Corinth Report: Nezi Field excavations 2008, by Joseph Lillywhite, Joel Rygorsky, Matthew Sears, Martin Wells (April 7 - June 13)
Collection:   Corinth
Type:   Report
Name:   Nezi Field excavations 2008, by Joseph Lillywhite, Joel Rygorsky, Matthew Sears, Martin Wells (April 7 - June 13)
Title:   Early Modern through Late Byzantine levels in Nezi Field
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Area:   Nezi Field
Site:   Corinth
City:   Ancient Corinth
Country:   Greece
References:   Baskets (205)
We, Joseph Lillywhite, Joel Rygorsky, Matthew Sears and Martin Wells, continued excavation in the entirety of Nezi Field from May 5 – June 13th, 2008. This report will summarize our own findings, while also incorporating those of Alexis Belis and Christina Gieske, who excavated during Session I of the 2008 season. The shape of our excavation area was somewhat irregular; its maximum coordinates ranged from 993.98 N to 1015.43 N and from 255.41 E to 279 E. In the area of the Nezi Field 2007 excavations we resumed excavation where the 2007 team of Lina Kokkinou and Angela Ziskowski left off, the northern edge of which is an irregular escarpment left by the excavations of 1936 and 1961; in the northwestern area of Nezi Field, the northern edge of which is also an irregular escarpment formed by 1960’s excavations, we take up where Alexis Belis and Christina Gieske, who excavated from April 7th-April 26th, 2008, left off; south of where AB and CG excavated, our excavation began at a ground level revealed by a bulldozing operation. Both of these latter two regions border the first on their eastern edge. The bulldozing operation in the southwestern portion of Nezi Field was undertaken because the 2007 excavations proved that Nezi field had a deep disturbed agricultural stratum. This context was carefully dug by hand in 2007, but at a great cost of time. Therefore, this season, the excavation area was extended in order to find more of the structures uncovered in 2007, and to save time, the agricultural levels were removed by machine. The northwest area, where AB and CG excavated, was not bulldozed because it was known that it contained the continuation of the E-W running Early Modern property boundary wall (excavated to the east with B64 in 2007) and we wanted to record this structure (wall 243) properly before removal. We worked under the supervision of director Guy Sanders and assistant field director Alicia Carter. We excavated with Panos Stamatis (pick man), Sotiris Raftopoulos (shovel man/barrowman) Kleomenes Didaskalou (pick man), and Vangelis Kollias (shovel man/barrowman).

Our objective was to reach the level of the 2007 Nezi Field excavations, in order to continue the investigation of Turkish, Frankish, and Byzantine remains uncovered there. In the process of excavation to reach these earlier levels, we discovered evidence of Early Modern and Modern activity. The overall goal of the Nezi Field excavations has been to show the relationship of this entire area to the previously excavated area to the north (North of Nezi).

This final report for the 2008 ASCSA Corinth Excavations in Nezi Field describes our interpretation of the stratigraphy encountered in our excavation area.

LATE BYZANTINE (1059-1210)
The earliest contexts found to date in Nezi field date from the Late Byzantine period.

Two fills, 408 and 424 are datable by pottery to the Late Byzantine period, specifically to the last quarter of the 12th century CE. Both of these fills are bounded on the east by wall 332, while 408 is bounded to the south by wall 365, and 424 to the north by wall 366. On this basis, we tenuously interpret these three walls as having been constructed prior to these fills, making them Late Byzantine or earlier in date. If subsequent excavation in this area reveals associated floors or foundation trenches, more accurate and precise dating should be pursued. Context 371, which lay immediately to the west of where 408 was deposited, also was dated by pottery to the 12th century; however, 371 was overlain by a context whose pottery dated to the early Frankish period (401), leading us to the interpretation that both of these fills have been disturbed by a process of natural deposition, and thus are not related to the usage period of these walls.

