Archaeological Dig at an Ancient Greek Settlement

GML Heritage recently worked on the Zagora Archaeological Project 2019, collaborating with the University of Sydney’s Department of Archaeology, the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens and The University of Sydney Museums.

GML Senior Heritage Consultant Jodi Cameron blogged about the site and took part in excavation and field survey in July 2019.

Zagora Archaeological Project

Zagora is on the western coast of the Greek island of Andros. When it was settled 3000 years ago, it featured fertile valleys, natural springs and high annual rainfall. Zagora thrived as an agricultural society with increasingly complex settlements and evidence of social gatherings and rituals.

Mystery surrounds the abandonment of the site after 200 years of settlement—it is hypothesised that this may have been due to environmental reasons, but it is not yet known.

The University of Sydney began excavations at Zagora in 1967. Between 1967 and 1974, the team excavated a temple on the site, 25 stone-built houses and part of the fortification wall. These excavations found evidence of continued visitation to the temple after the settlement was abandoned.

After many years, the University of Sydney returned to Zagora for three seasons between 2012 and 2014. These field seasons expanded on previous works as well as undertaking geophysical analyses, surface thermal luminescence dating, aerial photography, photogrammetry, satellite remote sensing, residue analysis and faunal analysis.

Findings from the Zagora Archaeological Project, 2019 Season

The 2019 field season occurred over a three-week timeframe in July with targeted excavation ground-truthing the results of geophysical analysis. In 2012 a magnetic anomaly was identified during a magnetometer survey and in 2017, infrared imaging identified a potential feature. Trenches were laid in both of these areas. All artefacts found on site were taken to the Archaeological Museum of Andros for cleaning and analysis, and the results are pending. Like all archaeological digs, the post-excavation analysis and reporting takes far longer than the time spent in the field.

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