Future excavation at Nemea will be an essential focus as we move ahead, hopefully for decades to come. This will happen over several multi-season campaigns interspersed with seasons of study and museum research and will encompass many different areas geographically within and around the site, as well as chronologically distinct periods. One interest is to discover more information and evidence of the early prehistory and history of the site, including the possibility of occupation and/or cult continuity down to the 6th century sanctuary and its development. Other important areas of interest include the exploration of the area west of the Temple where the early stadium and hippodrome should be located, and the space between the two “sites” (sanctuary proper and stadium) to understand the circulation routes, access and structures associated with this part of the festival and to create a single unified archaeological park.
The first of the campaigns will be 2010-2012, having been granted a permit from the American School for Classical Studies at Athens.
The Nemea Center plans to continue and expand on the previous investigations, spatially and chronologically, by exploring to greater depth several areas in and around the sanctuary. The areas that will be targeted in these first three seasons of excavation indicate a strong potential for prehistoric and early historic architecture and ceramics, as well as possible well-stratified Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic remains that will aid in our continuing study and publication of the material from these periods.
The primary research agenda for the 2010-2012 excavation campaign is to more fully access and understand the pre-Classical sanctuary and its nature, especially during the prehistoric and early historic periods. We will also explore more generally the extent of occupation in the surrounding area during these periods.
The proposed work is likely to expose the potential domestic material of these earlier periods lying under the sanctuary. It should thus also highlight the period/s of the area’s use and illuminate the circumstances of the changing character and use of the area in the early historic period – changes that resulted in local hero worship and ultimately the pan-Hellenic sanctuary. There are still many questions about the early prehistoric and historic use of the sanctuary area, not to mention potential indications of the origin of cult and early cult use on the site and even the possibility of cult continuity from the prehistoric period. The other pan-Hellenic sanctuaries (Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia) all exhibit signs of prehistoric occupation, regional importance and possible indications of early cult practice. We should expect evidence of similar or related phenomena at Nemea.
The first season of renewed excavation in 2010 began in late May. An archaeological field school was apart of the project with graduate and undergraduate student participation, as well as other interested parties. See the Field School to learn more.