Walls 332, 365, and 366 are part of a series of walls that form two rooms (one bounded by walls 305, 306, 332 and 365, the other bounded by walls 365, 306, 332 and 366). Based upon the appearance of the walls, it seems that walls 305, 365 and 366 all abut wall 306, which leads us to believe that wall 306 should be no later than contemporary with walls 365 and 366, i.e. wall 306 should be dated no later than Late Byzantine, last quarter of the 12th century CE. Circumstantially, it also seems appropriate to tentatively date wall 305 as contemporary to walls 306, 365 and 332, since these four walls together form a room. It should be noted, however, that no contexts have yet been found inside this room that can be dated to the Late Byzantine period.

An area that will need further examination is that revealed beneath deposit 325, a tile filled destruction layer that directly overlaid a floor in the SE corner of the excavation. The floor ran up to wall 316 to the W and 311 to the E. There are no securely dated deposits of the Late Byz. In this area but for 325 (see below), which may turn out to be Frankish after the floor is excavated. It is likely, however, that both wall 316 and 325 were constructed in the Byzantine Period. More excavation is needed.

One other context was excavated that was datable by pottery to the Byzantine period. A pit (cut =386), filled by context 385, was a small pit cut into the silty layer of natural deposition that seems to have lain over all of Nezi field (both the 2007 area of excavation and that which we excavated in 2008). While its pottery does date to the Byzantine period, we believe this is impossible stratigraphically. Since the pottery recovered from this pit comprises a total of only four coarseware sherds, we interpret the cutting of this pit as an activity much later than the Byzantine period. The digging and filling of this pit will be able to be more accurately dated when the surrounding fill it cuts is excavated.

FRANKISH (1210-1458 CE)

A multitude of various contexts seem to indicate that Nezi Field was the site of sustained activity during the Frankish period.

One distinct area of Frankish activity can be reconstructed in the southwestern area of Nezi field. Discussed above was a tentatively dated Late Byzantine room bounded by walls 305, 306, 365 and 332. Excavation of a later floor partially bounded by the limits of this room, fills underneath this floor, and a trench cut for the partial robbing of wall 305 allow us to speculate on the usage of this area during the Frankish period. Floor 374, which lay partially directly beneath a layer of silty natural deposit (=301) and partially below a small extent of patchy surface(277) datable to the 13th century AD (npd), was bounded by walls 305 and 306 to the south and west, but overlay walls 332 and 365 to the north. The pottery associated with floor 374 is datable to the early 13th century CE, perhaps around 1230. Thus, we interpret this floor as part of an early Frankish partial re-usage of the earlier Late Byzantine room. The contexts below floor 374, however, are somewhat problematic in their pottery dates. There was some discussion in the field as to whether this context was truly a floor, however, since it was such a hard surface of relatively uniform clayey matrix with 3 small pits were dug into its surface (350, 353, 356) it seems likely that our interpretation of its being a floor is correct.

Two of the three contexts excavated below floor 374 are consistent with our interpretation of the phasing of this part of the site; fill 387 dates to the second quarter of the 13th century, and the patch of red surface excavated as context 378 has a pottery date of early 13th century. The other (389), however, has been dated by pottery to anywhere between 1250-1340. Thus, our pottery here is somehow contaminated, the dating of the pottery needs to be re-evaluated, the construction of the floor needs to be pushed back to after 1250, or our entire interpretation needs to be rethought. It seems that, when floor 374 was put in, the original northern and eastern boundaries of the room (walls 365 and 332) were built over, thus creating a larger space bounded to the west and south by walls 306 and 305. The northern and western boundaries of this early Frankish space, however, are indeterminate, since floor 374 was not bounded by any visible structures to the north or west. Cut into floor 374 were a series of three small pits, all placed just north of wall 305 and running along its bearing E-W. These pits (352, 354 and 357) were all quite shallow, and their fills (350, 353, 356) gave no precise clues about their purpose. We tentatively interpret these as small garbage pits cut into floor 374, but their alignment along the line of wall 305 does suggest the possibility that these may have been post holes used in the support of some structure for which we have no other evidence. Unfortunately, the pottery from two of the three pits was lost during a particularly windy day at the pot sheds, and the third did not contain pottery that gave a definitive date. In the second half of the 13th century, wall 305 was partially robbed out by cut 304. This cut had two distinct fills, 303 and 381, the first of which is datable by pottery to the third quarter of the 13th century, and the second less precisely to the second half of the 13th century. Our interpretation, based upon stratigraphy and pottery dates, is that wall 305 was partially robbed out after floor 374 fell out of use.

