pots (fig. 11a)31, containers (fig. 11b)32 and drinking (fig. 11c)33 and eating vessels (fig. 11d)34. A few examples of megarian bowls (figs 11e, 11f)35 and oil lamps (fig. 11g)36 have been also recorded. Furthermore the building technique can be compared to that of numerous contemporary fortifications in Eastern Locris37.

Fig. 11 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

Fig. 11 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

a – Lip of a cooking pot; b – Handle and lip of a jug; c – Part of a kantharos from a local workshop; d – Part of a fish-plate from a local workshop; e, f – Two sherds of megarian bowls; g – Part of an oil-lamp.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

29As in the case of Sfaka, the watch-tower of Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos) is located along a modern road verifying the principle, previously discussed, that the ancient road networks have remained in use throughout history, unless new construction techniques or economic parameters force them to change route or be destroyed. Thus this installation was guarding the terrestrial and maritime networks of Opountian Locris and acted as a beacon between its settlements (Opous, Kynos, e.t.c.)and watch-towers (Mikrovivos).

  • 38 F. Dakoronia, E. Zachou, AD 54 (1999), Chron., p. 370, 371, fig. 25.
  • 39 Fig. 14a, see Rotroff 1997, p. 387, no 1484, fig. 87, pl. 112, date: ca 300 B.C.
  • 40 Sherds of plain pottery belonging to large closed vessels indicate the presence of this ceramic cat (...)
  • 41 Fig. 14b, see Rotroff 1997, p. 415‑416, no 1701, fig. 101, pl. 135, date: Late Hellenistic period.
  • 42 Fig. 14c, see Rotroff 1997, p. 324, no 815, fig. 55, pl. 68, date: 110‑86 b.C.
  • 43 Fig. 14d, see R. Howland 1958 (n. 8), p. 99, no 431, type 32, pls 15, 41, date: end of 3rd – early (...)
  • 44 Fig. 14e, see S. Rotroff 1982 (n.11), p. 45, no 3‑4, pl. 1, date: ca 225‑200 B.C.
  • 45 Fig. 14f, see Ch. Lazos, Παίζοντας στο χρόνο. Αρχαιοελληνικά και βυζαντινά παιχνίδια 1700 π.Χ. – 15 (...)

30During illegal forest clearing at the coastal hill of Mikrovivosnear the modern village of Tragana another similar structure was discovered and excavated38. It is rectangular in shape measuring 9 × 8 m with a northwest to southeast orientation (fig. 12). It should be noted that the southwest limit of this building was destroyed due to the above mentioned illegal activities. Its walls were low, preserved to a maximum height of 0.73 m. They were built with roughly-worked stones of medium size, carefully shaped without mortar (fig. 13). Some larger blocks were also used. Inner walls divided the building into smaller rooms. It was roofed by tiles of laconian type, fragments of which were found in the disturbed thin layer of soil that covered the whole structure. It is worth mentioning the similarities in plan, construction and building materials of both the buildings of Mikrovivos and Sfaka. The movable finds of the excavation consist mainly of sherds from cooking pots (fig. 14a)39, containers40, drinking (fig. 14b)41 and eating vessels (fig. 14c)42. A few fragments of oil lamps (fig. 14d)43, megarian bowls (fig. 14e)44 and a rounded sherd were also recorded, the latter probably used as a counter for backgammon (fig. 14f)45. According to the available evidence the use of the building ranges from the second half of the 4th cent. B.C. to the first half of the 1st cent. B.C.

31Since this is an isolated building, strategically placed for surveilling the navigation in the North Euboean Gulf, overlooking the coastline, it can be characterized as a watch-tower, part of the defense system of Eastern Locris, which included the building at Profitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).

  • 46 J. Fossey, TheancienttopographyofOpountianLokris (1990), p. 145, 150, 162; Bouyia 2000, p. 58‑59; F (...)

32The watch-tower of Microvivos is part of a guarding system for the coast of Opountian Locris, interacting with the fortified port of Kynos, and the fortified city of Alope and two other possible watch-towers which have been recently reported46.

Fig. 12 — Overall plan and of the watch-tower at Mikrovivos.

