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Samuel Verdan, Eretria XXII. Le sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros à l’époque géométrique

Michael Fowler
p. 472-480
Référence(s) :

Samuel Verdan, Eretria XXII. Le sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros à l’époque géométrique, Gallion, Infolio, 2013. 2 vol. 22 × 30 cm, 286 p. + pl. ISBN : 978–2–88474–411–9.

Texte intégral

1The work under review, the twenty-second installment of the Eretria series, reflects a revised version of the A.’s prizewinning doctoral dissertation, defended at the University of Lausanne in the autumn of 2011. The principal objective of the volume is twofold: first, to offer a synthetic presentation of the Geometric structural and artifactual remains uncovered during the Greek and, subsequently, Swiss campaigns conducted intermittently over the span of roughly one century in and around the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros; and, second, to revisit existing theories on the origin and development of the sanctuary and to advance a new interpretation.

  • 1  It is unclear what of the archaeologist’s excavation documents have been destroyed. While in the m (...)

2Verdan provides, by way of introduction (p. 27–35), a concise historical overview of fieldwork at and research on the sanctuary. Ever since Konstantinos Kourouniotis’ inaugural campaigns (1899–1911), excavations have uncovered abundant material, principally ceramics, as well as architectural remains dating to the Geometric period. The archaeological record from this period, albeit rich, presents certain challenges for the A.’s study: the finds from the Greek excavations are published only in brief reports; this situation is exacerbated by the (irretrievable?) loss of much of Kourouniotis’ unpublished records during his flight from Smyrna in 1922;1 and the documentation of these and the earliest Swiss campaigns left gaps in our knowledge about the structural remains, stratigraphy, and precise find spots of certain material assemblages. While the A. takes full account of the finds from the Greek excavations, the bulk of his evidence derives from the nineteen campaigns carried out under the auspices of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Athens between 1964 and 2003, including Sandrine Huber’s investigation of the sacrificial zone to the N of the sanctuary.

  • 2  A summary of these scholars’ positions appears on p. 187–189.

3Scholarly understanding of the sanctuary’s nascent era has been shaped particularly by the rival theories of Claude Bérard and Alexandros Mazarakis Ainian. While the former scholar assigned a religious function to the earliest observable buildings on site, the latter argued instead that these were domestic structures and that the sanctuary came to replace what was initially a residential zone.2 The A. believes that the circumstances of the sanctuary’s genesis may be explained in other ways. Like the abovementioned scholars, Verdan must confront the difficulty of making functional distinctions among structures that exhibit similar architectural features (p. 33, 172). But before the A. can proceed to the interpretative stage of his study, he must begin by clarifying the chronological relationship between the various Geometric constructions.

4Accordingly, in the first chapter (p. 37–63), the A. analyzes the extant structural remains and their relative stratigraphic positions in order to sketch a general outline of the site’s development. This task is complicated by numerous disturbances to the Geometric layers from antiquity to the earliest excavations as well as by the piecemeal nature of the archaeological exploration and documentation of the site. That said, in his own excavations in the SE area of the site (1998–2001), Verdan uncovered undisturbed strata, whose examination enabled him to identify three distinct phases of Geometric-era human activity. These phases provide a chronological scheme, which he attempts to generalize across the entire sanctuary zone. In order to do this, he must harmonize the patchy stratigraphy from earlier excavations with the layers uncovered in his own campaigns. The result of this exercise, Verdan admits (p. 37), is perforce schematic and open to question.

  • 3  For more detail on the paleogeography of the sanctuary zone, including a chronology of morphologic (...)
  • 4  Tb20, located in the immediate vicinity of the channel, was gradually concealed underneath layers (...)