The other room discussed above, bounded by walls 365, 306, 366 and 332, has no Frankish floors. Above 408 and 424 we found two distinct Frankish fills. 331, which has a pottery date of early fourteenth century (?) overlaid 360, which has a pottery date of second quarter of the 13th century. Below 360 was uncovered wall 332, the eastern wall of our putative Late Byzantine room; this again points to a discontinuance of usage of this room in the Frankish period. Also below 331 was fill 368, which was of indeterminate Frankish date. Cut into fill 368 was pit 431, whose fills (336 = 338) date to the mid thirteenth century. At the bottom of this pit, we discovered a well or cistern head (346), which had pottery datable the second quarter of the 13th century associated with. It is unclear to what period this structure 346 should date. A linear stone feature only partially exposed this season may be a stone built drain that is running roughly N-S up to the mouth of the structure – this may suggest it is a cistern rather than a well.

Another area where we see Frankish activity is in the area bounded by wall 313 to the east and 332 to the west. Fill 394, bounded on either side by these two walls, was the lowest context we removed from this area; its pottery date is Frankish, first half of the 13th century. Below this fill, we came down onto a reddish clay floor, which ran all the way from wall 313 to wall 332, and further to the northwest in a strip that runs along the eastern edge of wall 332. This floor is truncated in the south by pit 310, so we are unable to know its southern boundary. Its northern boundary is unclear, as it seems to be disturbed to the north by fill 398 (datable by pottery to the second half of the thirteenth century), although we cannot find a cutting at the interface of the two fills, so we cannot explain the disturbance as another pit. We believe further excavation in this area will reveal more information about the limits and usage of this space, but it does seem clear that we are dealing with some sort of built space in usa before the middle of the thirteenth century CE. This unexcavated floor upon which fill 394 sits is thus likely either early Frankish or Late Byzantine, and is bounded by both walls 313 and 332.

Above fill 394, we excavated what we interpreted as a rough surface (358), the pottery date of which was also first half of the 13th century. Above surface 358, we excavated other Frankish contexts: 340 and 344 were rough surfaces dating to the first quarter of the 13th century, and 348 was a lens of blackish fill, whose date is unfortunately unknown due to an accidental post-excavation contamination of the pottery collected with the context. Directly overlying surface 340 and surface 358 was context 280, dating to the last quarter of the 13th century and abutting a small semi-circular structure (283). At the SE corner of 280 a small ash deposit (281) and its underlying debris (284), date to the Late Frankish period. The fill inside the semicircular structure, which was directly to the W of the small ashy deposit but not abutting it, dated to the late 13th century, while the fill beneath it (deposit 288) dated to 1280 +/-10 years. All of these contexts seem to post-date the usage of wall 332, since surface 358 and fill 348 partially covered wall 332. In contrast, both surfaces 340 and 350 abutted wall 313, leading us to believe that wall 313 was in use when these surfaces were constructed and used. The southern boundary of surface 358 was cut by pit 310. The fill of this pit (308) has a pottery date of second quarter of the thirteenth century. Pit 310, however, is later, and should post-date the usage of surfaces 358 and 340, since pit 310 also cuts fill 302 (=314), which has a pottery date of the last quarter of the 13th century. Thus, in this area, we believe we have evidence of Frankish activity (340, 348, 350, 394) from the first half of the 13th century, which included a re-use of wall 313. The cutting of pit 310 sometime during or after the last quarter of the 13th century may indicate a terminus ante quem for the destruction or abandonment period of this space.

