SCY204 : Agrokipia Kriadhis 3

Slag Scatter

Grid reference: 513120/3878030
Cadastral plan:
SIA: SIA 1 (Agrokipia Kriadhis)
Survey units: 2102-2106

SCY204 consisted of a considerable deposit of slag, charcoal and pottery, some still in situ but most heavily disturbed by modern mining and eroding out of the sides of the bulldozed terraces. This deposit is situated approximately 80 m north-northwest of SCY022. Its most important feature was a layer of crushed tap slag lying on one of the few definitive bedrock areas in the mine, with Archaic and Classical pottery eroding onto and over the slag from ancient dumps and work floors to the southeast of it. The well preserved state of the pottery suggests it has only very recently eroded out of the relevant strata. The area was mapped, drawn and divided into four sub-units for collecting pottery and slag samples. Bulk chemical analysis of three slag samples from SCY204 revealed that they contain a low amount of copper (below 0.7%) and significant amounts of manganese.

The stratified layers near the top of the bulldozed terrace (Sub-Unit 1) contained pottery and some possible tomb remains overlying earlier layers of crushed gossan. These gossan layers, situated beneath a top layer of compacted, crushed tap slag about 30 cm thick, contained limestone cobbles with Archaic to Classical pottery in situ. Sub-Unit 2 contained eroded material, mainly slag and pottery, while Sub-Unit 3 was comprised of several slag scatters with Archaic to Classical pottery, as well as part of an Archaic 'Astarte' type figurine. Sub-Unit 4 corresponds to a distinct but also eroded area with imported limestone cobbles and Archaic pottery. When this sub-unit was originally discovered in 1995, it contained archaeometallurgical material such as tuyéres and furnace lining; in subsequent years, however, it has become badly eroded.

The material in SCY204 represents a complex set of features whose interpretation is complicated by the partially preserved stratigraphy in a very eroded and highly disturbed context. A stable platform with an in situ floor level of slag was situated on top of one of the few indisputable bedrock areas in the modern mine. The Archaic to Classical material appears both above and below the slag on eroded slopes and in Sub-Unit 3, which is largely intermixed with slag. This area nevertheless offers the opportunity to establish a tentative stratigraphy for the northeastern side of the mine. The pottery (of Archaic-Classical date) eroding from the gully is so well preserved that it probably derives from a concentrated pocket, perhaps a corner of a structure or a tomb, in or just above the layers of crushed ore, gossan and slag in Sub-Unit 1. We might thus envision a layer of work floors (and/or dumps) dating from the Archaic to Classical periods and lying above the slag layer in this part of the modern mine. These work floors would have been contemporary with the roasting and ore crushing floors to the south in SCY022, and possibly with the undated mining remains along the opposite side of the mine. Can this mean that the slags -and subsequently the smelting activities -date to an earlier period, contemporary with the spoil heaps? Such a situation would correspond with the smelting workshop of the Geometric period. However, because the slags are manganiferous and contain such low amounts of copper, they may in fact date to a much later period (the Roman, to which all other manganiferous slags from the SCSP area belong). Their association with Archaic to Classical material is easily explained as the result of the severe disturbances caused by modern mining activities.