The first Swedish archaeological campaign in Greece took place in 1894 when Sam Wide and Lennart Kjellberg undertook excavations at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia (today the island of Poros). Since then a total of 13 sites have been explored by Swedish archaeologists. Most of them are located in the Peloponnese, but fieldwork has also been conducted on Crete, in Central Greece and Thrace. Today three projects include active ongoing field seasons (at Kalaureia, Vlochos and Hermione) while studies of previously excavated material from several other sites are undertaken continuously.
Greek-Swedish collaborative fieldwork in Western Thessaly
The archaeological site of Vlochos is situated three kilometres north of the town of Palamas in western Thessaly, and consists of the large hill of Strongilovouni and its immediate surroundings. An archaeological field programme (The Vlochos Archaeological Project) was carried out here in 2016–2018 as a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa and the Institute, aiming at surveying the extensive multi-period ancient remains found here.
The Sanctuary of Poseidon on Kalaureia is located on the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf, c. 6 km from Poros town. The site lies on a plateau between the hills of Aghios Elias and Vigla and holds a commanding position c. 200 m above sea level. To the north there is a visual connection with the Methana peninsula as well as the islands of Angistri and Aigina, while in the far distance it is possible to see Pireus and the coastline of Attica on clear days. To the south, the visitor can catch glimpses of the sea against the background of the steep Peloponnesian coast.
The Asea valley is located between the ancient cities of Tegea and Megalopolis in the central Peloponnese. The city of Asea itself, an independent polis between the 6th and 3rd century BC, was located on and around the conspicuous Paleokastro hill at the heart of the valley. The location of the valley is important as it acted as a “main” thoroughfare between Corinthia and the Argolid in the east, and Olympia in the west, during prehistoric and ancient times. Due to few mentions in ancient literature, Asea is mainly known through the archaeological evidence.
The site of Asine is located c. 8 km south-west of today’s city of Nauplio. The ancient remains here are spread out over the top and slopes of the 330 m long and 50 m tall acropolis cliff jutting out into the Argolis bay, as well as on the Barbouna hill just to the west. On both sides of the acropolis there are beaches, the western one providing an excellent harbour. Across from the acropolis the island of Romvi functions as a breakwater, protecting the landing.
Between 2010 and 2015 the Makrakomi Archaeological Landscapes Project (MALP) conducted fieldwork around the village of Makrakomi in the Spercheios valley, located in the western part of Phthiotis (central Greece). Limited by tall mountains in the south, north and west, the valley and its homonymous river stretches towards the Malian gulf in the east. Due to its position, the valley has acted as a border zone between northern and southern Greece, as well as a natural passage for both armies and travellers. This made the valley increasingly important during the Late Classical and Hellenistic period as armies marched across Greece more frequently following the rise of Macedonia.
During the Bronze Age a flourishing community existed on and around Malthi, the northern spur of the mountain range of Ramovouni, located a few kilometers from the village Vasiliko in northern Messenia. On the ridge itself, c. 100 meter above the valley floor, a fortified Middle to Late Bronze Age settlement was situated. From here it had a splendid view of the valley which offered easy communications between inland Peloponnese and the coast.
The acropolis of Midea and its important Late Bronze Age citadel is located on a 270 m tall conical hill in the Argolid, 1.5 km from the contemporary cemetery at Dendra and about midway between Tiryns and Mycenae. From the top of the hill, looking south and west the site offers a magnificent view of the Argive plain and gulf. To the north and east the tall inland mountains dominate the landscape. This view, making it possible to monitor the plain and its approaches, possibly contributed to the importance of the site during the Bronze Age.