Άγιος Αχίλειος 1996-1998 : συμπεράσματα και προβληματισμοίPart of : Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στη Μακεδονία και στη Θράκη ; Vol.12, No.1, 1998, pages 527-542
Ayios Ahillios 1996-8 : conclusions and questions
Excavations to the S of the basilica of Ayios Ahillios on Little Prespa from1996 to 1998 brought to light a Byzantine cemetery consisting of 160 burials at 3 levels, dating to the mid-12th to early 15th century, and an adjacent structure consisting of 3 closed chambers for burials and the related ceremonial. The majority of the graves are plain pit graves or are simply marked out with stone sand bricks or have a hollow for the head. There are also a considerable number of coffins. The few cist graves and tile graves are used exclusively for child burials, which account for one third of the whole. The jewellery, clothing, and footwear are those commonly encountered in the Middle and Late Byzantine period, particularly in the S Balkans. The 15 coins were issued under Manuel IKomnenos, Theodore Laskaris, John Doukas Batatzes, and the co-emperors Andronikos II and Michael IX and Andronikos III and Anna Palaiologina. Ofparticular note are a Serbian dinar of Stefan Urosh I and a dinar of Vukashin, the only one ever found in this area.A tripartite structure was built above the cemetery using material from the basilica, which was damaged by an earthquake probably between 1359 and1380. Burials continued to take place in this structure until the area came underOttoman rule at the end of the 14th century. The last burials are dated by a Venetian coin of the doge Michele Steno (1407) and by 2 early Ottoman coins.The site was subsequently abandoned. The site seems to be the main cemetery of the Byzantine town of Prespa and dates to the period when this area was flourishing, after the basilica of Ayios Ahillios had been renovated and Prespa had been upgraded to a bishopric in the archbishopric of Ohrid. The town must have been situated S of the basilica near Kale Hill, where fortifications have been located.
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