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The Azoria Project
National Endowment for the Humanities (Proposal RZ-20812)

Statement of Significance and Impact

The project is the on-going study of the process of urbanization in Early Iron Age and Archaic Greece (ca. 1200-500 B.C.), by focusing on the island of Crete, and on the history and development of a single urban site—a nascent city-state or polis. The method is the excavation of the site of Azoria, a large town-size settlement on the northeast coast of Crete, which surface survey and one season of excavation have shown to have been occupied continuously during the Early Iron Age (or “Dark Age”) and Archaic periods (ca. 1200-480 B.C.). The goal is to understand the relationship between local environmental variables and extra-island exchange in a central, culturally complex, and ethnically diverse area of the eastern Mediterranean. The long-term occupation of Azoria provides a rare opportunity to examine the organization of the community through time, to define its urban characteristics, and to derive methods for interpreting the changing cultural identity of its inhabitants.

In the past ten years, since the publication of Sarah Morris’s acclaimed Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art (Princeton 1992), the question of the historical significance of Crete as a mediator of Egyptian, Syrian, Cypriot, and broadly “orientalizing” ideas imbedded in Greek forms of writing, laws, architecture, sculpture and minor arts, has reemerged as central in our analyses of the origins of the first cities in the Aegean, following the collapse of Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations. The Azoria project addresses two interrelated and vitally important problems in understanding early Cretan and Greek cultural identity and state formation: 1) did Cretan cities emerge first in the Early Iron Age (ca. 1000-800 B.C.) or later in the Archaic period (ca. 700-600 B.C.)? And 2) were these first cities based on long-established communities, and local agricultural and pastoral resources, or were they created anew or transformed, in response to external economic and cultural stimuli? We are interested in answering these questions by examining changes in the form of the settlement and its material culture, contexts of public and private activities, and modes of agricultural and pastoral production throughout the life of an urban site.

Even though Cretan votive art, temple architecture, and sculpture of the seventh century B.C. show a dynamic reception and exuberant mixing of indigenous, mainland Greek, Cypriot, and Near Eastern influences, the social context of the production of this material culture is poorly understood, and for the most part, lacking solid archaeological contexts, as well as coherent methodologies and scientific analyses for its interpretation. Links between Crete and the Near East are further suggested by Cypriot, North Syrian, and Egyptian influences on material culture from as early as the tenth and ninth centuries B.C., and a continuing Phoenician interest in the island as a gateway to the Aegean, a strategic transshipment point along traditional westward trade routes. Our basic problem orientation is to assess the relevance of this intercultural contact and exchange to the diverse processes of urbanization and city-state formation.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the archaeology of Crete has been dominated by the excavation of the island’s Bronze Age urban centers. The study of Minoan Crete’s “golden age” has thus overshadowed work on the cultures of subsequent periods on the island. Classical archaeologists have essentially followed the ancient Greek literary tradition, considering Crete peripheral to the histories of the mainland city-states, such as Athens, which produced so many of the cultural achievements that we associate with classical civilization. This marginalization of post-Bronze Age Crete has affected our understanding of diverse cultural contexts, the ethnic identity of the island’s inhabitants, and their response to and interpretation of Greek and Near Eastern influences. Our goal is to shed light on this oft-ignored period of prehistory and history, which is also evidently one of dynamic social change and intercultural interaction, as the cities of the Mediterranean fringe took shape. The project’s method, problem orientation, and potential results have broader implications for humanists, classicists, archaeologists, and anthropologists studying state formation and urbanization, as well as ethnicity and culture change.

Narrative Description

A. Substance and Context

Partial funding is sought from the NEH for the first three years of excavation of the site of Azoria in northeastern Crete, and for the study and publication of the finds. This section of the description consists of (1) a project summary and (2) a description of the area to be excavated. We present here also the project’s relevance to past and on-going research, and its more general impact in Mediterranean archaeology and the humanities. The categories are: (3) relevance of the project to previous archaeological investigations; (4) relevance to current research in the area; (5) relevance to current work in Early Iron Age and Archaic Greek archaeology; and (6) relevance to work in Mediterranean archaeology and (7) the humanities.