Fig. 12 — Overall plan and of the watch-tower at Mikrovivos.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

Fig. 13 — The watch-tower at Mikrovivos.

Fig. 13 — The watch-tower at Mikrovivos.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

Fig. 14 — Pottery and a rounded sherd collected from the excavation at Mikrovivos.

Fig. 14 — Pottery and a rounded sherd collected from the excavation at Mikrovivos.

a – Lip of a cooking pot; b – Lip of a cup; c – Part of a plate; d – Nozzle of an oil-lamp; e – Sherd of a pine-cone bowl; f – Rounded sherd.

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

33One of them was discovered and partly excavated on a low hill called Vatolaka or Ahlada, next to the National Highway, 3 km southwest of the modern village of Arkitsa, overlooking the homonymous bay (fig. 1). The remains consist of stretches of walls of similar masonry and plan to the building of Profitis Ilias, measuring 2.50 × 0.90 m, suggesting its identification as a watch-tower (fig. 15).

Fig. 15 — Structural remains at Vatolaka (Ahlada).

Fig. 15 — Structural remains at Vatolaka (Ahlada).

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

34At the northern edge of the Gulf of Arkitsa, on top of the Valakatousa or Kastro hill (fig. 1) part of a wall built with blocks of grey limestone, probably belonging to another watch-tower, was discovered during a survey. It is preserved to a maximum height of 0.85 m and is 3 m long (fig. 16).

Fig. 16 — Part of an ancient wall at Valakatousa (Kastro).

Fig. 16 — Part of an ancient wall at Valakatousa (Kastro).

Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

  • 47 F. A. Cooper, « Epaminondas and Greek Fortifications », ΑJA 90 (1986), p. 195; Bouyia 2000, p. 53.
  • 48 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 247‑248; Pikoulas 1995, p. 28.

35The buildings of Mikrovivos and Valakatousa (Kastro) seem to have defined the boundaries of Opountian Locris. The period of the erection of the watch-tower at Mikrovivos coincides with the conquest of Boeotia in the southern part of Opountian Locris, as a result of the campaigns of Epaminondas in the 4th cent. B.C47. On the other hand, the Valakatousa (Kastro) building marks the northern limit of Opountian Locris and controlled the natural terrestrial passage of the Dipotamos river towards ancient Phocis. It also had a direct view over the territory of Epiknemidian Locris, a fact which also strengthens the hypothesis for its identification as a watch-tower. Structures overlooking large areas could also function as beacons in order signal imminent danger using fire or mirrors. This is the reason why they are referred to as either beacon-towers (φρυκτωρίες) or watch-towers (φυλακεία)48.

  • 49 Pikoulas 199091, p249‑250; Pikoulas 1995, p. 360.

36The sites where the aforementioned Locrian structures are located display unlimited visibility to the coastline, the valleys and the passes inland, thus protecting the ships’ routes, transport of vehicles and travellers. Surveys carried out in various regions of Greece (i.e. Peloponnese, Attica, etc.) demonstrate the close relationship between communication networks and defence systems49, which is also confirmed for the area of Eastern Locris.

  • 50 Bouyia 2000, p. 56; F. Dakoronia et al. 2002 (n. 46), p. 67.

37The available evidence obtained from the Locrian watch-towers, and in particular their distribution, masonry and the movable finds recorded, suggest that their erection can be ascribed to the defensive programme of Demetrios Poliorcetes for the region of East Locris, a view that has been supported by other scholars50. Their destruction and abandonment, including the coastal settlement of Eastern Locris, is the result of Sulla’s raid (Plutarch, Sulla, 26).

  • 51 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 71; F. E. Winter (n. 5), p. 77.

38Looking at the question of the building materials used for the construction of these structures, there is evidence of quarrying in the nearby areas, which would have saved time, money and effort51. This is confirmed by all the aforementioned Phocean and Locrian monuments.

  • 52 S. Morris (n. 6), p. 338‑343.

39According to the relevant bibliography for these types of isolated structures (watch-towers and beacon-towers), very few have been excavated systematically, although many examples have been attested in the Peloponnese, the Greek mainland and the Islands of the Aegean. Thus, it is not possible to establish a reliable typology of their form and a complete study of their spatial organization. Only in general and for specific areas (i.e. Attica, Argolid and the Islands) has it been possible to suggest some typological proposals for these types of buildings52.

