Azoria Project 2017 General Information Sheet

The excavation site of Azoria is located in the mountains of northeastern Crete, southeast of the modern village of Kavousi.  Project participants will be housed primarily in Kavousi village. The dig house (laboratory and administrative base) for the project is the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP-SCEC), and otherwise known as “INSTAP,” “the center,” “the study center,” "the kentro," or “SCEC.” It is located in the village of Pacheia Ammos near Kavousi and the excavation site of Azoria. This is the storage and research facility used by the Project for processing and studying the finds from the excavation. Project staff members reside in rental rooms in the villages of Kavousi and Pacheia Ammos, and are transported by vans daily to the nearby excavation site or Study Center for work.

For the location of the excavation site of Azoria, the villages of Kavousi and Pacheia Ammos, and the INSTAP-SCEC, please follow the link on Google Maps, to Azoria, Kavousi. The blue markers indicate the principal locations of work and residence.

 For recent reports and publications, the plan of work, and history of the excavations please see the project website at For a general overview and background, see the Wikipedia article; and the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History article. For a more detailed overview, see the project's research plan, a sample of publications in the Azoria Project Archive of the Carolina Digital Repository, and the annual reports (2002-2016) published on the Project website.

General comments

 1)  Dates.  The project dates this year for field school students and volunteers, that is, all trench assistants: Saturday May 27 (arrival in Kavousi, preferably before 9:00 PM, though all later arrivals will be met whatever the time) through Monday, July 17 (departure from Kavousi by noon of July 17, please).

2)  Commitment.  Please contact Prof. Donald Haggis ( by email as soon as possible, indicating your commitment or intentions to participate in this project. It will be necessary for us to notify the Greek Ministry of Culture, the American School of Classical Studies Athens, and the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete of our complete staff list. Furthermore we will need to make room reservations, staffing assignments, and arrangements for daily transport of personnel to the site and SCEC, so we need to know as soon as possible one's intention to participate in the Project.

Therefore, we need a verbal commitment from each student member of the project by March 30 at the absolute latest; if you have uncertainties because of financial or personal situations, we would still like to know your intentions, and to be given some indication of the likelihood of your participation.  By the end of March, we will need to know for certain whether or not you can participate. Be aware that the various programs and field schools contributing to this project may have different (earlier) deadlines for commitment and payment of fees.

3)  May 27 Arrival Date.  We need everyone to arrive on Saturday May 27 and leave on Monday July 17 unless you have made other arrangements with the director. We are normally a very large staff--normally some 80-90 people altogether-- and a regular schedule facilitates mobilization of staff and organization of housing. Keep in mind that if you are traveling from North America, you will need to leave the States on May 26 in order to arrive in Greece on May 27.  Please keep in mind that we cannot accept arrivals earlier than May 27.

4)  Travel.  Once you make your travel plans and purchase your air tickets to Herakleion (Heraklion; Irakleion), please let Donald Haggis know the date (May 27 for most of you) and approximate arrival time and flight number of your arrival in Herakleion. Do not send your entire itinerary—just when you plan on getting into Crete, and what mode of transportation you plan to use to get to Kavousi. We need this information to estimate and anticipate your arrival in Kavousi. If you are arriving by some other means (boat from Piraeus; traveling on Crete before the 27th, etc.), please let us know when you plan to arrive in Kavousi village. For information on travel to Crete and the village of Kavousi, see the appropriate sections below. 

Also when you arrive in Kavousi, if we know your approximate arrival time in the village, you will be met at the meeting place (see below). One of us will be there most of the day to meet arrivals. If you are not met, then please call the assistant director Melissa Eaby (693-470-5899) and she can take you to your room and give you orientation instructions; if that contact fails, you can contact either director Donald Haggis (697-618-9872) or field director Peggy Mook (697-560-8552), and we can help to coordinate your arrival. The owners of the cafe/taverna/rental rooms (the meeting place), speak English, and can help you and even contact one of us for you.

5) Contact phone numbers and address in Crete.  Donald Haggis (697-618-9872), Peggy Mook (697-560-8552), Melissa Eaby (693-470-5899).  These numbers are good calling anywhere from within Greece as they are; if you call from outside of the country, however, please dial the appropriate international code (011 from the US), and then "30" plus the number as listed. For emergencies or other urgent situations contact the project director, Donald Haggis ([30]-697-618-9872), in the first instance. He will have his cell phone active and with him all the time, though realize that Greece is seven hours ahead of the US EST.