(1) Project Summary

The project is the excavation of the Early Iron Age-Archaic site of Azoria in northeastern Crete. The goal is to explore an Archaic Greek town—with demonstrable complex stratigraphy, excellent preservation, and urban character (nucleated structure, large size, central and strategic location, fortification walls)—examining stratigraphically the nature of early Greek settlement and the process of urbanization during the period from the Early Iron Age through the sixth century BC. The principal objectives of the excavation are the following: 1) to study the social, political, and cultural transformation of a group of Early Iron Age villages into a nucleated center; 2) to examine related economic changes by the rigorous recovery and analysis of plant and animal remains, imported objects and raw materials, and evidence for industrial activities; 3) to address questions of the Dark Age development of early Greek social and political organization through the study of the town’s internal layout, architectural differentiation, and archaeological context, and its changes from 1200 to 600 BC.; and 4) to recover and evaluate archaeological contexts that might help us to understand the nature of changes in the cultural identity of an emerging urban community.

There are really two “Dark Ages” on the island of Crete following the collapse of Bronze Age palace societies ca. 1200 B.C.: one is the Early Iron Age transition from 1200 to 900 B.C. which witnessed the emergence of “refuge settlements,” sites that reflect drastic social and political reorganization and demographic changes in keeping with culture change observable across the Mediterranean basin. The second is ca. 600 B.C., a puzzling “period of silence” following an evidently energetic revival of contacts with the Near East from 800 to 600 B.C. It is our goal to investigate Azoria, a single site that spans the entirety of this intermediate period, focusing on a formative urban landscape. We want to discover when Cretan cities first reemerged and whether the social and political structure was based on a long-established community of place, or created anew in response to new external economic and cultural stimuli.

(2) Description of the area to be excavated (cf. Appendix A)

Azoria (o Azorias or Mouri t’ Azorgia) is a double-peaked hill, located some 3.0 km inland from the sea, and exactly 1.0 km southeast of the modern village of Kavousi in northeastern Crete, Greece (Fig. 1). Walls and pottery sherds are evident on the surface at an elevation of about 320-370 meters above sea level (Figs. 1-4). While the site visibly extends across 9.0 ha., the broadest area to be investigated includes approximately 6.0 ha. covering both peaks and their uppermost slopes (Fig. 3). The hilltop, now crowded with dense garigue and maquis vegetation (thyme, sage, burnet, broom, carob, wild olive), has not been used for intensive agriculture for at least a generation (Figs. 5-8). The condition of the site one hundred years ago was apparently little different from what one sees today (Boyd 1901: 150).

(3) Relevance to previous archaeological and historical investigations

An early American archaeologist, Harriet Boyd (1901), excavated a single trench on the hilltop at Azoria in 1900, revealing a stratified series of walls (Figs. 3-4). She reported finding pottery that she thought was contemporary with neighboring Early Iron Age sites, but none of the material was ever published. Subsequent surface exploration by Haggis in 1990 (1992) resulted in a sketch plan of the site and a reevaluation of the size and chronology (Figs. 3-4). The surface study confirmed Boyd’s Dark Age date (ca. 1200-700 B.C.), but expanded the range to include Orientalizing and Archaic periods (ca. 700-500 B.C.). Finally, at the base of the Azoria hill is Pachlitzani Agriada, the location of an important rural temple, which was made famous by the excavations of Alexiou in 1950 (Alexiou 1956; Drerup 1969; Mazarakis Ainian 1997) (Fig. 2). Based on Boyd’s early test trench and the intensive survey of the site, we have a good picture of the distribution of remains of various periods. Orientalizing and Archaic (ca. 700-500 B.C.) sherds and wall segments were recovered from the entire area of the hilltop, while earlier potsherds and walls were found consistently at the outer edges and slopes, indicating that the site may have been quite large in Late Minoan IIIC-Protogeometric (ca. 1200-900 B.C.).

The size of the site and its long-term use excited our interest and helped to shape the research strategy. The site’s foundation and abandonment were conceivably responses to broader changes in the region, the Aegean, and Mediterranean. Azoria is physically linked to important coastal and in-land transportation routes, and is strategically located at the northern edge of the Isthmus of Ierapetra, a veritable trade corridor between the Aegean and Mediterranean (Haggis 1993; 1996b). Furthermore, the site overlooks the plain of Kavousi (Kampos), a distinctly separate extension of the Isthmus lowland plain (Figs. 1, 7). Historians have long associated this plain with the territory of Strabo’s Larisa (IX 5.19), a city that was abandoned at an unknown date, and absorbed into the synoicism or political consolidation of the city of Hierapytna (Guarducci 1942: 19). Whether or not Azoria was in fact ancient Larisa, the site’s relationship to ancient Hierapytna and the Isthmus corridor is of critical importance in reconstructing the social, political and economic function of cities in Early Iron Age and Archaic Crete.