5Before proceeding to a discussion of the Geometric structures, Verdan gives a résumé of what is known about the site’s earlier history, from the first detectable constructions in the Early Helladic II period to the performance of a primary cremation burial (Tb20) on the NE border of the sanctuary zone during the Subprotogeometric II (p. 39–42). Of the three partially excavated structures that seem to date back to the EHII, two (St250 and St236) rest on a layer of sand, indicating the sanctuary zone’s proximity to the shore. The zone transformed subsequently into an aquatic/marshy environment into which fluvial deposits were carried, forming over time a thick layer of clay on top of the Helladic remains.3 Sustained human habitation in the area would not have been viable until this marshland had been completely filled in (p. 41, 173). The stratigraphic situation of Tb20 indicates that this process had been completed by the SPGII. However, the filing of the marsh was followed by a new hydrological phenomenon that would affect building and organization of space in the sanctuary zone for the entirety of the Geometric period: repeated encroachments of fluvial overflow. This is attested particularly by the channel running along the NE border of the site, whose bed was cut deeply into the clay layer through the erosive action of recurrent flows, and by the numerous strata of sand and gravel in areas not shielded behind then existent walls.4

6Among the first structures erected during the initial phase (MGII to the beginning of the LGI) were walls whose placement suggests that they were meant to block incursions of floodwater. By the end of this phase, buildings were standing in two adjacent sectors, each protected by walls: the central, containing three apsidal structures (Ed1, Ed9, Ed150), and the central-north, which housed a fourth curvilinear building (Ed5). Ed150 is differentiated from the other buildings by its orientation, opening to the east rather than the south, thereby placing it roughly on axis with a structure identified as an altar (St12). Although its three construction stages are tough to date on the basis of the available archaeological information, the altar — whatever its original form — should predate the first stage of Ed150. Given the additional anti-flood function that Verdan ascribes to the boundary walls (p. 45), the altar’s situation in a zone prone to fluvial overflow is indeed a “remarkable exception” (p. 49–51; the altar would remain unsheltered in Phase II, p. 60). The second phase (LGI–LGII) sees the leveling of certain structures (e.g. Ed9, Ed1, M107), the reconstruction of others (e.g. Ed150), a modest expansion of the site to the NE (with the building of M162, soon replaced by M19; both walls assumed the orientation and function of demolished M107), and the erection in the newly annexed space of two apsidal buildings (Ed17 and Ed2), the latter of which is monumental and aligned with the altar. Other new constructions include a partition wall (M10), which now divides the central sector into eastern and western parts. In the third and final phase (end of the LGII), the site is cleared of all constructions, apart from Ed2, Ed150, and St12. Although it evidently continued to be used for some time, Ed150 eventually disappears as well. Not long after, Ed2 is destroyed by fire, marking the end of the third phase.

7The following three chapters consider the ceramic finds from various angles. In the first (Ch. 2; p. 65–94), Verdan discusses the ceramic assemblages that are most useful for determining the chronology of the site’s development as described in the preceding chapter. Individual constructions are difficult to date with greater precision than the stylistic period to which they belong: pieces found in association with them are limited in number (especially in comparison to the ample material recovered from the pits), their stratigraphic positions can be unclear, and, most critically, the chronological sequence of local ceramics is too broadly outlined at present. Because of this, the order of constructions within a given phase of the site cannot be established with certainty. Remaining sensitive to these limitations, the A. arranges the spatial modifications of the sanctuary zone into a plausible series.

8Chapter Three (p. 95–107) turns to a qualitative account of the ceramics. Verdan here focuses on aspects of the material that could have been significant to ancient users, beyond the strictly functional dimension: importations, figural decoration, and inscriptions made prior to or after firing. Among the imports, the richest share originates from Attica. Three quarters of the Attic wares were recovered in contexts that date to the first phase of the site. They are set apart by their decoration, which offers the earliest examples of equine and human imagery on site. From Phase II on (i.e. the beginning of the LGI period), Attic imports are far less common. The A. sees this change partly as a consequence of the emerging availability of local products that rivaled their Attic counterparts, thereby reducing the appeal of importation. An important class of imports still awaiting detailed examination is the transport amphorae, which promise to shed further light on commercial relations entertained by those who frequented the sanctuary zone.