Main phone contacts:

Donald Haggis, Project Director: -(30)-697-618-9872
Peggy Mook, Field Director, Director of ISU field school: -(30)-697-560-8552
Melissa Eaby: Assistant Director: -(30)-693-470-5899
INSTAP-SCEC: -(30)-28420-93027(main office number); -(30)-28420-93017 (fax)

In the event of emergency or urgent business, requiring timely contact of a student, family members may use any of the phone numbers above, but most effectively by calling the Project Director, Donald Haggis: 011 (from the US)-(30)-697-618-9872. He will have this phone with him and on 24/7 and will take calls any time day or night. For routine communication with family and friends, please use one's own phone or some internet medium (skype; facebook; email; etc.; see below).

We do not use hotel or pension mailing addresses. If you must receive snail mail, please use your name, and our project's institutional address:

The Azoria Project Excavations
Institute for Aegean Prehistory
Study Center for East Crete
PO Box 364
Pacheia Ammos, Ierapetra
72200 Crete, Greece

We discourage students from receiving letters or packages by mail. This can take as much as two weeks or longer to get mail from the US. So unless it is really important business that cannot be handled by email (legal or medical documents or prescriptions, etc.) avoid using snail mail. If you do have things sent to the Center by mail, use the postal service, not a courier-- couriers (FED EX, UPS, etc.) can take longer to get to the Center, and normally require fees, signatures, and a pick up in Ierapetra. Regular airmail or express mail is best.

If packages or letters arrive at the Center after students depart, July 17, they will not be forwarded or returned.

6)  Health Insurance and health or dietary issues.  Everyone on the project is required to have proof of health (and hospitalization) insurance.  Travel insurance is recommended and required of UNC students (ask Professor Haggis for details). All UNC faculty and students are required to have travel insurance, in accordance with Policy 1409. If you are coming from UNC-CH, please contact Donald Haggis about this--he can help you navigate the insurance page. It is simple. If you can get this insurance through your university, then please do. It is very effective in covering routine, emergent, and serious conditions. Students in the IFR field school will have full insurance.

Take the time now to investigate getting travel insurance with the study-abroad office or other student services or travel agencies. A summer's health insurance is not expensive and without this, you will not be allowed access to the INSTAP Study Center or on-site to work, and cannot participate in the project.  Eventually you will have to fill out a form at the INSTAP SCEC, which indicates proof of health insurance (provider address and insurance number); more on this later.  Also, if anyone has any specific health or dietary problems, which are either potentially problematic or health- or life-threatening, please discuss these with the project or field school director as soon as possible. The local Greek hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies are very good for access to medicines and handling usual emergencies, but we would like to be warned in advance of allergies or other chronic conditions that may be affected by the working or dietary environment. 

7) Personal behavior and misconduct. Please remember that student staff members are de facto representatives of the Azoria Project; a number contributing universities, including their own; and the research institutions of the INSTAP-SCEC, the American School of classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) at all times. Although the Project and the Project director are ultimately liable for student behavior, our actions also have a direct impact on the work as well as professional and social integration of a number of other projects and individual scholars who use the SCEC facility. Furthermore and most important is that our presence in these villages affects a number of communities, including the ASCSA, INSTAP, the local Ephorate of the Greek Archaeological Service, and the villagers who reside in the regions of Kavousi, Pacheia Ammos, Ierapetra and further afield. How students conduct themselves is a critical factor in successful social integration, political interaction, and the academic success of our research projects.

Disruptive social behavior and inappropriate activities, actions or interactions of any kind, private or public (e.g., refusal to follow SCEC and Project rules of conduct and excavation protocols; loud music; drunkenness; violent, disruptive, illegal, or socially/culturally unacceptable behavior, etc.), will be cause for immediate removal from the Project, expulsion from the villages, and immediate return to the student's home country. The Project strives to create a productive research community and academic environment; and a respectful relationship with the local villages and municipalities by emphasizing informed and sensitive integration and interaction.

