SCY111 : Politiko Ayios Mnason 1

Grid reference: 521500/3876500
Cadastral plan:
SIA: SIA 6 (Politiko Ayios Mnason)
POSI Subunits: 48 gridded circles in Units 1731, 1743, 1744: 2m diameter every 10m.

SCY111: Distribution of total pottery and tile; distribution of dated pottery

Because of the clear variations in material within the large survey units north of the monastery of Ayios Mnason (1743-44), we decided to resurvey this area with lines of circles. Two parallel lines of 2-m diameter circles every 10 m were laid out running north-south, bisected by another line running east-west. A total collection strategy was adopted for the eastern of the two north-south lines, and a standard representative collection procedure was used for the remaining two.

The total pottery and tile figures show substantial densities, with up to 12 sherds per sq m. There is a clear peak towards the east, and a fall-off going west away from Tamassos and Politiko. When broken down into periods, there is a broad and relatively even scatter of Geometric-Classical pottery, averaging 0.75 sherds per sq m. This contrasts with the 0.2 sherds per sq m that seems characteristic of agricultural background scatters from this period, for example 800 m to the north at Episkopio Kallinikos (SCY209). Geomorphological mapping showed a considerable degree of erosion down the slope, so much of this material may derive from the denser areas near the top.

The Hellenistic-Roman material is much lower in density, averaging 0.25 sherds per sq m, and has a similarly even distribution, apart from a slight fall-off towards the west. These levels are more in keeping with an agricultural background scatter, and block survey showed there was very little at the top of the slope which might produce eroded material further down.

The higher levels of datable pottery in the easternmost of the two north-south lines result from the total collection strategy used in those circles. As most of it is Medieval to Modern in date, it follows that much of the pottery being left in the field at this POSI dates to these periods. Correlations between total pottery counts and Medieval-Modern pottery counts at other POSIs suggest the same phenomenon (e.g., SCY110). The Medieval to Modern pottery from these totally collected circles averages 3.2 sherds per sq m, with an apparent fall-off going up the slope. This is too large a figure to attribute to manuring, though it may be due to unusually heavy dumping from Politiko village. More likely it should be linked to the monastery, with the material nearest it removed by erosion. A further possibility is that the pottery bears some association to the curious L-shaped terrace wall crossed by the line of circles.