(4) Relevance to current research

Haggis’ intensive survey of the hinterland of Azoria (1989-1992) identified an Early Iron Age settlement pattern made up of discrete groups of sites centering on upland water supplies, arable land, and pasturage (1996a; 1993; forthcoming a; forthcoming b) (Figs. 1-2). He hypothesized that these clusters formed communities of interdependent villages organized in kinship groups around traditional agricultural and pastoral land. The best known of these clusters consists of four sites, of which Azoria is the largest in the group and the only one to show evidence of occupation continuing into the sixth century B.C. (Fig. 2).

Excavations from 1984-1991 at the neighboring village sites of Vronda and Kastro (e.g., Coulson et al. 1997; Day et al. 1986; Gesell et al. 1983; 1985; 1988; 1995) revealed interesting chronological patterns augmenting the evidence from survey, and suggesting an on-going process of abandonment that may have involved the movement of population to the Azoria center (Haggis 1996) (Figs. 1-2). Alternatively, we can propose that Azoria was the main central place in the region throughout the Dark Age, and could demonstrate an early stage of physical nucleation and political consolidation within an already well-established territory, principally defined by the distribution of villages and their associated agricultural and pastoral lands. One objective of the Azoria project is to test these hypotheses by the excavation of the site of Azoria itself.

(5) Relevance to current work in Early Iron Age and Archaic Greek archaeology

(a) Urbanization and city-state formation

The concept of a “city-state” (Postgate 1994)—a unified town and country or a “ruralized city” (Southall 1998)—provides the notional underpinnings of the early Sumerian city as well as the Bronze Age Aegean states and the Archaic-Classical Greek polis (cf. Snodgrass 1990; Small 1995), while the city as an economic nucleus has both central-European (Wells 1984) as well as Mesopotamian (Van de Mieroop 1997) proponents. One view of the dynamics of city-formation in the Mediterranean (Sherratt and Sherratt 1993) suggests that towns on the coastal fringe developed, ca. 1000-700 B.C., in response to the revitalization of Mediterranean exchange systems, by North Syrian, Phoenician, and Cypriot traders, causing tensions between the in-land, agriculturally-based communities of the Early Iron Age and new trading towns located on the coast. The results of the Azoria Project would form a stratigraphic test case for changes in the economic and social organization of an emerging polity, impacting the current discourse on the process of city formation, but also contributing to the Mediterranean-wide discussion of the “secondary state” and the validity of developmental models of urbanization.

Two dominant models of urbanization within emerging “city-state” systems are current. One stresses the importance of the organization of staple finance within kinship and ritual frameworks (Schwartz 1994; Stein 1994; Halstead 1988; Halstead and O’Shea 1982); the other stresses wealth finance and production and exchange on various spatial scales (e.g. Wells 1984; Sherratt and Sherratt 1993). Both approaches emphasize the nature of regional integration—the symbolic or functional connection between center and hinterland—and the complex relationships between local agricultural/pastoral production, non-agricultural manufacturing, the organization of labor, and external exchange networks. The consideration of a dynamic interaction between exchange systems and local agricultural production is at the core of theoretical and synthetic studies of the Greek Early Iron Age (Foxhall 1995; Whitley 1991) and indeed historical models for the emergence of the Greek polis (cf. Snodgrass 1977; 1991). But the dynamic has not been tested through systematic archaeological excavation and environmental survey in any specific example of an emergent urban nucleus in Early Iron Age Greece. The Azoria Project provides such a case study.

(b) Early Iron Age urbanization

The common model of early Greek state formation presupposes a shift from either pastoral or mixed village-farming communities (Thomas and Conant 1999; Donlan and Thomas 1993; cf. Cherry 1988), with a chiefdom or big-man structure (Whitley 1991; Donlan and Thomas 1993) to more integrated sociopolitical and economic systems, with a complexly stratified social organization, involving trade, and more extensive exploitation of the outfield lands surrounding nascent cities. This shift from intensive garden cultivation, characteristic of village-farming groups, to more extensive, specialized, or controlled exploitation of marginal environments should be detectable in the faunal and floral record, and forms a central problem orientation for the Azoria Project.

Our common notions of the “refuge settlement” type—defensible sites established in the wake of collapse of Bronze Age palace states—the historical implications of a “discontinuity” in the transition between Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, and the reductionist paradigm of an “eighth century B.C. renaissance,” have in many ways steered discussion of early Greek society, and circumscribed the discourse on the Dark Age origins of the early Greek city and state. Did cities emerge earlier than the eighth century?