Azoria Project 2017

General Information for all Student Participants


All participants are expected to arrive in Kavousi, Crete, on Saturday May 27, in time for our general orientation meetings at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday May 28.  This meeting is required of all participants. This will be held at the Study Center for East Crete in Pacheia Ammos (SCEC); transportation from and back to Kavousi will be provided. On arrival in Kavousi on May 27, students will be guided to their rooms, given instructions and guidance on where to get food and drink in the village, and be given instructions on where and when to meet for transportation to the next day’s orientation activities.

Field School Students and Volunteers:
            Saturday May 27 (arrival) - Monday July 17 (departure).
            Sunday May 28 orientation at SCEC.

            Monday May 29 – July 7, six weeks of full-scale excavation.

July 10 – July 14, close down on site and processing at the SCEC.
            Saturday July 15 Excavation final party (evening at the ancient olive tree).
            Monday July 17 All students depart Kavousi.

Saturday July 22 All trench masters and most senior staff depart Kavousi (with exceptions).



A passport is necessary to travel to Greece.   American citizens do not need a visa to enter Greece, but stays longer than 90 days do require a residence permit. If you currently have a valid passport, but one that will expire within 90 days (three months of your departure), you need to get a new one--according to Schengen rules: "entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure. So regardless of the length of your trip, you have to have at least three months on your passport to be accepted into Europe.

     If you do not currently hold a valid passport, please begin the process of applying for one now. Your application process will involve two main steps.  First, you will need proof of U.S. citizenship, which normally consists of a certified birth certificate from the state or county in which you were born.  A copy of or even the actual birth certificate given to your parents at your birth will NOT suffice.  Most branches of the U.S. Post Office can provide you with telephone numbers for every state, which you can call for information about obtaining the certified birth certificate.  Next, you will need 2 passport photos.  Take your certified birth certificate, your driver’s license, passport photos, and a check or money order for whatever is the cost (payable to PASSPORT SERVICES-- cash and credit cards are not acceptable) to a main branch of the U.S. Post Office or a county courthouse.   If you have any questions, please call the post office.  Passport applications take three to six weeks to process.

     Application forms are available at any main branch of the U.S. Post Office or a county courthouse.  You will need 2 passport photos.  After you have filled out the application form, you send your old passport, the photos, and a personal check or money order to the National Passport Center yourself (address on application). If you have any questions, please call the post office.  Passport applications take three to six weeks to process.



Cash/ATM cards/credit cards:

     The local currency in Greece and most of Europe is now the Euro (€). The average current exchange rate: $1.00 = €0.886 (€1.00 = $1.128), but this can change significantly in just a few days. While it is currently holding at $1.27 or $1.28 (August 2016), the rate can change. We do not recommend that your travel with very much US cash (not more than $200-300). You can exchange U.S. cash or find an ATM immediately at the airport, so you have some local currency in hand ($300 would be adequate).  Once you pass through customs at the Athens airport, go to your left and there are several banks (the Commercial Bank of Greece has an ATM).  You will receive the same exchange rate as you will at a main branch. In general, cash can be exchanged at most banks and travel agencies. When you exchange cash you will be charged a commission (places that advertise a particularly good exchange rate frequently charge a higher commission).  It is costly to change euros back into dollars; you will lose a lot of money in the exchange process. Probably it is best to have some US cash (for use at the US airports and in emergency), and rely on your ATM card. 

     ATM machines are scattered around, but are usually near a bank (most take Cirrus and Plus system cards, though not all). ATMs are the easiest way to get money, although some cards can be problematic, you can check with your bank to be sure yours will work in Greece (if there is an insufficient fund problem, the machine may “eat” your card). Most ATM cards have a daily withdrawal limit with Friday through Monday morning counted as 1 business day—check with your bank on their policies and limits; you may request that your bank raise this limit. You might want to have a second ATM card, in case one is de-magnetized or otherwise damaged or consumed by a machine. Be sure that your ATM card will not expire while you are out of the country.

     There are no ATM machines in the villages of Kavousi and Pacheia Ammos, but they are available in the nearby towns of Ierapetra and Ayios Nikolaos (accessible by bus or taxi; not walking distance). George Clark, our student manager, will be able to assist students in getting cash on a weekly basis.

     Credit cards can be used at most larger tourist shops (Visa is the most widely accepted), but the places where you will eat in Kavousi (and elsewhere) will not take them, even if they have signs indicating that they do. If you plan to use a credit card while out of the U.S., please be sure to call your card company and give them your travel plans before you leave the country.  If you do not, after the first charge they are likely to deny any additional charges on the card, for fear that it has been stolen.