Directly south of this area, just west of and over top of wall 316, we discovered more evidence of Frankish activity in Nezi Field. Of Frankish contexts, we found here only fill or destruction levels, i.e. no contexts directly associated with usage periods. 328 was the earliest context we uncovered here; this fill sat directly on top of courses of stone foundations for two walls, 316 and 305. The pottery date of 328 is the first half of the 13th century. On top of this fill, we seem to have encountered destruction debris, which was excavated as contexts 285, 287 and 321. These contexts were full of tiles and large boulders, which we speculate may have fallen from wall 316 or been dumped here upon the collapse of some other structure(s). The pottery of this destruction debris dates to the second half of the 13th century. Context 318 was laid on top of 328, and seems to be a small lens of dumped fill; its pottery date is third quarter of the thirteenth century, and may be related to some sort of post-destruction/abandonment leveling activity. Context 289 overlaid all of these fills, and is the last deposit of Frankish date in this area; its pottery date is also third quarter of the 13th century. It is interesting to note that the deposition of 328 on top of the foundations of walls 316 and 305 (pottery date = second half of the 13th century) post-dates the pottery dates of surfaces 340 and 358 to the N (pottery dates = first half of the thirteenth century); perhaps the abrupt truncation of these surfaces, as well as the surface below context 394, is related to the destruction of the superstructures of walls 305 and 316?

One of the main goals of excavation in the eastern area of Nezi field (E of robbing trench B54, wall 313, and wall 313) was to remove the overlying contexts of a very large Boney Ashy Layer (BAL). This deposit is cut by the apsidal structure and underlies much of the Frankish/Late Byzantine deposits in the area. It was revealed beneath deposits 432, 407, 373, 364, 355, 359, and parts of floor 337 in the northern/central area of Nezi field. Further excavation is needed to precisely identify the limits of the BAL which will certainly be an excavation priority in 2009.

Directly E of wall 316 no part of the BAL was uncovered, but there were several areas of Frankish activity. The most notable are the fills above and around the late Byzantine tile filled destruction debris of 325, which sat atop a floor that extended up to wall 316 at its NE corner, bordered by wall 299, pit cuts 290, and 310 to the N, and the edge of the excavated area to the E and S. This area also has several natural deposits dating to the Late Byzantine period but their dates are tenuous and could change with further excavation (see above).

Wall 399, projecting from the eastern edge of excavation, must date to the Frankish period or later, as deposit 375, which dates to the 2nd ¼ of the 13th century, runs beneath it to the S, and possibly the BAL to the N. Other than the terminus post quem for wall 299, dates for most of the deposits in this part of the site are difficult to fix precisely. The cobble fill of 375 was cut by pit 297 and its fill 292, which dates to the last ¼ of the 13th century or later, as well as pit 293, filled by 291. Above 375 was a series of fills also dating to the 13th century: 309, 296, and 294. In this area, however, E of wall 311 several late Byzantine deposits were also uncovered in very close proximity to the Frankish material: deposit 384 also goes beneath wall 299, 380 is bordered by wall 311 to the W and cut by pit 297 to the E, 382 sits directly against the S portion of wall 311, 383 is a small red patch perhaps related to the floor beneath 325, and 388 is an erosional fill that continues into the eastern edge of excavation. Of these Byzantine deposits it is 388 that is best dated, as it had a moderate amount of pottery dating to the 2nd ¼ of the 12th century.

Just to the S and W of wall 311 deposits continued to be of various dates, with 377 dating to 13th century and 379 abutting it, dating to the 12th. Deposit 312, which runs into the southern edge of excavation, overlaid deposits 379 (Late Byz.) and 323/322 (Frankish). The entire area should be clarified when the clay floor revealed beneath 325, 300, and 390 is excavated. Overall most deposits were small and did not provide much evidence indicating precise dates. As 375, the largest and most securely dated (2nd ¼ of the 13th century), sat directly above 388, it is likely that all of these small fills and depositional layers date to the Frankish period.