While recent surveys have recovered very large Late Minoan IIIC-Protogeometric sites (ca. 1200-900 B.C.), exceeding 10 hectares in size, the historical implications of an extraordinary growth of population and complexity, already within the tenth century B.C., have not been realized (Nowicki 2000; Watrous 2000; Whitley 1998; Watrous and Blitzer 1994). Even at Knossos, possibly an early—tenth century B.C.— polis, we still lack a clear understanding of the city’s form, institutions, and culture (cf. Coldstream 1991; Morris 1991). The results of survey in mainland Greece mirror the picture in Crete, illustrating the complexity of the Early Iron Age landscape and the longevity of particularly large nucleated settlements (Foxhall 1995; Morgan 1990). What was the social organization in population groups exceeding 1500 people, and how do these settlements fit into our picture of the restructured Minoan-Mycenaean landscape? At Azoria our focus is on just such an early population nucleus, which displays the size and features of an urban center as early as the 10th century B.C.

(c) Eighth to sixth century urbanization and the Cretan “period of silence”

Studies of the Early Iron Age origins of early Greek state societies have shown the lack of stratigraphic and chronological clarity in the existing data (cf. Snodgrass 1977; Morris 1991; Snodgrass 1991; Thomas and Conant 1999). And the study of Geometric and Archaic Greece remains understandably rooted in historical, philological, epigraphical, and broadly “art historical” areas (cf. Snodgrass 1980; Jeffery 1976). Over the past decade, innovative studies of early Greek society have demonstrated the effective integration of archaeological and literary sources in creating historical syntheses (Morgan 1990; Snodgrass 1991; Morris 1991; Burkert 1992; Morris 1992; Langdon 1993; Dougherty and Kurke 1993; Andersen and Dickie 1995; Antonaccio 1995; Osborne 1996; Langdon 1997; Mitchell and Rhodes 1997; Fisher and van Wees 1998; Shanks 1999). Comprehensive surveys of the archaeological evidence, however, emphasize the inconsistencies in the type and quality of information available (e.g., Morris 1998). All but lacking is a viable sample of occupation sites. The problem of the lack of evidence is especially critical on Crete, where the sixth century is considered a significant chronological gap, a veritable “period of silence” (Stambolides 1990; Morris 1992: 169; Langdon 1993; Morris 1998). This condition of the archaeological record is perhaps as much a result of the vagaries of archaeological exploration, as of historical events or changes in settlement patterns (Coldstream and Huxley 1999; Prent 1996-1997). While some scholars have postulated complex and fascinating environmental, military, political, and economic scenarios for changes in Crete ca. 600 B.C., accounting for the apparent hiatus in the archaeological record (e.g., Coldstream and Huxley 1999; S. Morris 1992: 169-172; I. Morris 1998: 65-66), the fact is that many Archaic and Classical sites on Crete are known, but have simply been neglected (cf. Kalpaxis et al. 1995). An objective of the Azoria project is to assess this mysterious sixth century B.C. discontinuity or hiatus in the archaeological record, and to address questions of economic change in light of contemporary sociopolitical changes at the end of the seventh century B.C. in the eastern Mediterranean (cf. S. Morris 1992). What did Azoria look like around 600 B.C. and is there any evidence for changes in the form of the town, its industries and economy, and the material culture of its occupants?

Finally, Cretan political organization involved ostensibly tribal kinship-based social stratification within the structure of early city-states (Willetts 1955; 1965; cf. Morris 1990; Huxley 1994). For example, the institution of kosmoi is attested epigraphically and historically, as are other offices of government in central Crete. But while the body of literary and epigraphical evidence for Cretan laws, kinship systems, and political structure within the polis is both relatively ancient and detailed (cf. Whitley 1997), the archaeological evidence for social systems in the sixth century, and its Early Iron Age origins, remain obscure. Kinship systems are recoverable archaeologically, and the form and relative importance of tribal, clan, and family groups are potentially determinable by the study of both habitation and mortuary contexts. In the Azoria project, we hope to recover archaeological evidence for early Cretan social and political structure within the context of a developing city. Such evidence would include formal and functional differentiation in public and private buildings, stratification of burials, and changes in agriculture suggesting controlled or administered production.

(6) Relevance to work in Mediterranean archaeology.

