Olive-oil routes

Olive-oil routes

Olive presses in the South-East Peloponnese (Lakonia-Messinia) during antiquity: The origins of olive cultivation and the accompanying extraction of olive oil as a productive process are lost in time, corresponding to a lifespan of millennia and a condensed experience of innumerable years. Our knowledge of it through written sources ―Greek and Latin authors from Ancient and Byzantine times― is documented by scarce archaeological data, which are being completed as far as possible with information about the contemporary productive process, and in particular that dating to before the Second World War.

In order to locate the remains of the civilization of the olive and olive oil in the Peloponnese, a special survey was carried out, which comes under the scientific field of historical topography, i.e. a combination of history, archaeology and geography, while field research focused on locations other than the usual tourist destinations and are proposed only to those interested in searching, familiar with cross-country hiking and attracted by the unknown - and not daunted by the unexpected. The field research centred on the area of the Eastern and Southern Peloponnese [i.e. the regions of Lakonia (Kato Parnonas, Geraki, Molaoi, Lambokampos, Maleas, the Mani), Messinia (Soulimochoria, Meligalas, Kalamata, Vromovrysseika Vouna, Gargalianoi, Kyparissia, Pylia) and Achaia (excavated houses in the surrounds of Patras)], and includes additional material from the rest of Greece (from both the mainland and the islands) so as to allow comparisons. The project's results enriched the visual material of the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta and gave rise to a special publication, which provides information in a concise yet comprehensive manner on the cycle of olive cultivation, and in particular on the process of olive-oil extraction during antiquity, using as visual material all the relative elements that can still be found in the Peloponnesian countryside. It thus offers a motive, while simultaneously being a guide, for further excursions.

Scientific coordinator: Yiannis Pikoulas (assistant professor, Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly)
Scientific research and documentation: Evanghelia Eleftheriou (archaeologist), Yiannis Pikoulas (professor, Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly)