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TAP Archaeological Works Enrich Western Macedonia

10 September 2018

Western Macedonia Region, Greece. Archaeological remnants of human activity in Western Macedonia from the Neolithic to the post-Byzantine period have been brought to light in archaeological excavations, carried out in the context of construction works for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG.


The work has been undertaken by archaeologists employed in the area by the project and monitored by the local Ephorates of Antiquities (of Kozani, Florina and Kastoria), as well as the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Kozani Regional Unit: New archaeological information

"Rescue archaeological research conducted in a total of 14 communities in the Kozani Regional Unit brought to light new archaeological information on the area’s history that enrich its topographical and cultural map," commented the Head of the local Ephorate of Antiquities (EFA), Areti Chondrogianni-Metoki, and the archaeologist in charge of the works, Vicky Laïna.                                                     

Excavated antiquities in Kozani date back to several eras, demonstrating the continuous settlement in the area from the Neolithic period onwards. The works were conducted by a 74-strong team (comprised, inter-alia, of 11 archaeologists, 4 designers and 1 conservator), who excavated 67 sites with archaeological material – belonging either to settlements or individual habitations.

The most significant findings were located in the communities of:     

  • Pyrgoi: remnants of buildings from the early Iron Age (10th-8th century BC), storage structure and coin from the Roman period, part of an early Byzantine cemetery, as well as remnants of a modern grave containing a 19th century Serbian coin.      
  • Perdikkas: graveyard from the early Bronze age (2,500-2,000 BC) –a significant discovery as one of the earliest of its kind excavated in Greece– remnants of buildings from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, kilns.
  • Ptolemaïda: three settlements, two dating from the early Iron Age and the third from the Hellenistic / Roman period.

Florina Regional Unit: Rescue excavations in Antigonos and Filotas

According to the Head of the local EFA, Christina Ziota, archaeological research in the Florina Regional Unit essentially focused on two areas: the communities of Antigonos and Filotas, where trial trenches were carried out and rescue excavations performed on two sites.

Findings from the Neolithic period (6th-5th millennium BC) and Bronze Age (3rd-2nd millennium BC) were unearthed in the first site, close to Antigonos:

  • traces of settlements, comprising slabs of clay, holes for the attachment of timber poles, remnants of buildings –including stone-paved floors– and a multitude of ceramic pottery, utensils, tools, millstones, etc.      
  • pit graves from the early Iron Age, adorned with ceramic pots.
  • pit graves dating to the late Byzantine period; in one of them, the deceased female bore 5 bronze rings.  

In the second site, at the south-southeast of Filotas, remnants of buildings and graves were unearthed dating from the Hellenistic to the mid-Byzantine period (2nd century BC-12th century AD), as well as mobile findings, such as ceramic pots, metal tolls and weapons, nails, jewellery, bronze coins, traces of metalworks, and clay textile-making tools.  

Lastly, in mountainous areas of the Variko and Maniaki communities defensive constructions / fortifications were unearthed, probably of the Roman period.  

Kastoria Regional Unit: new sites and perspectives in archaeological research

"In the Kastoria Regional Unit, antiquities have come to light in several sites that enrich the archaeological map of the area and widen the perspectives of local archaeological research," note the archaeologist of the local Ephorate, Hara Sarigiannidou, and the Head of the Ephorate, Andromache Skreka. Excavations have revealed a great variety of findings that cover an extensive time frame –from the prehistoric to the post-Byzantine period– and including Neolithic kilns, barrels from the Bronze Age, remnants of a Roman settlement, etc.   

Of particular interest, according to the Kastoria Ephorate of Antiquities, is the excavation of significant architectural remnants close to the village of Poria, near the village of Aliakmonas. These regard a building with a three-sided apse on the east side, which points to a church – possible a post-Byzantine one (mid-15th-early 19th century AD) – or a part of a larger ecclesiastic structure.

The findings detailed above, as well as others that have already been excavated in Thrace and Central Macedonia, were identified in the context of the 400+ archaeological excavations and investigations carried out in the pipeline’s Right of Way, in accordance with the relevant Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation that TAP has signed with the competent Ministry and the Ephorates of all the regional units it traverses.                                                             

As an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), and following the second Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy 2016 call for proposals, in February 2017 TAP was awarded a grant of €14,018,347. These amounts have been used to fund archaeological trial trench investigations and rescue excavations along the pipeline lots 2 and 3 in Greece (Kavala to Kastoria, approximately 360km in total).



About the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe. The 878km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy. 

TAP’s routing can facilitate gas supply to several South Eastern European countries, including Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and others. TAP’s landfall in Italy provides multiple opportunities for further transport of Caspian natural gas to some of the largest European markets such as Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland and Austria. 

TAP will promote the economic development and job creation along the pipeline route; it will be a major source of foreign direct investment and it is not dependent on grants or subsidies. With first gas sales to Georgia and Turkey targeted for late 2018, first deliveries to Europe will follow in 2020. 

TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam S.p.A. (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).

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