On the coast opposite the island, excavations have been carried out behind the modern village of Mochlos on the road leading to Limenaria. Two LM IB buildings have been found here which were used by artisan families who produced utilitarian goods for a regional market of potential customers. One is an extensive industrial establishment that was used for several different activities, including bronze-working, stone vase-making, and ivory-working. The excavation has uncovered the raw material, the tools and the finished products, and the rooms that were used for workrooms and storage. Just to the west another building was used for pot-making; four potter's wheels, bronze tools for shaping pots, pithoi for the storage of clay, red pigment for painting, and two small kilns, using olive pits for fuel, have been found here. Each building, although industrial in character, appears to have been inhabited and to have held a shrine: a votive foot was found in one room of the first building, and a bench shrine with an array or ritual objects was uncovered in the second. The results of the excavation have been fully published in Mochlos IA, IB and IC. Period III. Neopalatial Settlement on the Coast: The Artisans' Quarter and the Farmhouse at Chalinomouri, Philadelphia 2003, 2004.

Building A

The entrance to this building was found in 1992 along the western side of the building across from the entrance to Building B. It led across a large stone threshold into Room 8, a small vestibule which led in turn to Room 4, one of the major activity rooms in the building. Sometime after the construction of the building another room, Room 9, was added directly in front of this entrance. Its southern wall lay at an angle to the rest of the building and came very close to blocking access to the building's entrance. The north wall of the room was destroyed by coastal erosion and the room's original dimensions are lost, but in design and function it resembles three rooms which were also added to the original facades of Building B. Like these it contained a mortar of calcareous sandstone set in one corner of the room, here the southwest corner, and a number of animal bones and olive pits which were probably the remains of meals eaten in the room.

The main activity rooms in the building were Rooms 1 and 4. These were provided with benches, bins, corner platforms and stone work tables and were used by craftsmen as workrooms.

A crudely built wall, which served as a screen, protecting an open yard, was found at the rear of the building. A deposit of Santorini tephra lay inside this yard against the additions along the south side of the building. It appears to have been placed against the south wall of the building, shielded by the screen wall to the south, and saved to be put to some later use, perhaps as an abrasive in the production of stone vases

Building B

Excavation of Building B uncovered evidence of offerings in a bench shrine in Room 1, evidence for pot-making in Room 8, and evidence for stone-vase making in Room 2. The 1993 excavation uncovered additional evidence for all three of these activities, but mostly for pot-making which now appears to have been the principle activity in the building.

As in Building A, stone from collapsed walls lay just beneath the modern surface, often covering schist roofing slabs, which were the first part of the building to collapse, and a single floor deposit, ca. 0.10-0.15 m. thick, lay underneath right above bedrock. Pieces of mudbrick were found throughout this section of the building, and the building was clearly a single story high with the upper part of its walls built in mudbrick. It was used in the LM IB period although there are several indications of a second building phase, which may correspond to the evidence for a later plastered floor found earlier in Room 7. The east, south and west facades are easily identifiable, constructed as they are with large stones on the exterior and measuring 0.90-1.05 m. in width, much wider than any of the interior walls. Three small rooms were added onto these exterior walls, one on each side of the building, Rooms 3, 9 and 13, almost as afterthoughts, each one of which may have performed the same function. Some of the LM IB pottery also appears to be very late and to have parallels with LM II pottery at Knossos.

The building was entered from its northeast corner at the east end of Room 7, and interior doorways led from here through Room 8, where an intact potter's wheel and five badly smashed pithoi were found in 1991, into the eastern end of Room 4. This room, a long narrow room measuring ca. 1.50-2.75 by 9.54 m., led off to the west and provided access to the bench shrine located behind the western facade of the building. It also provided access through a doorway opposite the doorway from Room 8 to Room 10 which was a major activity room in the building.

Room 4 was divided into two sections by a short spur wall near its center; the eastern section was excavated in 1993 and the floor of the room was located at an elevation of +6.00-5.90m. A second potter's wheel lay on the floor here beneath a large slab of green schist which had fallen from the roof and smashed it into many small pieces. Other finds from this end of the room included fragments of a pithos, a stone table with four small feet, a finely worked stone pounder of an imported green stone, a bronze cutting tool with a curved handle, two broken vases, including one incised with a lily like several others that have been found in the settlement on the island and at Chalinomouri, both made of the local phyllite-tempered fabric, and a small offering stand, like those found in the bench shrine in Room 1. Although no support for the wheel's pivot was found in the excavation, a potter may have worked here: he may have kept his clay in the pithos, used the pounder and table to crush purple phyllite for temper which he added to the clay, and used the bronze tool to trim the clay on the wheel. He may also have produced the two jars and the offering stand which may then be thought of as the very last artifacts to have been made in this workshop before the LM IB destruction. When it became likely that Room 4, like Room 8, was being used for pottery production, the two rock-cut pits found earlier at the western end of the room assumed a greater importance. They may also have played some part in the production of pottery, perhaps for the storage or levigation of clay which the potter used at the other end of the room.

Room 10 was the largest room in the building, measuring ca. 5.20 by 5.30 m., and was also used as a workroom. A stone base supported a wooden column near the center of the room and three low benches stood against its west and south walls. A small bin, its sides formed by a large mudbrick set on edge and an upright schist slab, was located alongside the southeastern bench against the east wall. Several finds suggest that pottery was produced in this room too. These include the fragment of a third potter's wheel, the fragment of a bat, a work slab of thick coarse clay, and a flat stone palette found inside the bin in the room. In the collapsed wall debris which lay outside the southeast corner of the room, small nodules of red ochre were found together with a serpentinite rubber and a couple stones which preserved traces of ground red and yellow ochre on the surface. The red ochre is identical to the red paint found on pottery from the building, and it seems likely that pottery was being painted here. Other finds suggest two additional activities in the room. A serpentinite drill guide, part of a serpentinite kernos with a small spout, a miniature stone alabastron, found on the bench at the northwest corner of the room, fragments of a serpentinite blossom bowl and other fragmentary stone vases suggest that stone vases were made here too. Numerous fagments of cooking dishes, many with spouts in their corner, and cooking trays, a number of conical and ogival cups, found in the room, may indicate that the workshop's artisans also ate here.

A large amount of mudbrick and ash lay against the outer south wall of the building. It belonged to a collapsed kiln (Kiln A) which had been built up against the room and used its rubble wall to form part of the wall of its stoking chamber. The chamber formed an irregular circle, ca. 0.90 m. in diameter which was constructed partly of small stones, which were placed around its base on the west and south, but mostly of mudbricks, one of which had fallen into the middle of the chamber still intact. Two channels or flues opened off the east side of this chamber and extended ca. 1.40 m. to the east. These were cut into the bedrock, lined with clay, and contained some ash and carbon. An upright mudbrick separated the channels at the west and a horizontal brick appears to have been placed on top of this upright brick at the point where the stoking chamber opened into the two channels. The channels are each ca. 0.25 m. wide and probably supported shelves, running at right angles to the channels, which in turn supported the pottery being fired. It was a small kiln, no more than 2.50 m. in total east-west length, and could not have accommodated large vessels. Numerous fragments of conical cups were found in its flues and a loomweight alongside its chamber, and these may be the very objects that were fired here. One should probably picture a box around the stoking chamber, built partly of upright mudbrick and perhaps open at top so the potter could feed fuel into it, and a separate domed construction over the firing chamber, one side of which rested on the horizontal brick placed between the two parts of the kiln. A second horseshoe-shaped kiln was found to its west (Kiln B).

Kiln B

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Last Modified: 03-November-2008
Mail to: Dr. Jeffrey Soles