  • 53 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 252; Pikoulas 1995, p. 329.
  • 54 A. W. Lawrence (n. 2), p. 189.
  • 55 J.‑P. Adam, L’architecture militaire grecque (1982), p. 72.
  • 56 Pikoulas 1995, p. 338

40As for the watch-tower plans, two types can be identified: rectilinear (either rectangular or square) and curvilinear (circular or ellipsoid)53. The circular type is preferred on the Islands, especially at coastal locations54, whilst the rectilinear one prevails in the Peloponnese and Central Greece, without excluding that there are some examples of rectilinear watch-towers on the Islands and some curvilinear ones on the Greek mainland. A sub‑type of the rectilinear watch-tower is that of the pyramidal form, for which we only have two debateable examples in the Argolid55. According to the available archaeological record the shape of a watch-tower cannot be regarded as a criterion for its date56.

41All three excavated watch-towers of Sfaka, Profitis Ilias (Megaplatanos) and Mikrovivos can be assigned to the rectilinear type.

  • 57 J. McKesson Camp II, « Notes on the Towers and Borders of Classical Boiotia », AJΑ 95, no. 2 (1991) (...)

42McKesson Camp II studied a group of watch-towers located in Boeotia and suggested a typology based, mainly, on their ground plan. He also introduced the term “compartment towers” for the relevant examples with partitions and inner rooms, concluding that this type represents a Boeotian pattern57. The buildings at Sfaka, Profitis Ilias (Megaplatanos) and Mikrovivos can be characterized as “compartment towers”, perhaps influenced by neighbouring Boeotia.

43The watch-tower at Sfaka displays another rare characteristic, which is not referred to in the literature. It is an enclosure, part of which is preserved at a distance of 5 m from the southeast corner of the building. Perhaps it protected the watch-tower as an additional element of defence. Thus a corridor 5 m wide between the tower and the enclosure provided enough space for the accommodation and movement of the defenders. It could also facilitate the use of military machines.

  • 58 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 255.

44Another typology for these constructions has been suggested based on their location and use. Free standing buildings erected within the boundaries of a city‑state, in areas of strategic importance, on top of hills with unlimited visibility, next to road networks and regions of economic interest, are characterized as watch‑ or beacon‑ towers. Similar structures situated amid plains are considered to be annexes of farmhouses for the protection of the fields, the storage of agricultural production and the accommodation of the farmers. Objections to this view have been expressed on the basis that, unlike the Romans who constructed such individual permanent farmhouses on their farmlands, the ancient Greek, as a highly social creature, was a farmer and worker of the countryside but at the same time lived as a permanent resident and citizen in his settlement. The Greek villagers today still maintain this custom, working all day in their fields and returning to the coffee house (καφενείον)in their village in the evening. Therefore their presence in the countryside was restricted in periods when specific agricultural activities were taking place, such as during reaping or the grape-harvest, and did not require permanent installations58.

  • 59 A. W. Lawrence (n. 2), p. 187.

45The watch-towers we are dealing with are free standing buildings that do not belong to farm houses, a type otherwise very rare for mainland Greece59.

46From the ancient literary sources and the relevant archaeological records it seems that the Phoceans and Locrians lived in cities (πόλεις) and villages (κώμαι). Consequently, the buildings described above can be identified only as military installations.

  • 60 K. Tsaousi (n. 27), p. 7.

47This type of defense system for the countryside of Greece loses its importance and is abandoned after the conquest by the Romans, the announcement of Greece as a Roman Province and the establishment of PaxRomana60. This fact is confirmed by the archaeological data from the three presented watch-towers, all of which cease to be in use during the first half of the 1st cent. B.C.

48This study raises many questions about these monuments which we cannot yet answer without further excavation and research in the entire Greek territory. Our contribution aims only to attract more colleagues to the study and research of the ancient defence systems of Central Greece.

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Bibliographie

Bouyia 2000 = P. Bouyia, « Οπουντίων Λοκρών τόποι ερυµνοί », in P. Kalogerakou (ed.), 1η Επιστηµονική Συνάντηση. Το Έργο των Εφορειών Αρχαιοτήτων και Νεωτέρων Μνηµείων του ΥΠ.ΠΟ. στη Θεσσαλία και στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της. Βόλος Μάιος 1998 (2000), p. 51‑62.

