Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


18 October 2012

A new project of surface survey, geophysical and excavation research of the mycenaean drainage works of the North Kopais: the first study season

Kountouri, E., N. Petrochilos, D. Koutsoyiannis, N. Mamassis, N. Zarkadoulas, A. Vött, H. Hadler, P. Henning & T. Willershäuser 3rd IWA Specialized Conference on Water & Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012: 467-476.


The attempt to drain the Kopais Lake is one of the most impressive and ambitious technical works of prehistoric times in Greece. The size and the importance of this achievement inspired myths and traditions referring to its construction and operation, as well as to its final destruction, which is attributed to Heracles. The impressive remnants of the Mycenaean hydraulic works that were discovered represent the most important land reclamation effort, of prehistoric Greek antiquity, attracting thus the attention of the international scientific community. Nevertheless, in spite of the minor or extended surveys that followed, the picture of the prehistoric drainage works in Kopais remained ambiguous, since the proposed theories as far as it concerns their function and their precise date within the Bronze Age, were based solely on indications from the surface survey and not on documentation depending upon archaeological or geophysical methods. The new project with an interdisciplinary approach and interpretation of the Mycenaean drainage works of Kopais, is conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources and the Environmental Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens and the Institute of Geography of the University of Mainz. The results of the first study season will be presented here.

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