If you plan to call home from Greece you can purchase phone cards in Greece from kiosks and small shops, to use in public card-phones (phone booths), which are scattered around in public places, but are generally becoming harder to find because of the proliferation and common use of cell phones.

     If you bring a computer and have internet access--most local cafes, restaurants, bars, and some of the rental rooms have wireless or internet access--you may use Skype for most calling or communicating with families. It is reported by our student staff and trench masters that to communicate regularly with people in the US one should probably use one of the various apps on one's smart phone (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype, etc.). That is, using the internet access when and where available. This is recommended, as not all of the cell phone services below will provide easy and inexpensive texting.

     Cell phones are of course commonly used in Greece, and phone booths are, like in the US, now hard to find. The following cell phone options exist, but remember that Greece and the majority of overseas providers use either the 900 and/or the 1800 Mhz network for cellular communication (3G 2100):

     (1) Individual US cell phone carriers have varying degrees of international service. This can be expensive, so you should find out what your carrier provides and at what cost, if you are interested in using your cell phone abroad.

     (2) Brightroam. Brightroam no longer has a service contract with any Greek wireless carrier, though they do have international and European SIM card/cell phone service that will work in Greece ( Brightroam will send you a phone, charger, SIM, and service plan that is finite but renewable if you want. There are a number of other European service providers--but we have not used them.

     (3) COSMOTE. The Greek phone company, OTE, and various commercial retailers, like the appliance store Germanos, sell inexpensive cell phones, and you can get COSMOTE pay-as-go service that allows you to buy additional minutes as you need them (CosmoKarta cards or paper receipts from newsstands, kiosks and many shops). Cosmote (CosmoKarta) has cheap phones for ca. €20-30 plus ca. €5 for a sim card and a few minutes of air time, to which you will need to add air time. You simply buy a card at any kiosk or store, call a service number and enter the number on the card. Also, if you have a US cell phone, with a SIM card, it may take the CosmoKarta sim card; some do, and some do not, depending on the type of phone--it must be compatible with European, that is unlocked and GSM 900 / 1800MHz. (that is, most 2D Dual SIMs are good to go). Greece and the majority of overseas providers use either the 900 and/or the 1800 Mhz network for cellular communication (3G 2100).

    (4) ELTA Greek Hellenic Post (the Greek national post office) sells a number of pay-as-you-go phone SIM cards and top up cards-- like COSMOTE, offering prepaid SIM cards and also the top-up cards (units of time) for Cosmote, Vodafone, Wind, and Planet.  But with this you will need a cell phone that takes a SIM and works in Greece (GSM 900 / 1800MHz). You can buy a phone there, or cheaply on the internet here in the US before you go.



(Things to consider for the trip and fieldwork)

  1. Travel light. A hands-free rucksack, duffle, or backpack/hybrid duffle is the most useful. You will not need half the things you think you do. Policies on checked luggage vary by airline and type of flight—your ticket should give you the information on luggage allowances. You should only have one piece of checked luggage and one carry-on piece. You must be able to transport your luggage unassisted approximately the distance of 2 city-blocks. Any suitcase will do, but if you are going to purchase something for this trip, a rucksack or suitcase/duffel on roller-blade type wheels are easier to deal with than a large traditional duffle or suitcase (and those with small metal wheels are unlikely to last the trip).  Keep in mind that since 9/11 the standards for the contents of your carry-on have changed dramatically. Check out the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website for current restrictions (  For instance, liquids and jells (and any liquid foods) are heavily restricted. No such carry-on items can be in a container larger than 3.4 oz, all such items must be placed in a 1-quart sized ziploc bag and you can only have one. All other liquids and jells will be confiscated and tossed (including water and even empty water bottles, depending on the location and mood of the agent).

  2. A photocopy of your passport main page that you keep in a place separate from the actual passport. It is also advisable to make a high-quality scan (j-peg, tiff, or PDF) of your passport main page, and email it to yourself and family, so that you have access to an electronic copy if need be.

  3. Necessary amounts of any required medications (in their original packing, so they can be identified) to last the length of your trip.  If you have severe allergic reactions to bee and other insect stings and bites, and carry an EpiPen, please bring several with you and inform all staff of your situation. (See more information below, under “Health and Safety”).