What does seem clear, however, is that the area E of and abutting wall 316, was disturbed in the Frankish period. The loose rocks of deposit 300, which dates to the early 14th century, were revealed by the bulldozer and sat directly upon the floor mostly revealed beneath 325. The large context 302/314 overlaid 325 in parts but also ran up to the missing eastern section of wall 316 and dates to the 4th ¼ of the 13th century. Indeed all contexts abutting the E section of wall 316 date to the Frankish period (307, robbing trench 315/319, 317, 320, 322, and 324) except for 325.

A Frankish pit, 286/290 was sunk through both the floor revealed under 325 and the silty fill of 302. The upper fill of this pit (286) should then date no earlier than 302, or the 4th ¼ of the 13th century. Pit 290 was not completely excavated, however, and its interpretation may change when the bottom layers of fill are examined. Just to the east of 290 is pit 310 (see above). Between these two pits (and cut by them) were fills 326 and 327, both dating to the Frankish period. At the northern edge of 290 parts of a wall are visible running E-W. This wall had parts of floor 337, inside the apsidal building, running over it. It seems clear that after the floor beneath 325 was covered in destruction collapse a long period of deposition and natural processes affected the area. As there is no robbing or foundation trench yet identified for wall 316, the debris and fills over and to the E of the missing eastern half of the wall were most likely deposited after the wall was removed or collapsed. More excavation is needed to determine this hypothesis. To the E of wall 311 there are no surfaces and much of the material may have been due to natural processes (esp. 388) or a later leveling operation, perhaps associated with the BAL. If the Late Byz. Pottery dates of deposits 380 and 382 prove correct then wall 311 must date no later than this, but more excavation is required.

Within a room of the apsidal structure bordered to the W by wall 313, the east by wall 334, and the N by wall 335, we excavated a floor (337) and a series of fills S of cut B71 from the 2007 excavations. Above this floor a few contexts, 329, 330, and 333, must date to the Frankish period, as 337 contained pottery from the 2nd ¼ of the 13th century. Floor 337 abutted wall 313 to the W, 335 to the N, and 334 to the E. To the south pit 290 seems to have cut floor 337, as parts of the floor were visible resting atop the E-W wall at the N edge of the cut. Just beneath floor 337, S of pit B191 (2007 excav.), more of the BAL was revealed along with a reddish layer that may go beneath it. Wall 334 cuts through the BAL as can be seen in the scarp of robbing trench B216 (2007 excav.). E of pit B191 and W of wall 334 a series of fills produced a mixture of dates. Just beneath the floor and over the BAL, fills 359 and 355 yielded a Late Byzantine date for their pottery. However, 339 and 341 abutting them in the NE corner, while containing only late Byzantine pottery, were stratigraphically later than 351, which dated to the 2nd ½ of the 13th century. Therefore 339 and 341 must be Frankish. The same can be said for 342, which overlies wall 347, but 343 rests against this wall and dates to the Frankish period. Deposits 345 and 349, furthermore, rest partly over 343, and thereby date to Frankish times.

All other deposits in this area, 361, 362, 363, 364, 367, 369, 372, and 373 are small and insecure regarding their dates. Surfaces 361, 363 and 367 may have been misinterpreted in the field as they seem to be part of a series of fills cut into the BAL rather than true surfaces. Cut 370 was only identifiable when a red matrix was discovered beneath deposit 364 that seems to go beneath the BAL to the S. The BAL, in addition, seems to be laying within some of this cut, namely, that to the W of the exposed area and beneath deposit 364. More excavation is needed to clarify these relationships.