9With respect to the figural imagery, Verdan notes that horses and humans are slightly more common in the sanctuary than in any other site in Eretria. It is interesting that the horse appears exclusively on vessels used for the consumption of wine and that, among the cup forms, it figures on kantharoi but not on the more common skyphos (p. 99–100). Representations of humans are far scarcer than horses. Although the scenes are hard to reconstruct on the basis of what survives, the ‘master of horses’ motif, warriors, and perharps a musician, and dancers can be recognized. The A. singles out three unusual scenes for special mention (nos 374, 366, 367): respectively, a female hydrophoros; a fragmentary male figure holding over the head of a smaller male individual what may be a kantharos; and one, possibly two, figure(s) with raised hands flanking a cauldron-like object containing something rendered in vertical lines (liquid, fire?). Additional rarities for Euboea have been discovered, most remarkable among them a ship (n333), depicted empty and outside a narrative context; this LGII vase was found in the apsidal space of the rebuilt Ed150, near the clay base which supported the monumental MGII/LGI krater. Verdan refrains from analyzing the meaning of these images until the ninth chapter, where they are integrated into the discussion of ritual and space.

10Inscriptions on vases appear in each Geometric phase, though they are more common in Phases II and III. Small drinking vessels, followed by amphorae, were the most common bearers of inscriptions. The bulk of inscriptions were made after firing. A particularly interesting exception is a fragmentary inscription on a coarse-ware cauldron uncovered in a disturbed context in Building 2 (no 388: ]ι̣ερ̣[), which may identify the vessel as the property of the sanctuary. Inscriptions securely identifiable as alphabetic were in the minority (slightly less than 25%) and roughly half of these are too fragmentary to be intelligible. Among these inscriptions, one (n380) is certainly religious in nature: a monochrome cup from an unknown context that reads ]hιερε̣ [. To this may be added two further possibilities: the inscription on the aforementioned cauldron and that on a sherd perhaps from a Phase-I fluvial deposit (no 389: ]θοι̣[ ). If the reading θεῷ is indeed correct, Verdan suggests that the latter sherd likely served as a label accompanying an offering rather than as a dedication in itself. The A. concludes the chapter with an interesting exploration of physical traces related to moments in the use life of select vessels: repair (e.g. n240), conservation and reuse (e.g. n335), and destruction. It is noteworthy that whereas miniature hydriai were intentionally broken in the sacrificial area to the N, deliberate destruction of vessels has not been observed within the sanctuary zone itself (with the possible exception of the monumental krater no 335; p. 107 and infra p. 120).

11In the fourth chapter (p. 109–123), Verdan breaks with more traditional approaches to ceramic material that concentrate on those vessels which are most useful for dating or are distinguished by some special aspect (e.g. frequency, function, quality). Instead, the A. conducts a quantitative analysis, in which the ceramics from the sanctuary zone are treated in the aggregate. Accordingly, the analysis concerns assemblages rather than choice specimens. After discussing matters of method, Verdan reports general statistics on the categories and forms of vessels for the entire site. Here we learn, for example, that fine ware constitutes the overwhelming majority of ceramics and that, within this category, small open vessels are most represented during all phases of the site. Of these vessels, the skyphos is the most common form. Vases not serving alimentary purposes are rare (p. 113). Next, Verdan offers a phase-by-phase discussion of the the ceramics and their general spatial distribution. In the individual phases, the pits (Phases I and II) or the fluvial deposits (Phase III) yielded the majority of the ceramic material. Finds from building contexts were in most cases too meager to be subjected to statistical analysis. These circumstances complicate the A.’s attempt to detect patterns or tendencies in the spatial distribution of ceramics by functional group. As Verdan himself acknowledges (p. 119–121), the original use context of a given vessel prior to its deposition in the pits cannot be reconstructed with certainty. Sherds discovered in outdoor contexts present a further challenge: do they represent primary or secondary depositions? While the statistics presented in the chapter are suggestive, they may be influenced by a number of factors, which the A. tries to mitigate through the use of a large sample and comparative analysis of multiple assemblages: for example, the ceramic material was gathered in accordance with different collection strategies, vase forms break at varying rates, and, as noted earlier, numerous areas of the site suffered stratigraphic disturbances.

