Academic Bilingualism: Combining textual and material data to understand the post-medieval Mediterranean [chapter]

John Bennet, Deborah Harlan
2016 Medieval and Post-Medieval Ceramics in the Eastern Mediterranean - Fact and Fiction  
Introduction Behind our rather grand sounding title lies a single case-study. We would like to explore a single site on the island of Kythera known in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as Kyriakadika, now uninhabited and known as Kambianika, or, in ÔscientificÕ parlance as ÔSite 174Õ (Fig. 1) . We feel that a Ôworked exampleÕ based on this small site may allow us to raise and examine some of the issues that we have encountered in trying to write the histories of communities in
more » ... edieval Greece, chiefly the southern Peloponnese and the island of Kythera. Our general goal is to explore how archaeological data Ñ chiefly the ceramics that formed the primary focus of this conference Ñ and documentary data can be brought together to elucidate the history of a single, small community and how it engaged with, and was affected by, its local and broader social context. More specifically, we have three key aims: 1. To sketch the history of the site using the archaeological data collected by the Kythera Island Project (KIP) and other material on the site, notably its church of Ayios Dimitrios. To present a parallel history through the documentary data Ñ held in the Topiko Archeio Kythiron Ñ about the people of this settlement. 3. Finally, to bring these two data sets together into a ÔcombinedÕ history of the settlement in its local and broader context. In a short concluding section, we suggest conclusions and further questions that might be investigated in relation to this particular site and some of the issues we raise. KIP Site 174 and the Church of Ayios Dimitrios The most prominent feature today on KIP Site 174 (Kyriakadika / Kambianika) is the church, which is widely visible from below the site. However, there are remains of other structures there, which are approached by a walled roadway (Fig. 2) . The most recent study of the Bennet / Harlan Ñ 2 church of which we are aware is by Hatzidakis and Bitha. 1 They date the various layers of painted decoration as follows: 2 ¥ The earliest paintings, chiefly in the apse, date to the mid-thirteenth century. ¥ A second layer, comprising much of the decoration on the dome and the south wall, belongs to the second half of thirteenth century. ¥ To the fourteenth century belong the circular fields on which the Apostles are depicted and a building inscription. ¥ A mounted Ayios Dimitrios on the north wall dates to the fifteenth century. ¥ Finally, the most recent decoration, strictly post-Byzantine, belongs to the seventeenth century, according to Hatzidakis and Bitha; this is on the north wall, as well as a second layer of decoration on the templum. 3 The construction of the church structure itself may pre-date the earliest wall-paintings. Lazaridis points out similarities to the churches of Ayios Nikita at Kalamos, Ayios Nikon near Potamos, at Zaglanikianika, and Ayios Ioannis Theologos near Kalamitsi, 4 not too far east of Kyriakadika, while Georgopoulou, on the other hand, sees parallels in this church with Ayios Dimitrios at Pourko, implying it was a twelfth-century construction, one of several built prior to the Venetian take-over. 5 For the purposes of this paper, we simply accept Hatzidakis and BithaÕs dating: that the church was in use at least from the midthirteenth century. The length of use of the church, however, poses a challenge to interpreting the material remains elsewhere on the site, since its presence implies that, at a minimum, the site will have been visited periodically, if not inhabited year-round, throughout its life, as indeed it continues to be today. The existence of two groups of substantial stone-built structures, one
doi:10.1484/m.mpmas-eb.5.108557 fatcat:jggi4b7nifh45nrhlsevvt7n4q