За ямите и техния контекст (ямни съоръжения от І хил. пр. Хр. на територията на днешна Северна Гърция между долните течения на Вардар и Марица)

Contextualising the pits (1st millennium BC pit structures excavated in archaeological sites between the lower courses of the rivers Axios and Hebros)


  • Petya Ilieva Institute of Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology “Prof. Alexander Fol”, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 13 Moskovska Str., 1000 Sofia https://orcid.org/0009-0006-4790-8827


Bothros, deposit pits, utilitarian pits, storage pits, first millenium BC, northern Greece, Samothrace


The article addresses the functional interpretation of pits excavated in 1st mill. BC sites, located between the lower courses of the rivers Axios and Hebros, and the island of Samothrace. The examples discussed indicate a wide range of use in accordance to their context. The connotations of the term context may vary from the type of the site where pits were registered, such as settlement, cult and burial, to a broader interpretation, considering the establishment of Greek poleis along the South Thracian coast, which creates a multiethnic and multicultural middle ground, where contemporary developments may differ culturally.
The examples discussed indicate that pits were used as bothroi in sanctuaries, as depositories in sanctuaries and cemeteries, as a storage and garbage (in secondary use) space, as well as elements of manufacturing areas in settlements.
This variety of functions indicates the necessity of interpreting them according to their context. Chronological, typological, cultural and historical differences, which characterise the sites with pits, imply that a single approach is hardly applicable. It depends not only on the chronology and the type of site to which they belong, but on their precise topographical and contextual features within the site itself. An example of formally similar, but functionally completely different structures is the hearth – pit combination. In the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, it served the needs of the cult and is respectively known as eschara and bothros, while a contemporaneous example from Klazomenai belongs to the remains of a smithy. Consequently, the functional definition of each pit, especially when multiple examples come from the same site, should be individual and contextualised.


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