12Far less numerous are the non-ceramic objects (metal, glass, ‘faience’, bone/ivory, stone, terracotta, and unbaked clay objects), which are briefly reviewed in Chapter Five (p. 125–143). This is another respect in which the sanctuary zone differs from the sacrificial area to the N, where such finds are copious. As in the foregoing qualitative analysis of the ceramics, Verdan defers the discussion of the function (votive or not) and find contexts until the chapters on the origin of the sanctuary and cult activities. Iron objects form the largest and most uniform group, consisting almost entirely of weapons and other cutting implements. The bronzes furnish an additional fragment of weaponry. The paucity of defensive equipment, represented only by a possible bronze rim of a shield (no 405) and the bronze nose guard of a helmet (no 406), is noteworthy. While the two north-Syrian bronze blinders dating to the mid-9th century (nos 391 and 392) are most famous, the small finds include other interesting non-Greek productions, for instance, a nearly intact bronze statuette of a bald man (priest? worshipper?) dressed in a long belted tunic, seated on a four-legged chair, and raising in both hands before him a handleless conical vessel (no 394).

13Given their functional coherence, the apparatuses and physical byproducts of metalworking are accorded their own chapter (Ch. 6; p. 145–151). The extant evidence suggests that three metals were worked within the sanctuary zone and in its immediate surroundings: bronze and, to a much more limited extent, iron and even gold. The act of bronze casting is best attested. Smelting was most likely not performed within the sanctuary zone itself; yet, concentrations of slag in the largely unexplored area to the W of the sanctuary zone points to the possibility that this and other metallurgical processes were performed in this vicinity (p. 148). Bronze working is also attested outside the SW limit of the sanctuary (M75). Within the sanctuary zone itself, various structures may have been used in connection with metalworking: Ed9 during Phase I and St268 and Ed5 during Phase II; the use of Ed17 (Phase II) for bronze working is well established. No structure can be associated with metalworking in Phase III.

  • 5  A mix-up in the numbering of the socles in the plans for Phases I and II–III of Ed150 (pl. 35a–b) (...)

14Chapter Seven (p. 153–172) is divided into two parts, which address 1) the broader context of the sanctuary zone within eighth-century Eretria and the spatial organization of the zone, and 2) architecture and building materials. Although the archaeology of the Geometric city is presently too spatially discontinuous and thin for determining the sanctuary zone’s exact emplacement, it nevertheless appears that the zone initially occupied neither a central nor a peripheral position (p. 155). As for the various structures within the sanctuary zone, Verdan argues, in view of their topographic situation, that they formed a single, internally coherent site, enclosed within and demarcated by the persistent wall M75 to the SW and the sequence of walls (M107-M162-M19) to the NE (p. 156). While additional walls and perhaps — though less clearly — the rough N-S alignment of the Phase-I pits Fo195, Fo196, Fo197, and Fo221 were used to parcel the zone into distinct sectors, the A. has proposed the existence of apertures (e.g. in wall M8 and its Phase-II successor M72) that enabled communication between these spaces (p. 157, supra p. 43, 54). Verdan also remarks the dense concentration of hearths in the immediate vicinity of the altar (St12), which structure also served as the focal point for the Buildings Ed150 and Ed2 (p. 158–159). In the architectural part, the A. confines himself largely to the constructional elements for which there is direct archaeological evidence: plans and dimensions, entryways, walls, posts, and interior appointments. The reconstruction of roofing systems is necessarily a matter of conjecture due to an absence of preserved material. In the context of his discussion, a number of interesting features are identified that not only help to individuate the buildings but also to establish possible links between them. For example, we read that the first state of Ed150 may have be outfitted with a second door on its NE side, placing it in additional relation to Ed1 and Ed9, or the central sector more generally (p. 165; cf. pl. 35a);5 this building is further distinguished by three interior furnishings (St201 in Phase I; St210 and St186 in Phase II–III), whose functions are difficult to define (seating? bases? workbenches?). Ed1 is exceptional for the number and regular arrangement of paired posts (one on the interior, the other on the exterior) along the entire length of its socle, which may have assisted the mud brick walls in supporting the roof. Verdan also allows the possibility that the posts may have served primarily to convey the material wealth of the individual(s) who constructed the building (p. 169–170). An analysis of the activities that took place in the various spatial subdivisions and buildings of the sanctuary zone is reserved for the following chapters.