The complex cultural milieu of Crete in the first millennium B.C. evokes questions of social structure, ethnic diversity, cultural interaction, and political organization. The evidence of changes in settlement patterns in the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition, the emergence of “refuge settlements,” and the social processes involved in the establishment of cities have led to discussions of culture change in the broader Mediterranean sphere. Homer’s “Crete of the one hundred cities” (Iliad 2.649) is as much a remembrance of Bronze Age palatial sites as it is a likely reference to Iron Age urbanization spurred by dynamic inter-Mediterranean cultural contacts in the first half of the first millennium B.C. (cf. S. Morris 1992, 175-176). The archaeological evidence for the confluence and conflict of indigenous and foreign cultures—Minoan, Mycenaean and Dorian Greek, and Phoenician (or in the Homeric tradition, Achaian, Eteocretan, Kydonian, Pelasgian, and Dorian)—sets the stage for the analysis of the social and economic processes involved in the development of a regional cultural identity. At Azoria, imported or imitated objects, exogenous raw materials, and changes in the use context of such imports, might shed light on culture change and cultural interaction in the course of the first millennium B.C.

The question of the historical significance of Crete as a mediator or transshipment point, if not conveyor, of Egyptian, Syrian, Cypriot, and broadly “orientalizing” ideas imbedded in Greek forms of writing, laws, architecture, sculpture and minor arts remains pertinent (esp. S. Morris 1992; Hoffman 1997; Whitley 1997). The island was a physical stepping stone between the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and is at the center of discussion of inter-Mediterranean exchange, and cultural and economic cross-currents (cf. Negbi 1992; Burkert 1992; S. Morris 1992; Sherratt and Sherratt 1993; Hoffman 1997; Carter 1998; Stambolides and Karetsou 1998; Watrous 1998). The neglect of the Archaic period on Crete, and indeed the Iron Age foundation of cities, is perhaps the cause of chronological gaps in the archaeological record, affecting our understanding of the processes of cultural transmission in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the question of urbanization in the early part of the Early Iron Age or Dark Age (ca. 1000-900 B.C.) is largely ignored because of the lack of excavated sites which indicate the size and features of urban nuclei. The systematic exploration of Azoria allows us to consider the nature of extra-island exchange and cross-cultural influences at a central geographical crossroads and in two pivotal chronological transitions in the history of cultures of the Mediterranean, once ca. 1200-1000 B.C., and again ca. 700-600 B.C.

(7) Relevance to work in the humanities

Our understanding of the origins and ultimately the form of Mediterranean civilizations, and indeed any period and place of significant human achievement, is dependent on our ability to visualize the past as not merely the sum total of the literature, art, and the physical and intellectual monuments produced by a given culture at a given time, but as diachronically changing scales of human interaction across diverse and overlapping cultural spheres of influence. Crete is an extraordinarily complex landscape sitting at central point along major axes of interaction and exchange in the Mediterranean. Our project conceives of excavation not only as a means of discovering the form and character of an Archaic Greek town, but also as a test case for exploring the nature of cultural complexity, the processes of urbanization, and the relationship between social and economic systems and cultural identity.

The disciplinary and frequently methodological division between “anthropological archaeology” and “classical archaeology” is seemingly an American institutional divide that is less firmly rooted in the aims, methods, and interests of researchers than in geographic or cultural emphasis and university structure (cf. Kluckhohn 1961; Humphreys 1978; Renfrew 1980; Gernet 1981; Morris 1994; 2000). In the study of the Early Iron Age in the Greek Aegean, the division has all but dissolved (e.g., Morgan and Whitelaw 1991; Morris 1987; 1991; 1996; 1998; 2000; Shanks 1999; Snodgrass 1991; 1993; Small 1995; Whitley 1991). In the field of Classics, the problem orientation of the present project addresses directly the questions of polis formation, Aegean state formation, and the social organization of the early Greek city. In the field of anthropology, it engages a current discourse in the development of complex societies, the nature of wealth-finance and staple finance systems in early emergent states, and the issues of environment and scale in understanding the relationship between rural and urban structures. The geographic and chronological scope of the Azoria Project presents an opportunity to address very basic questions of culture change, utilizing data that allow for both regional and diachronic perspectives on the cultural complexity in the first millennium B.C. Mediterranean. The stratigraphic examination of household and community economy, and human-landscape interaction at an Early Iron Age site on Crete, augments significantly our knowledge not only of the resource base of early Aegean communities on the verge of becoming cities, but also of the process of urbanization in the Mediterranean fringe. This process is potentially definable and comparable across the diverse environmental and cultural contexts in the Mediterranean basin. Most important is that the project brings together classicists, anthropologists, and archaeologists with widely differing experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives to form a single dialogue on the question of complex societies.