  4. Other “drug store” supplies, including personal hygiene items (such as: soap, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) can be purchased on Crete (not necessarily all the same brands); but you may not have the opportunity to shop immediately or frequently, so please bring at least enough for your needs during the first week of the project.

  5. A hat and bandana (the sun can be strong at mid-day; baseball caps do not cover your ears, so something with a brim is preferable). We also recommend bringing a couple of bandanas (or comparable scarves) to wear as sweat bands and mask over your mouth and nose. These are useful to use to cover your nose and mouth if you are clearing shrubs--the pollen and spores from some garigue plants in Crete can be very annoying, or even momentarily debilitating--or for dust while screening in the trench (sieving of dirt during excavation). If you are allergic to plant pollen, spores, and dust, or are asthmatic, you must notify the director before coming on the project, and you must make sure that you have an adequate number of proper face masks and medication with you. We cannot not accommodate special needs in the field for people with severe or chronic asthma.

  6. Sun screen; available in Greece, but usually much more expensive than in the US, and harder to get the higher number SPF.

  7. Heavy work gloves (leather fingers; fabric won’t last a week) may be useful for screening, clearing thorny bushes, etc.

  8. Insect repellent (mosquitoes can sometimes be fierce in the evening and at night).  Some version of all these sorts of things are available in Greece, but may be much more expensive.  Electric repellent devices that plug into the wall and have a paper-tablet insert replaced each night are widely available and inexpensive. If you have a problem with mosquitoes, you may find worth purchasing one with your roommate(s). Deep woods Off is the best brand of repellent.

  9. Basic clothes, beyond the obvious: cotton jeans or long pants (at least one pair), shorts if you prefer, for working in the field; cotton shirts/T-shirts; long-sleeved shirts for added protection if you are susceptible to sunburn—we will spend long hours in the sun while on-site. The terrain is very rough and rocky with lots of high grasses, garigue plants, thorny bushes, shrubs, and trees, so protecting your legs and feet is important. Long pants are recommended for everyone, and while it will be hot as we move into July, in the early days we will be clearing thorny brush and the weather may also be cool (possibly even wet), so you will need pants. A light jacket, sweatshirt, or sweater is also recommended for June (it can be cool in the evening, especially by the sea).

  10. A few nicer clothes for the evening and social occasions—most people tend to dress-up a bit in the evening and there will certainly be occasions when your excavation clothes will not be suitable attire. Attending village events (such as parties, celebrations, church services) and even regular dining in the evening, require more proper street clothing. Please do not bring ripped or torn clothing; wearing such clothing is considered inappropriate. On site it is expected that students dress appropriately and use common sense, for both safety and protection from the sun. Bathing suits and extremely revealing clothing worn on site during digging are considered inappropriate attire.

  11. Sunglasses. These are not mandatory, though if you are sunlight sensitive, or have never worked on an excavation in the Mediterranean during the summer, you will find them useful. The midday sun can be blindingly bright, and even a low density UV filter is a good idea.

  12. Comfortable and durable shoes or boots (the site is rocky and while running shoes will do, make sure you get something with a strong sole—aerobic shoes have soles that will not last the season). Sandals and light summer shoes are not permitted on site.

  13. A sturdy backpack or tote bag to carry your lunch, water, sunscreen, trowel, gloves, notebook, etc. on a daily basis.  This will probably get extremely dirty from use on site.

  14. A trowel, primarily for use when dry-screening.  A 4.0, 4.5 or 5-inch pointing trowel; Marshalltown or WHS are the recommended brands that most archaeologists normally use. Remember you want a small pointing trowel, not a garden trowel. You want the pointed (triangular) blade.

  15. Bathing suit and beach towel if you plan to swim; a bath towel, a washcloth if you like to use one; flip-flops for the beach and shower.

  16. A bath towel. These may not be provided in 2017; we recommend that you bring an old towel that can be discarded at the end of the project. You are not permitted to take pension provided towels, sheets, or blankets out of the rental rooms.You can purchase laundry detergent on Crete (in the village) for hand-washing your clothes, and you might want to set up a makeshift clothesline in your bathroom or (preferably) on the balcony of your room. You might expect to wash out some of your clothes in your bathroom sink or a basin. 

