Topic ID #38015 - posted 2/1/2017 7:19 AM

Excavations at early bronze age Keros in the Cyclades


The University of Cambridge and Cyprus Institute Cycladic Field School

·         4th September – 14th October 2017

·         Location: Keros, Greece


Affiliation: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge; British School at Athens and the Cyprus Institute

Project Directors: Professor Colin Renfrew & Dr Michael Boyd

Project Description:  Excavation of the largest settlement and earliest sanctuary of the early bronze age in the Cyclades, Greece

Period(s) of Occupation: Cycladic early bronze age (2750-2300 BC)

Cost: 4,000 Euros

Further information:  See below and check out our webpage

You can also contact Claire Halley at

Background:  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, excavations revealed extensive monumental walling, an entrance stairway into the site, and a metallurgical workshop. In 2017, our work will continue using the latest excavation techniques including dGPS, digital recording on iPads using iDig, and digital photogrammetry. We aim to understand how all the different parts of the island were utilised in the early bronze age and develop our understanding of the overall structure, function and date of the site.

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.

Length of stay: Preference will be given to applicants who can stay for the entire 6 week period though we will consider applicants for a shorter stay.

Minimum age:

Number of field school places available: 15

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

Project language: English

Project size: 50+ participants including excavators and specialists

Room and Board Arrangements: 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.

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).

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.

Academic Credit: There is the option to take the Field School for credit, at additional cost. Credit (ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) will be offered by the Cyprus Institute on the basis of attendance and a relevant assignment in the form of an 'excavation diary', a written record maintained daily of participants’ work and skills acquisition, which will be submitted a few days before the completion of the field school and be will reviewed and graded. Two options will be offered: 5 ECTS for participants attending three weeks at a cost of 250 Euro and 10 ECTS for participants attending 6 weeks at a cost of 500 Euro.

Further information: please see our webpage or contact Claire Halley at


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