15Having laid the necessary evidentiary foundations, Verdan moves to the bigger interpretative questions posed at the outset of the study. He opens with an examination of the MGII origins of the sanctuary zone and the function of the first buildings erected on the site during Phase I (Ch. 8; p. 173–198). On the basis of Ed150’s orientation toward the sacrificial space of St12 and the associated ceramic material,animal bones, and interior furnishings, the building is persuasively identified as a banquet hall, where communal sacrificial meals took place (p. 180). In the context of this discussion, I expected Verdan to comment on the second door, which he reconstructs at the NE side of Ed150. What might the reasons have been for this proposed entry, which would have granted direct access to and visual contact with the central sector and especially Ed1? This interesting architectural feature deserves further consideration, especially since it seems to disappear in the building’s complete reconstruction in Phase II, which roughly coincides with the demolition of Ed1 and Ed9. While the connection between Ed150 and St12 persists over time, might the disappearance of the second door hint at a change in some aspect of the building’s use from Phase I to II?

  • 6  S. Gimatzidis already voiced this criticism in his review of Verdan’s work in the Bryn Mawr Classi (...)

16On the basis of the finds, Ed1 is considered another space where banquets transpired, though it is uncertain whether it was public or private (p. 182; p. 186; its comparatively richer architecture would fit both cases). The A. is inclined toward a communal, religious designation for Ed1, placing it in closer relationship with Ed150 than its neighbor Ed9. The only evidence that Verdan marshals in favor of this is the alignment of pits Fo195, Fo196, Fo197, and Fo221, which, he argues, constituted a line that divided the central zone into two functionally distinct sectors: residential/artisanal (west) and religious (east). He sees the course of the Phase-II wall M10, which was built over these pits, as support for this interpretation (p. 182 and supra 49). That the pits demarcated two different areas is, in my view, unlikely.6 The secondary door of Ed150 might instead have been used to argue a close connection with Ed1, without, however, suggesting the strict spatial separation of residential and religious. Verdan notes that preparation and consumption of meals also took place outdoors, particularly in proximity to the altar (p. 184–185). Given that sacrificial rituals and communal meals were already occurring during Phase I, the simultaneous absence in the entire sanctuary zone of objects securely identifiable as votives is striking, even if we admit the existence of offerings of perishable materials (p. 181). As for the identity of those who organized and carried out these rituals, Verdan rightly points to members of the elite (p. 185–187), who may have formed a distinct genos (p. 197).

17While Ed1 is not regarded as a temple (contrary to Bérard’s early theory), neither is it clearly identifiable as an elite residence, as Mazarakis Ainian would have it (p. 190). While Ed1 could very well have been a communal space, I am uncomfortable with the suggestion that this building, in addition to Ed150, belonged to a distinct religious area whose boundary was defined by a series of pits. Assuming that no other form of boundary marker existed (such as a wooden fence: p. 49, 157), it seems rather that these buildings occupied the same sector as the residence Ed9. Verdan ultimately sides more with Bérard’s general theory in advocating the existence of a distinct sanctuary space from the earliest phase of the zone’s settlement where the broader community could gather, without excluding the involvement of the neighboring elites, who could have possessed special offices and perquisites in connection with the cult. In this scenario, Ed150 would have served to house certain elite participants and would thus have communicated their elevated status within the community (p. 197). If, however, the religious structures belonged to the same sector as the residential one, then the circumstances of the sanctuary’s formation could tend toward Mazarakis Ainian’s model.