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Pikoulas 1995 = Y. A. Pikoulas, Οδικό δίκτυο και Άµυνα (1995).

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Notes

1 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 247‑248; Pikoulas 1995, p. 28.

2 A.W. Lawrence, Greek Aims in Fortification (1979), p188.

3 F. Dakoronia, AD 50 (1995), Chron., p. 341‑342, pl. 4.

4 A. Orlandos, Τα υλικά δοµής των αρχαίων Ελλήνων (1959‑1960), p. 220‑222.

5 F. E. Winter, Greekfortifications (1971), p. 71‑77; Pikoulas 1995, p. 330.

6 S. Morris, « The Towers of Ancient Leukas. Results of a Topographic Survey, 1991‑1992 », Hesperia 70 (2001), p. 312, pl. 34.

7 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 221.

8 Fig. 05a, see Rotroff 2006, p. 256, no 112, fig. 18, pl. 117, date: 225‑190 b.C. Fig. 05b, see Rotroff 1997, p. 289, no 436, fig. 30, pl. 43, p. 291, no 453, fig. 33, pl. 45, date: early 2nd cent.-86 B.C. Similar vessels have been recorded at Epirus and dated to the early Hellenistic period; I. Andreou, « Πρώιµη ελληνιστική κεραµική από το νεκροταφείο της ∆ουρούτης », in Kazakou 2004, p. 565, pl. 279, date: second half or end of 4th cent. B.C., p. 563, no 6697, pl. 275a, date: end of 4th cent. B.C. Comparable examples were also discovered in western Greece; A. Ageli, « Μελαµβαφείς αµφορείς και πελίκες από τα νεκροταφεία της Αµβρακίας », in Kazakou 2004, p. 551, no 1243-1245, pl. 264a, date: middle of 3rd cent. B.C.

9 Fig. 5c, seeRotroff 2006, p. 304, no 568, 569, fig. 72, pl. 61, date: 175‑150 b.C. & 150‑110 b.C. respectively.

10 Fig. 5d, seeF. Dakoronia, « Σύνολα κεραµικής από τάφους µε νοµίσµατα από την Ανατολική Λοκρίδα », in L. Kypraiou, N. Zafeiropoulou (eds), Πρακτικά ∆΄ Επιστηµονικής Συνάντησης για την Ελληνιστική Κεραµική. Χρονολογικά Προβλήµατα, Κλειστά Σύνολα-Εργαστήρια, Μυτιλήνη, Μάρτιος 1994 (1997), p. 47‑48, pl. 31‑32; A. Stamoudi, « Τα ελληνιστικά πινάκια από τον Αχινό », in Kazakou 2004, p. 162‑163, pl. 45.

11 Fig. 5e, see Rotroff 1997, p. 349, no 1108, fig. 68, date: 200‑175 b.C.
Fig. 5f, see S. Rotroff, Hellenistic pottery Athenian and imported. Moldmade bowls, Athenian Agora XXII (1982), p. 34‑35, 86, no 353 & 355, pl. 64, date: 145‑86 b.C.; S. Schmid, « Some reflections on recently found mouldmade and relief decorated pottery from Eretria », in Kazakou 2004, p. 500, pl. 239.

12 Fig. 5g, see G. Zachos, « Ελληνιστικοί τάφοι από την Αρχαία Τιθορέα (Φωκίδα) », in Kazakou 2004, p. 528, no 28, pl. 255a.

13 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 252.

14 Pikoulas 1995, p. 358.

15 H. O. Schmitt, Die Angriffswaffen, in R. Felsch (ed.), KALAPODI II. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen im Heiligtum der Artemis und des Apollon von Hyampolis in der antiken Phokis (2007), p. 533, no. 139, fig. 77.

16 F. Dakoronia, P. Kounouklas, « ∆ρόµος µε παρελθόν », in International Conference. Ancient Phokis. New approaches to its history, archaeology and topography, DAI Athens, 30 March-01 April 2017 (forthcoming).

