Friday, July 13, 2012

Digging Crete, Again

Kha Gorge and Khalasmenos
Besides being the Director of the Institute I am an active researcher on various topics relating to the past. The summer gives me an opportunity to pursue these projects outside of Athens. At the same time it allows me to see colleagues and to meet archaeologists, especially students working on related topics.

Conservation of LM IIIC Pottery Kiln
At the recent colloquium in memory of Prof. Winter I gave a paper on the architecture of a mid-12th-century BC settlement in eastern Crete. The site on the Isthmus near Ierapetras is called Khalasmenos. Located on a rocky projection near the mouth of the Kha Gorge, it is under excavation by my wife, Dr. Metaxia Tsipopoulou (Director Emerita, Ministry of Culture) since 1992. For the past two weeks at Khalasmenos we've been conducting a cleaning, conservation and study season at the site. The primary object of this summer's work at the site is the in situ conservation and the lifting of part of the floor of a circular kiln used for firing ceramic vessels which was found in a previous field season. The kiln is located in the center of the settlement. The conservators at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete led by Dr. Stefania Chlouveraki in nearby Pachia Ammos undertook this slow, meticulous and often arduous work. After the removal of the floor, the task of cleaning the sub-floor flues, the fire box and the entrance to the stoke hole was undertaken. I worked hard to find the stoke hole. After twenty years of excavation a site can still produce surprises.

Emily Stevens and Maggie Beeker drawing walls
One of my goals this year has been to clarify the sequence of construction of the structures in the four quarters of the settlement and to investigate details of its layout. To achieve these ends we've cleaned around a number of the walls in the southeast part of Sector C. My initial impressions have had to be modified in a number of areas and new information has come to light in others. Emily Stevens and Maggie Beeker, graduate students at Bryn Mawr College, who are digging at nearby Gournia this summer under the direction of Vance Watrous (SUNY Buffalo) helped me for two days by starting the drawing of the exposed walls despite the wind and the heat. This constant search for additional information forces us to revise and to refine our interpretations of the archaeological record. I hope that John MacEnroe, now doing research at nearby Gournia, who gave a paper at our colloquium and has written a book on Minoan architecture, will have the time to visit the site with me to critique my interpretations in situ before I have to submit my paper for the colloquium publication.

With this out of the way I can turn my attention to a book review and the updating of my guide to Athens in the form of a smartphone app. Maybe some vacation time is deserved as well!

David Rupp

No comments:

Post a Comment