Between the N edge of the apsidal structure and the baulk left by the 1936 excavations at the extreme N edge of Nezi field, a pit (cut 430), a series of destruction debris layers, possible natural deposits, and floors were excavated around wall 420. Pit cut 430 was sunk into part of wall 420 and probably dates to the Frankish period, though it has not been completely excavated. From this pit we removed 9 layers of fill that followed a pattern of a central slumping in the central portion (in this case extending to the southern edge) and a softer lens draping over the harder central cone. A hard clayey layer was left at a higher elevation when excavation ceased. The harder central cone slump consisted of contexts, 427, 423, 422, 421 (which was pure clay), and 418. The softer strata around these included possibly 428, although parts of 427 seemed to overlie it, 419, and 417. The top layer of fill within pit 430 was 416. To reveal the cut of this pit several layers had to be taken off (412, 414) and around (415) wall 420. These were of firm to hard compaction and possibly related to the destruction debris to the N as they were composed mainly of clay and degraded mudbrick. They might be the result of weathering of the walls in this area – the building material being washed off the walls and pooling on the surface below.

Excavation N of wall 420 began with an obvious destruction layer intermingled with clay slumping and erosional deposition from a structure that we were not able to identify. Above the tile layer 395 several clay fills (391,393) and some erosional debris (392) were removed, all dating to the 2nd ¼ of the 13th century. 395 was bordered to the south by a much disturbed robbing trench, 396, revealed in 2007. Some of the tiles associated with 295 were visible in the bottom of robbing trench 396. It was clear that there was a series of overlying phases of destruction. S of 395, deposit 397 also represents a tile destruction layer that was visible in robbing trench 396, but its pottery dated to the Late Byz. Period. Deposits in the area that are stratigraphically earlier than 397, however, provide Frankish dates. These include 399, 400, 404, and 402 (another tile collapse). The earliest of these, 402, dated from the late 12th to the mid 13th century. Cleaning E and N of wall 420, deposit 403, also yielded a date in the mid 13th century. Beneath 395 a small patch of soil, 413, at a higher elevation than the Frankish layers around it, dated to the late Byzantine period but with very little pottery. It will most likely be dated to the Frankish period after further excavations needed to fully decipher this area and its relation to the BAL are carried out.

Near the E edge of robbing trench B54 (2007 excav.) and the N limits of Nezi field, what may be either floor surfaces or erosional debris were revealed. These contexts (425=433) were the same fully rounded pebble mixture with a few boulders projecting above their strosis. There is no structure associated with the surface so it may be erosional. Whatever the case, 433/425 dates to the 1st ¼ of the 13th century and so the stratigraphically later fills in the area, 404, 405, 406, 409, and 410 must all be after this date.

South of wall 420 deposit 432, which abuts the wall and sits directly on a portion of the BAL, dated to the 2nd ½ of the 13th century. To the E, N, and overlying parts of 420, deposit 429 was ceramically dated to the 12th century but not precisely datable. It stands to reason, then, that 429 should be re-dated to after 432 and is therefore Frankish.
The only deposit that cannot be proven Frankish at this time is 407, just NE of the apsidal structure. This sat directly upon the BAL and will need further investigation before a precise date can be given. The fact that 375 ran beneath wall 299 in the S edge of the trench, however, that the BAL seems to run up against the N face of 299, and that the cleaning pass of the BAL, 267, yielded a Frankish date, strongly suggests that the BAL is Frankish. If this is correct 407 would need to be dated to the Frankish period. More excavation is needed.

NATURAL DEPOSIT: POST-FRANKISH TO EARLY MODERN

Above the various Frankish levels uncovered in Nezi field during the 2008 excavation season, we encountered throughout the area thick silty deposits that consistently contained pottery of various time periods. Our current interpretation of all these contexts is that they are natural deposits created by the erosion of soil from further uphill over the course of hundreds of years. Implied in this interpretation is that in these areas of Nezi Field, very little non-agricultural activity occurred between the end of the Frankish and beginning of the Early Modern periods. We dealt with these deposits on an ad hoc basis, not fully realizing with what we were dealing until near the very end of the season. Some were removed as cleaning contexts (e.g. 264 and 267), while others were excavated more carefully and are entered into to our Harris matrix (=257, 260, 262, 273, 278, 301, 371, 401, 411). As a consequence of the random nature of these deposits, the pottery dates from context to context can vary widely, e.g. 371 has a pottery date of 12th century CE, 411 of Ottoman II, and 257 of 19th century CE.

