A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Industrial Sites of the Vrokastro Region of Mirabello, Eastern Crete
Since 2002, a multi-disciplinary geophysical and geo-archaeological project has been carried out in the wider area of Priniatikos Pyrgos, within the Istron coastal area, in eastern Crete. The site, consisting of surface or partially buried relics spanning the prehistoric (4000 BC) to Roman periods and later historical periods, constitutes one of the best examples of the diachronic exploitation of the coastal regions in Crete. The goal of the project is to identify the function, size, and condition of the site of Priniatikos Pyrgos in relation to other coastal settlements in the Bronze Age and historical periods. Topographic mapping through the use of EDM and GPS was employed for the mapping of the surface monuments and sites. Ikonos satellite imagery and a time sequence of aerial photographs were used for capturing the changes in the land-use patterns of the region. Further geomorphological information was collected through digitization of geological and environmental maps, together with a recent geological mapping survey and selected coring that was carried out in specific areas of interest. A number of plots were further explored through geophysical prospection techniques using magnetic, electric resistivity and electromagnetic methods. The above information was entered to a Geographical Information System which was connected to an elaborated database regarding the archaeological sites and their surrounding landscapes. Geophysical data suggested that part of the site comprised workshop areas during the prehistoric and historical periods, indicating functional similarities to other ports identified on the northern and southern coasts, such as Kommos, Mochlos, Poros and Gouves. The workshop area was probably related to both ceramic production (mainly in the prehistoric periods) and metalworking (mainly in historical periods). Further evidence of architectural relics has been suggested by the processing of the geophysical data. Shallow trenching and the analysis of geological cores indicated that location of the Istron River near Priniatikos Pyrgos may have shifted over time and it is probably responsible for the deep colluvial deposition noticed in the wider coastal area. Finally, GIS tools have been used to further explore the cultural landscape by examining the communication among the settlements and the habitation trends in different chronological periods.