SCY212 : Politiko Gastres

Grid reference: 522000/3874520
Cadastral plan:
Survey unit: 15

On a small rocky knoll in the middle of the Argaki ton Kastron valley is a concentration of lithics, pottery, and water pipe. Another lithics scatter lies 40 m to the southeast. A modern chain of wells dated by a concrete inscription to 1990 runs along the Argaki and across the knoll towards a saddle which lies above another valley leading down towards Politiko. On the far side of the stream is a stretch of built water channel with two small aqueducts across gullies leading into the stream. This channel can be followed for about 200 m along the stream. Taken together, we have three different types of water conveyance: terracotta water pipe, masonry channel, and chain of wells. The water pipe is probably Roman or later. One one of the concrete caps for the modern chain of wells is written, 'Water of Ayios Iraklidhios'. The channel and water pipes could perhaps be its Medieval/Ottoman predecessors.

The lithics scatter lies on eroded basalt bedrock. The basalt is very crumbly and has weathered away in many places, leaving thin walls of more resistant calcitic veins as evidence of long exposure to surface elements. More resistent mafic dykes and fine-grained pillow rims provide the skeleton upon which the modern landscape rests. A large drainage flowing to the east into the Pedhiaios river dissects the POSI, and smaller 1-3 m gullies feed the larger drainage. The main lithic scatter is in primary context and is quite stable, with an overall slope of 0.53/6.0 m or 8 %. The weathered-out pillow basalt in which the scatter lies has an even shallower slope. In terms of raw materials for lithics production, throughout the area, including its hilly perimeter, we found only isolated core pieces of crypto-crystalline silicate (of limestone origin and black microcrystalline silica of basaltic origin), often in the same areas. It seems most likely that they were being brought in specific areas to be worked.

Politiko Gastres was initially surveyed in 1993 as Unit 15. Upon reviewing the lithic collection from this unit, we decided that it should be investigated more intensively and gridded. There is a definite production of macro-blades, both backed and ridged. Furthermore, much of the debitage indicates blade production, as we have 40+ long narrow tertiary flakes and angular debris. Apart from the flaked stones, a large amount of raw materials and test cores are scattered throughout the site. Gastres is the first sites found that has an abundance of raw crypto-crystalline silicate.

Another notable feature at Gastres is an in situ lithic scatter located on a relatively stable surface. We drew and photographed the scatter in situe, and collected one tool. The scatter is probably the site of blade production, judging from the debitage and angular debris.