  17. Most Greek stores keep the following hours: 8:30/9:00-2:30/3:00 M-F, TThF nights they reopen from 6:00- 8:30/9:00 pm.  Larger grocery stores and tourist-oriented shops will stay open continuously all day and into the evening during the summer months. Bus service from the village is easy to use--and taxis for the return trip--but George Clark, the student manager, may provide periodic access to nearby towns.

  18. Avoid bringing any valuable items with you that you are not prepared to lose.  Passport, money, and cameras should be with you at all times. Do not bring expensive or valuable personal items, please. While most students do bring computers for doing email, facebook (vel sim), image processing, and reading; and while we have never had anything stolen from the rental rooms, we cannot guarantee their safety, or follow up on circumstances of expected theft. Rooms are largely not secure, especially if you leave room and balcony doors open in your absence. If you do bring electronic or electric devises, be aware that the electricity in Greece is 220 volts and that the plug ends are different from those in the US (even with a dual-voltage device, you will need a plug adapter).

  19. Travel guides may be useful, but are optional. For travel around Crete, we recommend buying a copy of the Blue Guides to Greece and Crete; Let's Go guides are often out of date, but have some basic travel information and can direct you to inexpensive hotels if you plan to travel; the Rough Guides are fairly good. None are up-to-date on schedules and hotels. Of course for plane, bus, and boat schedules, and hotel and pension locations and reservations, the internet is the best source of information.


     If you are coming from North America, you must first fly to Athens. It is sometimes cheaper to buy your transatlantic tickets (US-Athens-US) separately from the Athens-Herakleion-Athens tickets.  In general, for air tickets from the US to Athens, we recommend going directly to the airlines on the internet. We have found that Travelocity and Orbitz do not always list the cheapest and best fares/flights, though you might check these as well.

     If you make your travel plans from the US to Herakleion with a travel agent, in most instances, even with separate tickets, the itinerary will be coordinated with the various airlines, and your bags will be checked through to Herakleion. In this case, you will have to go through customs in Athens, and to an Aegean Air counter to get your boarding pass, but you will not have to pick up your bag and recheck it.

     Remember that since we want people to arrive in Kavousi, Crete (our village base) on May 27, you will need to depart from the continental US or Canada on May 26.

     If you travel from Athens (Piraeus) to Heraklion, Crete by boat, one would need to arrive in Athens on May 26, taking the overnight boat to Crete in order to arrive on the 27th.



     From Athens you will need to fly to Heraklion on Crete.  One can take a ferry boat (ANEK and Minoan are the main boat companies that run overnight), but we recommend flying. Fly directly from the Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) ( to the Nikos Kazantzakis airport in Heraklion (HER) (Herakleion, Irakleion), Crete. Though there are a number of carriers that serve Heraklion, we recommend Aegean Airlines ( Aegean (now Aegean/Olympic) has the most flights. A roundtrip ticket is ca. €140-200 and up; this is the fastest and easiest way to get from Athens to Herakleion. For the leg Athens-Herakleion,Crete-Athens, you can book a flight with a credit card on Aegean Airlines via the internet ( Your travel agent can also make these arrangements for you. Make sure that you schedule enough time to get through customs in Athens and then to get to the Aegean desk and recheck your bags and make your flight (at least two hours).  Booking the flight here (all legs) in the US will give you an e-ticket, allowing you to go straight to the Aegean Airlines check in after going through customs with your bags. It is sometimes possible to check your bags all the way to Crete, if you purchase the Athens-Heraklion tickets with your trans-Atlantic tickets, from a travel agent. Ask when you initially check-in for your first flight in the US if your bags are checked to Crete (HER). In any case, allow at least 2 hours between your arrival in Athens and departure for Crete.

      Also, on the return, realize that you need to get back to Athens from Crete in time to make your flight home. We expect most student staff to leave Kavousi (by cab or bus) on July 17, meaning that you should probably plan to depart Athens on a flight on July 18, unless you book a very early morning departure from Herakleion and a late-morning or mid-day flight from Athens on the 17th.  It is possible to leave Crete by air in the early AM in time to make a flight back to the States on the same day; but make sure you plan accordingly, and leave enough time to make your connections.

