By Don Irvine.
Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods.
The city’s acropolis is barely visible during a cloudy day on the Thessalian plains.
‘A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.’
In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological service in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains. The project’s research team completed the first field season during two weeks in September 2016.
Rönnlund says that the hill is hiding many secrets. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. The ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was in when they arrived. The success of this approach is evident from the results of the first field season:
Fragment of red-figure pottery from the late 6th century BC, probably by Attic painter Paseas
Rönnlund believes that the Swedish-Greek project can provide important clues as to what happened during this violent period in Greek history.
‘Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil.’
The Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP):
VLAP is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa and the Swedish Institute at Athens. In 2016-2017, a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg and University of Bournemouth is exploring the remains of a city in Vlochós as part of the project. Read more at vlap.se