EARLY MODERN

In the northern portion of the excavation area, the earliest feature is a pit (Context 248), which cut through a yet unexcavated layer containing lime and pebbles used for cement mixing. Because of the large boulders present in the fill of the pit, it seems possible that the superstructure of the N-S portion of Structure 243 was destroyed and placed in the pit. AB and CG dug one lense of fill in this pit (247), which was early 20th century CE according to its pottery date. We dug three more lenses of fill in this pit (249, 251 and 252), two of which had pottery dates of Early Modern, and one of which had a pottery date of Frankish. We discontinued excavation in this pit, in large part because its northern edge had been disturbed during the course of the 1960’s excavations carried on North of Nezi Field. We were not confident that we were digging in sequence, and we took the decision to delay excavation inside this pit until such time as the contexts surrounding it could be better defined, which did not happen during the 2008 season. We support the original presumption of AB and CG that it seems likely that this pit was contemporaneous with the construction of the Giambouranis house located just north of Nezi field because of the unexcavated layer containing construction debris (the lime and pebbles).

Sometime after pit 248 was cut a cementy fill layer, represented by contexts 250, 252, 265, and 274 was deposited, the pottery from which dated to the late 19th-early 20th centuries. This cementy dumped fill layer was found in pit 248 and was also cut by the laying of the E-W wall 243. Wall 243 is represented chronologically by its cuts, 272 for the E-W portion, and 276 for the N-S return. The lower fills for the cuts, 268, 269, and 275 (the N return foundations), contained flecks of the cementy fill through which they were dug. The foundation course, 266, was exposed during the beginning of the 2007 excavations while searching for the foundation trench. Pottery from the foundation courses of wall 243 dates to the 1st ½ of 19th century, but as this wall cut through the cementy dumped fill it must date to the late 19th/early 20th century. Sometime after the original construction of wall 243 a S return, 244, was added, but not bonded. An aerial photograph from 1909 does not show the southern extension and the pottery dates to early modern NPD. A more precise date is not attainable.

A water pipe, 258, cut 261, was punched through wall 243 sometime in the late 19th, early 20th century. The sections of repair to the superstructure of wall 243, 253 for the superstructure, 254 cementy fill beneath 253, and 255 (concrete directly over water pipe 258), provide this date, as does the packing over the pipe to the S, 256, and the fills for the installation of the pipe (259 and 263). Notably the silty fill in this area, 257, 260, and 262, through which the pipe was cut, also date to the early modern period (and so too that to the E of 243, deposit 273). The pipe itself (258) brought water from somewhere S/SE of Nezi to the Giamboranis house, and extended from the N edge of the excavation area to the south as far as wall 306 (see above), which it overlaid for several meters. North of wall 243 the pipe sat upon the cementy dumped fill (274), which also seemed to have been deposited over the pipe. Clearly the cementy dumped fill was too soft to preserve any sort of cutting. 53 sections of pipe are preserved varying in length from 0.30-0.36m. with a thick layer of lime incrustation inside. Male ends were generally pointed north except for the portion in the repaired section of 243, where the pipe was deposited at a slightly higher elevation.

Beneath the cementy dumped fill and just N of wall 243 a small oval pit, cut 271 filled by 270, must predate the wall and the pipe. Very little pottery in this pit emerged, but what did exist dated to late Frankish (late 13th) times. The chronological relation of this pit to 248 is unclear at this time and needs further excavation.

One other area of early modern activity is 279, a small ashy deposit revealed by the bulldozer W of 313. This patch was too small to suggest any conclusions with confidence.