  If your arrival in Herakleion is going to be significantly different from the scheduled time, please try to call Melissa Eaby (693-470-5899); if that fails, call one of the directors—Donald Haggis (697-618-9872) or Peggy Mook (697-560-8552)—so that we know that you have arrived and when to expect you in Kavousi. In the airports of both Athens and Irakleion there are newsstands that sell phone cards for the pay phones (phone booths). If you are coming into Kavousi by taxi, you may just give the cabbie Melissa Eaby's or Donald Haggis's phone numbers--we can communicate with him on where to bring you.

East crete map


From Herakleion, you can get to Kavousi by bus or taxi. A taxi will cost ca. €80-100 (ca. 1.25-1.5 hours). The taxi stand and line will be visible on the street directly in front and a little to your left as you come out of the terminal at the main arrivals. Please note: the last bus to eastern Crete passes the Heraklion airport at about 6:45-7:00pm, if you arrive in Heraklion later than 6:30pm, you will have to take a taxi to Kavousi (ca. €100).

     If you are traveling with two or three other people--or arriving in Herakleion at about the same time--you can share a cab for the same price. But keep in mind, if you have a lot of luggage, the cabbie may not be able to take more than two people.  So travel as light as you can. The cabbie knows where Kavousi is, on arriving in the village,  you may just give the cabbie Melissa Eaby's or Donald Haggis's phone numbers--we can communicate with him on where to bring you.

     The bus from Heraklion to Kavousi is ca. €10 one way (ca. 2 hours).  The stop is directly across the street from the airport. Walk out of the airport and in front of you to the right, you will see a gate in the fence and cross walk. The bus stop is clearly marked with a wooden kiosk and is directly across the main road in front of the airport, near arrivals--it is situated below the car-rental parking lot (stairs to reach the rental car parking are in the vicinity). Buses stopping here will head east for Agios Nikolaos (Ayios or Hagios Nikolaos), Ierapetra or Siteia (Sitia). If you get a bus that goes to Siteia, you can take it all the way to Kavousi (it will stop in Agios Nikolaos first).

     You purchase the ticket from the kiosk--the vender speaks English--or on the bus. Ask the vender what the schedule is for Siteia or Ierapetra, or Ayios Nikolaos. If you get on a bus to Agios Nikolaos or Ierapetra, you will need to get on a different bus in Agios Nikolaos, one that goes to Siteia (and purchase another ticket). In all cases, keep your bus ticket as control agents regularly board the bus to make sure passengers have purchased tickets; you will be asked to show your ticket.  If you take the bus, your large luggage will go into storage under the bus, not in the passenger compartment (be sure to keep your passport, cash, other i.d. etc. with you).

     If you can only get a bus to Ierapetra, you may also get off in Pacheia Ammos, and then call one of us to come and get you to bring you up to Kavousi.

     The bus times listed below are as currently posted, and are subject to change. If you arrive later than the last buses, either in Herakleion or in Agios Nikolaos, please call one of us and we can give you instructions. If you are stranded in Herakleion, Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra or Siteia, the easiest way to get to Kavousi is by taxi cab—they will be available late into the evening. If this option fails, then call us and we will give you instructions.    

     Buses from Herakleion to Siteia leave Herakleion at the following times (ca. 10 minutes later they should arrive at airport): 07:30am, 10:45am, 1:45pm, 6:45pm (Express to Agios).

     Buses from Herakleion to Agios (Saturdays): 6:30am, 7:00am, 9:00am, 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm.

      Buses from Ayios Nikolaos to Siteia (on Saturdays) leave Agios at 12:15, 3:15 and 8:15pm.

     We will check and update these times in May 2017.


ARRIVING IN KAVOUSI AND MEETING POINT (See the google map link, Azoria Kavousi, and the maps above and below)

On the north coast road, coming east from Herakleion, the village of Kavousi is the first village you will come to after passing Pacheia Ammos and the turnoff to the south coast (to Ierapetra). So coming from Herakleion and Ayios Nikolaos, with the sea on your left, you want to pass by the Minoan site of Gournia, the village of Pacheia Ammos, and the main intersection of the highway to Ierapetra, continuing east. Kavousi is the next village to the east past the village of Pacheia Ammos.

