Grid reference: 515400/3876200
Cadastral plan: XXIX/63
Aerial photo: 1993, Run 176, No. 15
Survey units: 1178-96
SCY110: Distribution of total pottery; distribution of pottery by period
Five hundred metres southwest of Malounda is a broad remnant terrace of the river Akaki, now bordered by the deeply incised river gorge. In May 1995 we examined this heavily cultivated area in the course of surveying Transect 515.5. Only nine units had adequate visibility, and they showed substantial though never large densities of pottery: a very sparse scatter of Archaic-Classical, with only one unit reaching a Pottery Index of 2000; a Hellenistic-Roman 'carpet' of less than 1000, plus one restricted density peak of 4000; and a Medieval-Modern pattern similar to the Hellenistic-Roman, but with a slightly larger density peak.
To test these apparent patterns at a greater level of intensity, and to circumvent the visibility problem, we returned in September 1997 and laid down three lines of 5-m diameter circles, each 20 m apart. These 74 circles gave us a much higher spatial resolution in analysing the history of human activity and post-depositional processes in this area.
The overall pottery count shows two apparent peaks, both of them roughly in the centre of the crossing arms of circles. The counts rise smoothly from 0.5 to 8 sherds per sq m, over about 200 m. There were also 34 slag fragments from this POSI, but the gridded circles contained only one or two fragments each, apart from one with three. These are fairly broadly spread across the POSI, with a slight weight towards the larger pottery concentration in the south.
The map shows very clearly the difference between the total pottery counted and the amount of pottery we were able to date accurately. This difference consists of pieces that were counted but not collected, collected pieces which could not be dated, and collected pieces which fall into very broad categories (e.g., 'Post-classical'). Both the Geometric-Classical and Hellenistic-Roman groups of periods show a broad and even but very light scatter of pottery. This never rises above 0.5 sherds per sq m (broadly equivalent to a Pottery Index of 1000 from the survey units). The Geometric-Roman material shows no correlation with the density peaks of total pottery. Given the small size of the field plots, visible in the aerial photograph, it is unlikely that this broad distribution was caused by ploughing, and earlier field boundaries were probably as small as or smaller than the current ones. The most likely explanation for this pattern is that these sherds were brought out from settlements with manure, and therefore spread evenly across the fields. If this is the case, cultivation (or at least manuring) was slightly more intensive in the Hellenistic-Roman periods than in the Geometric-Classical.
The largest proportion of pottery which could be dated falls into the Medieval-Modern group of periods, though it never rises above one sherd per sq m. In general terms Medieval-Modern densities rise and fall along with the densities of total pottery, suggesting that much of the undated pottery could also belong to this period. If so, there are distinct peaks in density. Such peaks could be due to differential manuring or ploughing practices, or else to localised work undertaken by the people who lived in or utilised farmsteads, field shelters or other sites of intensified agricultural activity.