17 For the first reference of the existence of a small part of an ancient paved road next to the watch-tower at Sfaka see: G. Zachos, « Η χώρα της αρχαίας Ελάτειας », Αρχαιογνωσία 12 (2004), p. 209.

18 Pikoulas 1995, p. 17.

19 A. Yialouri, « Ερείπια κτιριακού συγκροτήµατος στο Καλαπόδι Φθιώτιδας », in A. Mazarakis (ed.), 3ο Αρχαιολογικό Έργο Θεσσαλίας και Στερεάς Ελλάδας. Πρακτικά επιστηµονικής συνάντησης. Βόλος 12‑15 Μαρτίου 2009, vol.II (2012), p. 1313‑1322.

20 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 71; F. E. Winter (n.5), p. 77.

21 Zachos 2004, p. 208; ead., Ελάτεια Ελληνιστική και ρωµαϊκή Περίοδος (2013), p. 37.

22 S. Prignitz, « Zur Identifizierung des Heiligtum von Kalapodi », ZPE 189 (2014), p. 141‑143.

23 S. Prignitz, « Zur Identifizierung des Heiligtum von Kalapodi », ZPE 189 (2014), p. 144‑146.

24 G. Zachos 2013 (n. 21), p. 119.

25 Y. Bequignon, La vallée du Spercheios (1937), p. 5‑6; F. Dakoronia, Μάρµαρα. ΤαΥποµυκηναϊκάΝεκροταφείατωνΤύµβων (1987), p. 18.

26 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 253‑254.

27 K. Tsaousi, “Οδικό δίκτυο και άµυνα στη ∆‑Β∆ Αττική”, Thesis, University of Thessaly (2003), p. 6.

28 Zachos 2004, p. 212‑214.

29 A.W. Lawrence (supra, n.2), p. 189; Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 250.

30 F. Dakoronia, AD 40 (1985), Chron., p. 175‑176.

31 Fig. 11a, see H. Robinson, Pottery of the Roman World. Chronology, AthenianAgora V (1959), group F, p. 10‑11, F80, pls 3, 72, date: ca 75 b.C.

32 Fig. 11b, see H. Robinson, Pottery of the Roman World. Chronology, AthenianAgora V (1959), group F, p. 10‑11, F59, pl. 1, date: 1st cent. B.C.

33 Fig. 11c, see Rotroff 1997, p. 271, no 276, pl. 28, date: 150‑100 B.C.

34 Fig. 11d, see Rotroff 1997, p. 317, no 730, fig. 51, pl. 65, date: ca 175 B.C.

35 Figs 11e, 11f, see Rotroff 1997, p. 17, no 61, pl. 74, date: end of 2nd cent. B.C. and p. 83, no 328, pls 59‑95, date: ca 200‑150 b.C.

36 Fig. 11g, see R. Howland, Greek lamps and their survivals, Athenian Agora IV (1958), p. 120, no 500, pls 18, 44, date: late 2nd to second quarter of 1st cent. B.C.

37 Bouyia 2000, p. 51‑59.

38 F. Dakoronia, E. Zachou, AD 54 (1999), Chron., p. 370, 371, fig. 25.

39 Fig. 14a, see Rotroff 1997, p. 387, no 1484, fig. 87, pl. 112, date: ca 300 B.C.

40 Sherds of plain pottery belonging to large closed vessels indicate the presence of this ceramic category, whose date cannot be accurately ascertained.

41 Fig. 14b, see Rotroff 1997, p. 415‑416, no 1701, fig. 101, pl. 135, date: Late Hellenistic period.

42 Fig. 14c, see Rotroff 1997, p. 324, no 815, fig. 55, pl. 68, date: 110‑86 b.C.

43 Fig. 14d, see R. Howland 1958 (n. 8), p. 99, no 431, type 32, pls 15, 41, date: end of 3rd – early 2nd cent. B.C.

44 Fig. 14e, see S. Rotroff 1982 (n.11), p. 45, no 3‑4, pl. 1, date: ca 225‑200 B.C.

45 Fig. 14f, see Ch. Lazos, Παίζοντας στο χρόνο. Αρχαιοελληνικά και βυζαντινά παιχνίδια 1700 π.Χ. – 1500 µ.Χ. (2002), p. 480‑484.