B. History and Duration of the Project

(1) Early History of Investigation, 1900-1991

While the site of Azoria has been known since Boyd’s excavation in 1900 (Boyd 1901), the first intensive fieldwork on the site was conducted by Haggis in 1990 as part of an archaeological survey of the region of Kavousi (1992; 1993; 1996a; forthcoming a; forthcoming b). Haggis’ work established the size, chronology, and the environmental context of the site. The final publication of this survey, The Archaeological Survey of the Kavousi Region, has been completed and was submitted for publication to the publications committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, in January of 2001. The topographical work and surface sampling from this survey provided the basis for the present plan of work at Azoria.

(2) Groundwork, 1998-2000 (cf. Appendix C)

In 1998, Haggis and field director Mook began discussing the feasibility and logistics of excavating at Azoria, and in 1999, had formed a tentative sampling strategy for the site, focusing on problems of ceramic chronology, and on the systematic and stratified recovery of animal and plant remains. At this stage we were considering methods of excavating, conserving, and presenting a multi-period site with the aim of creating an archaeological resource in the region that would be both intellectually as well as physically accessible to local, lay, and specialist visitors. In July 1999, Haggis and Mook submitted a project prospectus to the Archaeological Service of eastern Crete, obtaining an enthusiastic response and full support for the Azoria Project (cf. letter from N. Papadakis, acting director of the KD’ Ephoreia [Archaeological Service District] for eastern Crete) (Appendix C). We also obtained letters of support from the Council of the village of Kavousi on behalf of the Demos (city district) of Ierapetra; the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete; and the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Appendix C). In September of 1999, we applied to the Excavation and Survey Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and, in May of 2000 received the formal permission of the American School to apply for a full excavation permit from the Ministry of Culture of Greece in 2001, for a first season in 2002 (Appendix C).

(3) Topographical Survey and Land Purchase, 2001-2002

Work in May-August 2001 will consist of surveying the site in order to delineate and document property boundaries, and to make arrangements with landowners for the purchase of the land in April of 2002, on receipt of a positive response to our permit request from the Ministry of Culture. Funding was obtained from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) for May-August 2001, to cover the fees of a civil engineer (surveyor/topographer) to produce a topographical plan of six hectares of land on the hilltop of Azoria, and a pledge for purchase of the land in 2002. The resultant digitized plan will constitute both the legally-required diagram of individual parcels for tax declaration and purchase, as well as a template, at a scale of 1:500, for planning the sampling procedure and commencing excavation in 2002.

D. Methods (cf. Appendix D)

(1) Introduction

The following is meant to be an outline of methods of sampling and data recovery. While it would be inappropriate to anticipate, before excavation, the nature of the deposits themselves, we propose that the context of the site suggests a chronological and spatial relationship to broader-scale systems of sociopolitical and economic interaction: a change from dispersed settlement clusters of the Early Iron Age to a nucleated town center with a coastal orientation and links to the Mediterranean. This hypothesis will be tested in an initial stage, by recovering evidence for changing land use and subsistence patterns; technology and available raw materials; imported and imitated foreign objects; styles and forms of architecture; and changing patterns of private and public consumption and display. The total area of exposed and visible architecture exceeds 8.0 ha. We estimate conservatively a total area of about 9.0 –10.0 ha. total for the site. The target area is the top of the hill, about 6.0 ha. covering both north and south acropoleis (Figs. 2-6). We intend to acquire for excavation as much as possible of the land on the hilltop and immediate slopes, concentrating samples within areas comprising 1.5-2.0 ha. total. Five excavation seasons are planned—three within the present grant period—each one consisting of seven weeks of fieldwork and three weeks of study.

(2) Excavation

There are three primary advantages of the study of urbanization in the context of a small Archaic Cretan town. 1) The scale of the investigation is small enough to permit us to recover a number of specific architectural components of the site’s economic, social, religious, and political organization. 2) The regional context is sufficiently established so as to make possible a meaningful assessment of the use of the surrounding territory, and socioeconomic relationships of the site with the hinterland. 3) The lack of evidence of extensive subsequent occupation on the site (in Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods) indicates a largely pristine—or abandonment phase—condition. This rare state of preservation invites questions not only of the site’s foundation and development, but also of the historical causes of its ultimate abandonment in the milieu of the sixth and fifth century Mediterranean.

