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Geological and geophysical investigations in the Roman cemetery at Kenchreai (Korinthia), Greece View file

Geological and geophysical investigations in the Roman cemetery at Kenchreai (Korinthia), Greece

The Kenchreai Cemetery Project (KCP) comprisesaninterdisciplinaryarchaeological research team that is exploring a major cemetery of Roman date in southern Greece. The cemetery is located on the Koutsongila Ridge just north of the ancient harbour of Kenchreai, the prosperous eastern port ofCorinth.Surfaceremainsthathavebeenvisibleforcenturiesorexposedbylootinginclude chamber tombs, cistgravesandarchitecture.In2004KCPconductedgeologicalandgeophysicalinvestigations to reconstruct thenaturalandsettledlandscapewhereancient residentsburiedtheirdead.Geological study of the ridge and its vicinity has determined that the tombs are situated within a geologic unit particularlywellsuitedforrock-cutconstruction, andthat tombswereintentionallycutinto thebedrock sothat thevaultedroofscorrespondedwithaparticularlyresistantcalcareoushorizon(caliche),which provided a stable ceiling for the subterranean chambers.Moreover, severalmetres of coastline have erodedinto the Saronic Gulf since antiquity.A systematic geophysical survey using electromagnetic, magnetic, ground-penetrating radar and gravity techniques was also carried out tomap uncovered remainsandtocorrelatevisiblewithsubsurfacefeatures.Severalanomalieswereidentifiedthatmight represent previously unknown large structures and burial sites in the central and southern areas of the ridge. In addition, experimental tests using GPR and micro-gravitometry demonstrated the efficacyof thesemethodsfor surveyingrock-cut tombs.The combinedresultsofgeologicalandgeophysical investigation provide valuable information concerning local resource exploitation, structural distribution, and environmental change. These investigations model an innovative approach to the study ofmortuary landscapes.

https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.280