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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Digging the Minoans


The island of Crete is perhaps best known, archaeologically speaking, for its ancient Bronze Age Minoan sites such as Knossos, where the remains of the capital city of the fabled King Minos still stand in ruins. The Minoans are thought to be the Aegean forerunners of the Greek civilization, and work continues on the island to uncover what remains of the great civilization they built. Enter Gournia, a settlement that has seen archaeological excavation and study in the past, but re-emerges with renewed excavations that began in the summer of 2010. For the next two years, excavations will continue under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the University at Buffalo, New York. Gournia proves to be a prime example of how the ancient Minoans typically lived their lives and further investigation promises to shed more light on the life-ways of this ancient people -- mariners, agriculturalists and tradesmen who conducted commerce with the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians and, for centuries, ruled as the number one Mediterranean power. Excavations begin June 18, 2011 and continue through July 31. They are currently seeking students and volunteers for a six week commitment, with the option of college credit for field school participation. Participants will be lodged in the nearby coastal town of Pacheia Ammos and will have access to tavernas and cafes and a bus line that serves all parts of Crete. More details and the application process can be obtained by writing to watrous@buffalo.edu.

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