18In Chapter 9 (p. 199–229), Verdan shifts to a discussion of the zone during Phase II (Late Geometric I–II period), when the sacred space acquires more definition — with the disappearance of Ed1 and Ed9, the construction of internal partitions (like M10) — and surface area — with the modest annexation of land to the NE and the eventual erection of monumental Ed2 (interpreted as a hekatompedon) on axis with the altar. Elite residences (Ed5 and Ed17) still exist in close connection to the sanctuary area and fulfilled a variety of functions: housing, banqueting, metalworking (p. 204–207). The rebuilt Ed150 seems to retain its primary function as a banquet hall. Ed2 is identified as a temple (p. 200–204). Based on its interior layout and associated artifactual finds, Verdan argues that Ed2 was multifunctional (p. 201). Given, for instance, the recent discovery of what may be the carbonized remains of a wooden cult statue before the W apse of the Geometric South Temple 5 at Kalapodi,it is possible that a cult image was housed near or in apse of Ed2; there is, however, no archaeological information available for this part of the building (p. 202–203). The functions for which we have direct material evidence rather concern the space’s use for the storage of an exceptional concentration of non-ceramic objects (votive objects) and perhaps banqueting (more uniform and modest drinking vessels and animal bones, the latter of which were unfortunately not kept by the excavators). That these non-ceramic objects were offerings is further supported either by their unparalleled nature (e.g. the abovementioned bronze blinders or the statuette of the seated bald man) or by the presence of similar objects near the altar, in the NE sector, and at the sacrificial area to the N (e.g. terracotta figurines of animals [nos 483–484 and 486] and faience [nos 447–448]) (p. 201). The performance of animal sacrifices, commensal and sympotic gatherings in various areas of the sanctuary zone (perhaps divided by social group), and — from Phase II at least — the dedication of non-perishable objects (p. 207–210; 212–219) is well founded in the archaeological evidence. The reconstruction of other rituals (e.g. dancing, processions) is a hypothetical matter. While Verdan’s treatment of certain vase paintings as allusions to ritual reality (e.g. the fragmentary handle of a kantharos [no 366] as a representation of a young man’s ritual admission into a banqueting context by an older man [p. 221–222]) is debatable, his reconstruction of a “parcours rituel” involving the miniature hydriai that linked the sanctuary to the N sacrificial area is compelling (p. 211–212; 225–228).

19In the final chapter (Conclusion, p. 231–240), Verdan broaches a crucial question that can only be answered hypothetically on the basis of the available evidence: to which divinity did the Geometric sanctuary belong? Even though Apollo Daphnephoros isn’t attested until the mid-fourth century in epigraphic sources, the A. argues that the sanctuary belonged to this god from the beginning, adducing in particular the series of three superposed temples (Ed2–Ed3–Ed4) as evidence of continuity (p. 233). Drawing on images of women holding sprigs on vessels from the sacrificial zone to the N and on the proposed ritual connection between this zone and the sanctuary, he posits that the Daphnephoria were already being performed in the Geometric period (p. 235–236).

20Four specialized scientific contributions follow the main text, each receiving its own appendix. In the first contribution (App. 1; p. 243–254), Sandrine Huber and Patrice Méniel publish the first results of an analysis of the osseous remains of land animals coming from various Geometric-era find contexts within the sanctuary zone. The statistics are impaired by the fact that bones were not exhaustively collected in excavations until the 1990s, leading, for instance, to a paucity of osteological data about all buildings apart from Ed150 (p. 244, with n. 11). Almost all the identifiable bones belong to domesticated animals (sheep, goat, cow, pig, horse, donkey, dog) and no clear criteria of selection could be detected with respect to sex or age (p. 245–246). The A.’s analysis establishes that caprines were sacrificed and that their thighbones and tails were burned on the altar (p. 252). The second appendix also contains an archaeozoological analysis — this time of marine fauna from the sanctuary zone (p. 255–266). In it, Tatiana Theodoropoulou highlights the predominance of the fan mussel (Pinna nobilis), especially during Phase I,when the presence of marine fauna is most pronounced. The principal use of the fan mussel was, like the rest of the marine species from the site, alimentary, though the A. wonders whether it might also have been valued for its byssus (sea silk) (p. 263–264).The final two contributions are written in English. Evi Margaritis analyzes the botanical remains from pit Fo221 (App. 3; p. 267–269), most of which are carbonized. Olive pits were the most represented, followed by grape seeds, and grains. The material is considered the discarded remains from cooking/meals  in Ed1 or Ed9; the olive pits could also have served as a fuel source. In the fourth and final appendix (p. 271–273), Nigel D. Meeks and Paul T. Craddock conduct a microanalysis of the gold globules contained in the vitrified surfaces of two pottery sherds (nos 527 and 529). They conclude that these sherds were each reused several times to melt small amounts of gold prior to assay (p. 272). The volume is completed by summaries of the main text in English, German, and Greek (p. 275–279) and an index (p. 281–286).

