Friday, September 6, 2013

CIG on Naxos and Closure for the Summer

View  of Stelida from West
Last month you were treated to the blogs of the three CIG projects that were in the field in June and July: Argilos, Ancient Eleon and Kastro Kallithea. In early August a fourth project was approved by the Ministry of Culture. This is the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project (SNAP) directed by Professor Tristan ("Stringy") Carter (Department of Anthropology, McMaster University). It is in the field now conducting an intensive survey of the prominent hills at Stelida, to the southeast of Chora, on the northwestern tip of Naxos in the Cyclades. Both the 21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and a survey by a team from the French School at Athens in the 1960s had identified this area as one with abundant chipped stone debris of uncertain date, without associated ceramics. The taller, southern hill is a source of chert.

SNAP crew collecting chipped stone materials
Stringy, with a small team of co-researchers from Greece and the United States as well as dedicated students from McMaster, are scrambling over the steep, rocky slopes covered with dense scrub in many places to find evidence of chert procurement, primary reduction, and secondary modification for use. “Collection lines”, “grab samples”, and “hovering”, the jargon of survey archaeology, punctuated Stringy’s description of what they were doing in their survey zone. So far in their first of two field seasons they have evidence of exploitation of the lithic resources from at least the Middle Mesolithic period, ca 9th millennium BCE. There is some indication too of in situ tool use. At this time there was probably a broad coast plain with lagoons on the edges to the east and to the south of the promontory. This would have been an excellent location for seasonal camps to hunt the migrating game and to gather a variety of plant stuffs. I enjoyed the challenge of seeing them working on the top of the hill, seeing some of their finds in the museum and joining them (with my wife) for a tasty dinner and lively, wide ranging conversations at an excellent taverna on the waterfront. Stringy will supply us with a guest blog next month to provide more details for our readers.

Keros provides the backdrop to Michael and Evi's wedding
The endless summer has closure
Just as the summer started with a wedding on an island involving archaeologists (that of Stringy and Deanna Aubert on Crete) it is more than appropriate to close the summer with another such wedding. This took place on August 31st on Kouphonisi, where Evi Margaritis and Michael Boyd were united in wedlock before an enthusiastic group of family members from Greece and Scotland, as well as - guess what? - a large contingent of archaeologists. To complete the archaeological component (besides moi and my wife) our own Jonathan was there too (as his facebook page followers already know very well!) plus Stringy and Deanna. Evi and Michael met on Kouphonisi on one of Professor Colin Renfrew’s (University of Cambridge) and Greek colleagues’ field projects investigating the enigmatic Early Cycladic I-II remains on the island of Keros and the islet of Daskaleio to the south.

Colin Renfrew and David Rupp, among many others, on the dance floor
The ample food and drink, the musical group playing Greek standards and traditional island songs, the golden hits (and others) of rock & roll put up by the DJ, and the excellent Greek dancing (including Colin Renfrew as well!), plus Scottish gigs, made this indeed a most memorable evening that did not end early by any means. All first time visitors to the island were taken by the beautiful, sandy beaches, the views to the other islands, the high quality tavernes, the numerous opportunities for walking and the slow pace of life here. Few wanted to see the wedding reception end or to leave the island for the other world. Ti na sas po;;;

Two weddings, three excavations and a survey; the summer has ended!

Kalo Fthinoporo!
David Rupp

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