Topic ID #36529 - posted 12/28/2015 12:48 PM

Excavations on Keros in the Cyclades, Greece, 29 August - 8 October 2016

Claire Halley

Until recently, the island of Keros was the centre of a bronze age mystery. Looting in the 1950s and excavations in the 1960s revealed a strange site where broken Early Cycladic marble figurines and other prestige items had been found. Only in very recent years have we begun to understand the nature of this completely unique site.  People travelled to Keros in the mid-third millennium BC to bring offerings of broken choice materials for ritual deposition in what is now understood to be the world’s earliest maritime sanctuary. The site consists of two areas where these deposits were made, and a large and important settlement, perhaps the largest of the Cyclades at that time.


In 2006-2008, excavations defined the nature of the sanctuary and began excavation of the settlement, where large and imposing buildings were found at the summit. In 2012-2013 the Keros Island Survey was carried out in order to understand the occupation of the rest of the island of Keros. In 2015 a new, four-year programme of work was initiated with survey on the nearby island of Naxos, in order to understand the nature of the wider maritime networks within which Keros was situated.


In 2016 and 2017 we will continue our investigation on the island of Keros. Using the latest excavation techniques and processes we aim to understand how all the different parts of the island were utilised in the early bronze age. We shall uncover more of the early settlement to develop our understanding of the overall structure, function and date of the site. Excavations elsewhere on Keros will help us understand relationships between outlying settlement and the central sanctuary.


Participants will work with experienced excavators and will receive training in the entire excavation procedure including stratigraphic excavation techniques, site recording and survey techniques. The work at the site will be combined with a number of activities in the afternoons. Participants will have the chance to work with the many specialists involved in the project to learn about post excavation processing techniques and the different scientific approaches used in a modern excavation.


In addition to on-site training, the field school will organise a series of seminars where visiting experts will talk about their work, giving students unique insights into current research and archaeological practice. The field school will be directed by Dr Claire Halley, who will lead the afternoon seminar series. Students will gain unique insight into the Aegean bronze age, and the special place of Keros in the Aegean early bronze age.


Experience: The field school is suitable for both beginner and advanced students as well as those interested in early Bronze Age and Aegean archaeology.


Field school dates: 29 August to 8 October 2016


Minimum length of stay: Six weeks


Minimum age: 18


Cost $4200


Number of field school places available: Maximum 12


Application deadlines: Applicants will be accepted until all the places are filled.


Experience required: No


Project language: English


Equipment: Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the site. You should purchase and bring with you a 4” archaeology trowel (WHS, Spear & Jackson, or Marshalltown – you can find these easily online).   


Project Venue:  While we work on the island of Keros, our base of operations is on the island of Ano Kouphonisi in the ‘Small Cyclades’ just north of Keros. All participants will be staying at the Sorokos hotel on Kouphonisi. This is a comfortable, family-run establishment with en suite bathrooms, most rooms also having air conditioning. Rooms will be either doubles or triples. All meals on work days are provided by the project.  The evening meal is taken at one of the local tavernas. Participants are transported by boat to the island of Keros each day.


Insurance: The field school fee does not cover insurance. It is mandatory to arrange your own health insurance before your trip to Greece. All EU citizens can use Greek medical services, just like Greek citizens, as long as they can provide evidence of their home-country health insurance with a card/certificate, etc.   

Further information: contact Claire Halley at


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