21The second volume contains: catalogues of ceramic (organized by phase and find spot; p. 7–21) and other artifactual finds (p. 23–29); a series of tables giving a synthetic list of the graffiti (p. 31–32), statistical information on the ceramics (p. 33–41), and an inventory of all the structures found on site (p. 43–49); and plates. The plates comprise plans of Eretria and the sanctuary zone (p. 52–61) and of the spatial distribution of certain materials (pl. 62–67); excavation photographs, stratigraphic drawings and plans, and architectural reconstructions (p. 68–110); drawings and/or photographs of the ceramic (p. 111–154) and non-ceramic finds (p. 155–167); in addition to the statistical graphics, plans, and images pertaining to the contributors’ studies (p. 168–182). The back flap of the second volume also includes a folded sheet with a detailed plan (scale 1: 100) of the sanctuary site, showing all excavated structural remains and the limits of the trenches.

22The editorial quality of the text is excellent. The same can be said of the second volume containing the catalogue, tables, and plates. Overall, the A. succeeds in providing a thorough, reasoned account of the archaeological and documentary evidence, in spite of its great volume, numerous lacunae, and varying quality. His work will doubtless stimulate further scholarship on the early period of the sanctuary and its context within Eretria and the ancient Greek world more generally. Indeed, Verdan signals, at numerous points in his study, potential topics for future research: for instance, the religious aspect of metalworking (p. 239), the repair and retention of certain objects and the notion of antiques (p. 105–106; 126–127 [blinders]), and the impetus behind the possible contemporaneous construction (end of the 8th to the middle of the 7th cent. BCE) of ‘hundred-foot’ religious structures at geographically disparate sites: Eretria, the Samian Heraion, and Ano Mazaraki (p. 162).

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1  It is unclear what of the archaeologist’s excavation documents have been destroyed. While in the main text (p. 29) Verdan speaks of them as lost, in an associated footnote (n. 12) he states, “il semblerait que des documents ayant appartenu à K. Kourouniotis existent encore.”

2  A summary of these scholars’ positions appears on p. 187–189.

3  For more detail on the paleogeography of the sanctuary zone, including a chronology of morphological transformations, see now M. Ghilardi et al., “Mid- to Late Holocene shoreline reconstruction and human occupation in Ancient Eretria (South Central Euboea, Greece),” Geomorphology 208 (2014), p. 225–237.

4  Tb20, located in the immediate vicinity of the channel, was gradually concealed underneath layers of alluvial material; the precise relationship, if any, between the tomb and the first structures of Phase I cannot be determined, though Verdan prefers to see continuity between the SPGII and MGII (see Ch. 8, p. 176–178).

5  A mix-up in the numbering of the socles in the plans for Phases I and II–III of Ed150 (pl. 35a–b) may cause a bit of confusion for readers; the positions of M154 and M155 should be reversed.

6  S. Gimatzidis already voiced this criticism in his review of Verdan’s work in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2013.11.59),–11–59.html. One may ask why a more durable boundary (M10) was set up only after Ed9, and possibly also Ed1 (cf. n. 1036), had already been demolished.

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Michael Fowler, « Samuel Verdan, Eretria XXII. Le sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros à l’époque géométrique », Kernos, 27 | 2014, 472-480.

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Michael Fowler, « Samuel Verdan, Eretria XXII. Le sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros à l’époque géométrique », Kernos [En ligne], 27 | 2014, mis en ligne le 12 novembre 2014, consulté le 19 octobre 2019. URL :

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Michael Fowler

Columbia University

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