During the first season, we will conduct surface cleaning, topographical drawing, and test trenching, and full-scale excavation, utilizing the topographical plan generated in 2001. The target areas and visible remains are, however, sufficiently defined so as to preclude the initial use of radar, magnetometer, or resistivity survey. While we recognize the value of remote sensing as part of a sampling strategy, the size of the area we wish to examine, the conditions of the terrain and soil, the density of vegetation, and the high visibility of surface remains weigh against the cost-effectiveness or usefulness of available techniques.

One purpose of excavation is to expose sufficiently wide and contiguous areas of the site so as to determine as much as possible of the internal layout and organization of architectural components of the town. The purpose of the extensive strategy at Azoria is to examine functional differentiation of architecture and habitation space across the site, considering the relationship between public and private space, and habitation, civic, and religious spheres of activity. We will employ a coarse 20 x 20 m. diagnostic grid for exposing individual architectural spaces (e.g., rooms, external space, partially covered/enclosed)—definable areas that can stand as basic sample units. Sections and sub-sampling will be conducted as loci within the architectural spaces, while the division of the grid into smaller study units (5 x 5 m. trenches) will be employed at the outset, and in areas where no reasonably clear architecture is evident on the surface or after initial surface cleaning. The intensive strategy is designed to recover a complete sequence of phases of the site’s use by systematic soundings in each of the sampled areas.

(3) Scientific Applications in general and relevance to the problem orientation of the project

We think that Azoria was, by 600 B.C., the center of a small-scale polity, whose population was originally dispersed in a cluster of four separate village sites centered on upland pasturage, gardens, and water supplies (Haggis 1993). Since the project explores the process of population aggregation to the Azoria center, we are very interested in how the inhabitants of Azoria exploited their local environment throughout a period of dynamic cultural and economic change in the wider Mediterranean. Lacking completely from the Early Iron Age Aegean record is a stratigraphic sequence from an urban site that can provide functionally and chronologically diverse samples of occupation deposits, rich enough to trace changes in land use and economy through the duration of the period. The participation palaeoethnobotanists, zooarchaeologists, biological anthropologists, and plant and soil scientists, presents an excellent opportunity to integrate the results of a wide range of analyses into the study of human-environment interaction; to examine the occupants of Azoria as producers, consumers, and as agents of environmental change in the landscape.

The goal of this part of the project is to expose a stratified series of occupational levels—suggesting de facto refuse: living surfaces, special function and industrial areas, and waste deposits—from various periods of the site’s use, with the purpose of determining changing patterns of food production and consumption, and exploitation of local agricultural and pastoral resources during periods of population growth and settlement expansion. The faunal study expands the chronological and contextual framework established by earlier excavations in the region (Klippel and Snyder 1991; 1999), and focuses on specific problems of the development of an urban center. Building on earlier soil surveys and palaeoethnobotanical studies in the region (Morris 1994; Flint-Hamilton 2000), the environmental survey aims at reconstructing the use potential and chronology of upland terraces, mountain plateaus, and fields adjacent to the site.

(4) Zooarchaeological and palaeobotanical analyses and environmental studies

There are three basic questions that we are asking in 2002, which we will develop in subsequent seasons as we expand the areas under excavation: 1) Are there changes in the relative quantity, ages, and consumption patterns of cattle, sheep, goat, pig, and wild fauna; and what can these tell us about how the community was using their environment from period to period? Shifts in meat production versus secondary products—such as dairy and wool—could indicate important changes in economy and social organization involving the manipulation of labor and the allocation of land for certain agricultural activities. In neighboring Early Iron Age villages for example, herd management practices appear to have been oriented toward local production and consumption throughout the life of the villages (Klippel and Snyder 1991; 1999; Snyder and Klippel 1999). At Azoria it will be possible to investigate the transformation of this local production economy into an exchange system of a town. A systematic program of dry-screen sieving and sediment flotation permits recovery of small mammal and bird remains, allowing us also to determine the balance of domestic and native animal resources in this area of mountain/meadow juncture. 2) Are there changes in the kinds of domesticated and wild plants processed and consumed on site, and how do they indicate changes in the scale and condition of different microenvironments exploited and the social context of production? The presence of wheat, and long-term plants such as olive and grape vine, in this environment, might suggest more organized, administered, and labor-intensive production, or even centralized control of resources. Barley and pulses, on the other hand, could indicate local household production more characteristic of village-farming. 3) What is the viability of soils and agricultural environments in the area of the site, and what is the potential extent of arable land and human landscape modification? The presence of certain environmentally-sensitive weed seeds on-site could indicate a corresponding type of ancient habitat. Working with the zoologist and botanists, the soil and environmental scientists will investigate the area’s potential carrying capacity, the physical contexts for stock rearing and plant cultivation, while reconstructing the depositional patterns affecting the interpretation of the use history and agricultural potential of upland terraces surrounding the site itself, and the history of deposition in the lowland plain.

