I landed in Greece about one week ago and will be here for the next two months, conducting research at a number of different institutions (check out the map at the bottom). All of these places are close to heart, albeit for different reasons. First up is Karystos (island of Euboea), then on to Rethymno (island of Crete), Pyrgos Dirou (Mani peninsula), and finally Istanbul (Turkey). I’ll also spend a few days at museums in the Peloponnese, but more on that later!
For the past week, I have been helping with the Norwegian Archaeological Survey in the Karystia (NASK), a project directed by Dr. Žarko Tankosić. We are surveying some previously unexplored areas of Southern Euboea, looking for evidence of Neolithic-period occupation. As a strictly survey project, we spend our days walking in a line of about people, each of us spaced 10 meters apart, collecting all the obsidian and pottery fragments we see on the surface of the ground. Already we have identified several interesting findspots for further investigation. One of these produced around 120 obsidian fragments! Although it is nearly impossible to date a site based on lithics like these, it was still an exciting experience for me because I’ve never worked at a place with such high lithic densities. Another findspot had hundreds of fragments of large storage vessels, suggesting that it may have been the location of a Roman period estate. I will continue working in Euboea through the end of the week, leaving for Crete about halfway through the NASK season. I am definitely looking forward to following the team’s updates to see what they discover during the second half of the season.
Another quick note: this past weekend I travelled back to Athens to attend a conference organized in part by Žarko Tankosić, called “Communities in Transition: The Circum-Aegean Later Neolithic States (ca. 5000/4800 – 3200/3000 BC).” The conference was hosted by the Athens Acropolis Museum and the Danish Institute at Athens, and it was attended by a number of big names in the field. Although the Neolithic isn’t really my area of interest, it was a great excuse to visit one of the most beautiful museums in Athens, meet some other archaeology nerds, and hear a few interesting papers on the people living in the Aegean about 6,000 years ago.