46 J. Fossey, TheancienttopographyofOpountianLokris (1990), p. 145, 150, 162; Bouyia 2000, p. 58‑59; F. Dakoronia et al., Λοκρίδα. ΙστορίακαιΠολιτισµός (2002), p. 66.

47 F. A. Cooper, « Epaminondas and Greek Fortifications », ΑJA 90 (1986), p. 195; Bouyia 2000, p. 53.

48 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 247‑248; Pikoulas 1995, p. 28.

49 Pikoulas 199091, p249‑250; Pikoulas 1995, p. 360.

50 Bouyia 2000, p. 56; F. Dakoronia et al. 2002 (n. 46), p. 67.

51 A. Orlandos (n. 4), p. 71; F. E. Winter (n. 5), p. 77.

52 S. Morris (n. 6), p. 338‑343.

53 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 252; Pikoulas 1995, p. 329.

54 A. W. Lawrence (n. 2), p. 189.

55 J.‑P. Adam, L’architecture militaire grecque (1982), p. 72.

56 Pikoulas 1995, p. 338

57 J. McKesson Camp II, « Notes on the Towers and Borders of Classical Boiotia », AJΑ 95, no. 2 (1991), p. 198.

58 Pikoulas 1990‑91, p. 255.

59 A. W. Lawrence (n. 2), p. 187.

60 K. Tsaousi (n. 27), p. 7.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 — Map of the modern county of Lokris showing the location of watch-towers and fortified sites.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 182k
Titre Fig. 2 — Aerial photograph showing the location of the antiquities at Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Hellenic Cadastre.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 958k
Titre Fig. 3 — Topographical plan of the watch-tower and the ancient paved road at Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 411k
Titre Fig. 4 — The watch-tower at Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 434k
Titre Fig. 5 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Sfaka.
Légende a – Part of a lagynos; b – Lip of a black-glazed amphora or pelike, probably from a local workshop; c – Handle and lip of a cooking pot; d – Part of a fish-plate from a local workshop, date: 2nd cent. B.C.; e – Sherds of a skyphos with handles; f – Sherd of a megarian bowl; g – Part of an oil-lamp from a local workshop, dated to the 2nd cent.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 304k
Titre Fig. 6 — Iron spearhead recorded at the excavation of Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 142k
Titre Fig. 7 — Structural remains discovered west of the watch-tower at Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 737k
Titre Fig. 8 — The ancient paved road at Sfaka.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 857k
Titre Fig. 9 — Overall plan of the watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 625k
Titre Fig. 10 — The watch-tower at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 359k
Titre Fig. 11 — Pottery collected from the excavation at Prophitis Ilias (Megaplatanos).
Légende a – Lip of a cooking pot; b – Handle and lip of a jug; c – Part of a kantharos from a local workshop; d – Part of a fish-plate from a local workshop; e, f – Two sherds of megarian bowls; g – Part of an oil-lamp.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 266k
Titre Fig. 12 — Overall plan and of the watch-tower at Mikrovivos.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 340k
Titre Fig. 13 — The watch-tower at Mikrovivos.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 279k
Titre Fig. 14 — Pottery and a rounded sherd collected from the excavation at Mikrovivos.
Légende a – Lip of a cooking pot; b – Lip of a cup; c – Part of a plate; d – Nozzle of an oil-lamp; e – Sherd of a pine-cone bowl; f – Rounded sherd.
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 130k
Titre Fig. 15 — Structural remains at Vatolaka (Ahlada).
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 869k
Titre Fig. 16 — Part of an ancient wall at Valakatousa (Kastro).
Crédits Courtesy Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/767/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 883k
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Fanouria Dakoronia et Petros Kounouklas, « Locrian and Phocean watch‑towers »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 143.1 | 2019, 267-288.

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Fanouria Dakoronia et Petros Kounouklas, « Locrian and Phocean watch‑towers »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique [En ligne], 143.1 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 août 2020, consulté le 17 janvier 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/bch/767 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/bch.767

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Auteurs

Fanouria Dakoronia

Honorary Ephor of Antiquities.

Petros Kounouklas

Archaeologist of Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evrytania.

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Droits d’auteur

Bulletin de correspondance hellénique

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