E. Work Plan

(1) Summary

We plan three 10-week field seasons within the present funding period, each one consisting of seven weeks of excavation and three weeks of study. Fieldwork will be conducted annually from May until August (see timetable below). The period from September until April will be spent conducting research and preparing preliminary reports and publications. Trench supervisors and specialists will submit final reports before leaving the field each August, while more detailed reports and publication contributions will be written and submitted to the project director by November 1. Each year, between each excavation season, the project will be able to use the study and publication team of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete. This team consists of a conservator, artist, and photographer who will continue processing material and prepare final drawings and photographs for publication. The following is the schedule of work for the three-year funding period:

F. Final Product and Dissemination

(1) Project Archive

Original records, electronic records, and photocopies of records will be housed permanently in the library of the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete, and in the Archive of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. An on-line copy of all excavation records will be made permanently available as a separate directory in the central image data-base of the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This will take the form of a complete stratigraphic guide to the site, a catalogue of all objects recovered (pottery, small finds, and ecofacts), and all photographic illustrations and drawings of the project. All material will be published electronically on the World Wide Web, at four separate resolutions (1800, 1200, 600, and 150 dpi) suitable for study or reproduction, in the central image data base of the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Apollo: An Infrastructure for Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean and Medieval Worlds [http://www.]).

(2) Publication

The form of publication will be determined by several variables: 1) the process and timetable of actual excavation; 2) the schedule and venue of study; 3) the availability of excavation and study staff and graduate students; 4) the nature of the finds themselves; 5) the direction of an on-going dialogue between various staff members and specialists, as well as a discourse between the staff and the broader archaeological community. Furthermore, we consider publication an on-going discourse and interpretive process, requiring multiple authors and diverse venues of presentation and dissemination to multiple audiences. Our principal objective is to convey and interpret the data as completely, accurately, clearly, and quickly as possible. While documentation of the process and context of data recovery is fundamental in archaeology—so that others can use our results as soon as possible after excavation—the broader purpose of publication in our view, is to engage historians, art historians, anthropologists, and cultural ecologists in an interpretive discourse on early Greek civilization and the question of culture change and cultural complexity in the Mediterranean sphere.

(3) Preliminary Publication

Haggis assumes all responsibilities for the publication of the project. Preliminary communications are to be made at the annual meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), and the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Either Haggis or Mook will participate in the AIA public lecture circuit. Written interim reports will be submitted annually for publication to Hesperia, Archaeological Reports, and Archaeologikon Deltion. As soon as the permit is obtained from the Greek Ministry of Culture, we will construct a web-site for posting early preliminary reports. Depending on the interests of magazine editors, we will submit articles to Archaeology magazine, Archaeologia (Athens), and National Geographic Magazine.

(4) Final Publication

There will be five main venues of final publication: 1) a multiple-volume printed format encompassing a description of the history and process of excavation, stratigraphy, environmental studies, and physical anthropology, as well as usual categories of material (architecture, pottery, ceramic objects, stone tools and implements, metals, bone and ivory, and other small finds). These volumes might also take the form of monographs or long articles in journals. A large part of the data will be presented in the electronic format mentioned above in the section on “Project Archive,” utilizing the infrastructure of the Apollo database. 2) While we will expect individual specialists to contribute to these volumes, we also encourage, concurrently, and at various appropriate stages of study, any number of synthetic and interpretive works, articles, or problem-oriented studies. 3) A single-volume synthesis of the excavation, which will be interpretive in nature, and written for both students and lay audience. 4) A detailed guidebook to the site in Greek and English, internationally accessible and locally available to allow lay and specialist visitors convenient access to information on all aspects of the site. 5) Finally the excavation results will form a chapter in an interpretive and comparative study of urbanization in the ancient Mediterranean, Ancient Cities: Urbanization, Societal Complexity and Political Organization in the Mediterranean Area.