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Photo 1 Cleaning of Malthi fortification wall near the northern gate. The narrow stone wall erected by Natan Valmin to keep animals out is standing on top of the considerably thicker fortification. Photo: Jacquelyn Clements.

Photo 2 In process of mapping all visible remains in 2015 using a DGPS and terrestrial laser scanner. Photo: Jacquelyn Clements

Malthi is a fortified hilltop settlement overlooking the Soulima Valley in northern Messenia. It was excavated in the 1930s by Natan Valmin and the results were published in The Swedish Messenia Expedition, Lund 1938. Though it represents one of the most completely excavated settlements of this period, its publication is problematic for a number of reasons, including contentious dating of the ceramic sequence, questions concerning the date of the fortification wall and abundant errors in the plan itself. This has rendered Malthi marginalized in recent discussions about the development of ranked societies and state formation processes in the area.

In order to overcome these obstacles, the five year Malthi Mapping Project was launched in 2015 with the aims to: (1) create an accurate plan of the settlement, (2) investigate the date and construction of the fortification, (3) identify possible phases in the architectural development of the settlement, and (4) establish an updated ceramic sequence.

The project, directed by Michael Lindblom in co-operation with Rebecca Worsham is carried out with support from the Ephorate of Antiquities in Messenia. The work done in 2015 included extensive clearing of vegetation inside the settlement and around the fortification, and a re-interpretive mapping of all visible architecture using a DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) and terrestrial laser scanner. The latter was carried out in cooperation with Rachel Opitz from the Spatial Archaeometry Research Collaborations (SPARC).

In 2016 the project aims to carry out excavations adjacent to the interior and exterior of the fortification wall, inside a magazine next to the wall, and north-east of the uppermost terrace. Additionally, drone photography is planned that can be draped onto the existing 3D model of the settlement.

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