CONCLUSIONS

While many of the walls uncovered in the 2008 excavation season will most likely prove to be of Late Byzantine or earlier date, there is little evidence of securely dated Pre-Frankish activity in the Nezi field. In the western half of excavation, what appear to be three small rooms with shared cross-walls yielded a few Late Byzantine deposits but the period of construction or first use phases have not yet been revealed. These rooms, bounded by N-S wall 306 to the W and 332 to the E, are divided by the E-W walls 366 in the N, 365, and 305 in the S. On the last day of excavation what may be another wall appeared N of 366 that could prove to be part of the same complex. Wall 376, which runs W of 306, is in line with wall 305 to the E and may prove to be another room of this structure. It should be noted, however, that while several pre-Frankish fills were found inside these rooms (371, 408, 424) nothing unearthed conclusively indicated a Byzantine period of use.

To the E of wall 316 the only possible period of Late Byzantine activity is deposit 325 and the floor revealed beneath it and deposits 300, and 390. This area may prove to be another Late Byzantine building, bordered by wall 316 to the W, 311 to the E, and the wall visible in the N face of pit cut 290 to the N (the edge of excavations limits our knowledge of any southern delineation. Indeed north and on top of the wall in pit 290 was floor 337, which dated to the 2nd ¼ of the 13th Century. Most of the SE area is heavily disturbed and eroded, however, with fills primarily dating to the Frankish period. More excavation is needed.

In the central and north sections of Nezi field activity centered around trying to define the limits and relationships of surrounding contexts to the Boney Ashy Layer (BAL), which is visible inside, to the E, and to the N of the apsidal building. The BAL may be part of a Frankish leveling operation across most of the E ½ of Nezi field. A Frankish date is suggested for the BAL by deposit 375, a large fill layer at the SE edge of excavation that could be seen to run beneath the S face of wall 299. The N face of 299 appears to have the BAL poured up against it. A cleaning pass probing the limits of the BAL also yielded a Frankish date. Notably the E wall of the apsidal structure, 334, cuts through the BAL, making everything contextually associated with this structure Frankish. The floor and fills generally followed this rule, although many deposits beneath floor 337 north and east of pit B191 were small and insignificant, sometimes giving late Byzantine pottery dates. Stratigraphically, however, this area should date to the Frankish Period. One exception, which may well prove itself Byzantine, is cut 370, discovered beneath deposit 364, which itself was one of a series of disturbances into the BAL. More excavation is needed.

Pursuing the N limit of the BAL led us to a series of destruction and fill layers N of wall 420. These all can be tentatively dated to the Frankish Period, although a few small deposits did not have pottery past Late Byzantine. Much tile and clay destruction collapse was removed near the Northern limits of Nezi field which extended S as far as wall 420. The pit that removed part of 420, while not fully excavated, will probably prove Frankish as well, though this is by no means certain. Running against the S face of 420 and sitting in part over the BAL was deposit 432, which dated to the late 13th century. Although more excavation may show the BAL also present N of 420, a red layer beneath the E portion of 432 seems to go under the BAL, suggesting that perhaps wall 420 is the Northern limit. Before excavating the BAL more excavation is needed to the N and E of 420, explorations should be carried out in the N room of the apsidal structure, and several patches to the E, left by the 2007 excavations, should be removed.

Evidence of modern activity came primarily from the NW corner of Nezi field and dates to the end of the 19th/early 20th century. These included a wall and several pits cut through the silty erosional debris that was mostly removed by bulldozer to the S. The E-W wall 243 was removed with its bonded N return and later, unbonded, S extension. This wall 243 was cut through a layer of soft concrete fill (250) that sat above the silty debris and ran into pit 248. Through this wall was punched a pipe (258) that was preserved running S as far as the possible Byzantine wall 306. Another pit (271), shallow and with little pottery, was found beneath the concrete fill but the relationship of this pit to the larger 248 requires further excavation.