     Watch for the signs and ask the bus driver or ticket attendant to let you know when you get to Kavousi (just say, “Kavousi,” and they will alert you). Get off the bus at the bus stop, which is in the middle of Kavousi--you will see the church above and on the right. Across the street is a wooden kiosk with a tiled roof, and next to it, a cafe/taverna and rental rooms. This taverna is the meeting point for all students It is called the "Karakatsanis Snack Bar Taverna and Rent Rooms," though it is also called variously Sophia's, Maria's, Karakatsani's, or Dako's. You will see a large painted sign (Rent Rooms) on the north face of the building--this is visible in the Google image.

     Thus, when you get off the bus in Kavousi, across the street and a little to the right you will see the sheltered bench--the wooden kiosk with red tiled roof-- which is the bus stop for buses headed in the other direction (west, back toward Agios Nikolaos). In this video, which shows the main highway coming into Kavousi, as you will enter the village, you can see the bus stop (and rental rooms/taverna) in the very middle of the picture: see 1:40-1:48 (

    You want to walk across the street to the Karakatsani taverna (restaurant/café) and Rental Rooms located directly next to that bus shelter. The owners are Maria, Kostis, and Georgos Chalkiadakis. One of them will be there when you arrive and they do speak English and can contact a member of the senior staff to meet you. In general and depending on your expected arrival time, the project's assistant director, Melissa Eaby, will be meeting students and directing them to their various rooms in the village. If she is not there for some reason, either call her, or simply wait at a table at the taverna, and perhaps let the proprietors know you are with the excavation (they speak English). If within ca. 15 minutes of your arrival you have not been met, please call Melissa Eaby (693-470-5899), Donald Haggis (697-618-9872), or Peggy Mook (697-560-8552). Or you can ask the proprietors to call one of us. We are staying in rooms in several different locations in and around Kavousi, and will be nearby to come and meet you.

     If you arrive by cab you can ask the cabby to take you into Kavousi and leave you at the bus stop on the main road next to the taverna (corner of main road and road to Tholos beach).


Kavousi map

Kavousi village view


      Rooms will be reserved for all participants—field school students, volunteers, trench supervisors and senior staff—in local pensions and hotels (rental rooms) by the project director by the end of March. Project members will share a room with one or two other project members sorted by gender. All rooms provide basic sheets, pillows and blankets, most rooms will have attached toilet and shower facilities; in at least one pension these facilities will be down the hall and shared by a number of room (all occupied by members of the project).  Sheets will be changed by the pensions weekly. Soap and toilet paper are sometimes provided, but are never sufficient for American consumers, so expect to be buying your own soap and most of your own toilet paper (available at markets within the village). Again, please bring your own bath towel and washcloth.

     Food will not be provided for any project participants. Small markets for buying sundries, breakfast and lunch supplies, as well as a bakery, are located in Kavousi. We will facilitate a visit to the bakery every morning before work for those who do not live on the main highway within the village. At that time people can buy fresh bread, croissant, pitas (cheese and ham and cheese pies, etc.), cookies and other baked goods to take up to the site. Food (fresh fruit, bread, cheese, etc.) can also be purchased and prepared the day before. Furthermore, the neighboring towns—accessible by bus—of Ierapetra and Ayios Nikolaos have full-size supermarkets and produce markets. For evening meal, it is recommended that students patronize the local tavernas and other eating establishments where a variety of short-order and prepared food can be found. There are presently three cafes in the plateia (central square) of the village that will prepare food in the evening; two tavernas on the main highway in the village; and the Tholos Beach Hotel, where most students will be staying, also runs a taverna at night.  At the beach on the sea at Tholos, where project members go swimming, is also a taverna, though prices may be higher here for some foods.

     Your rooms will not have cooking facilities (nor should you install them--cooking is not permitted in the rental rooms), although refrigerator space is available at each pension/hotel and in most, if not all the rooms.

     On a normal working day, students will stop at a local bakery or grocery store in the morning (or the evening) before going up to the site, to purchase bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, or local pastries for their breakfast and lunch. For a late lunch or snack after work, and for dinner, students normally patronize one of several local tavernas, which offer complete prepared meals as well as fast food, salads, and sandwiches.



Activities are conducted primarily in two locations. The first is the excavation site of Azoria (, where students will participate in the primary excavation and data recovery and processing stages of the project.  The central component is archaeological fieldwork, in this case, excavation, which is a physically and intellectually arduous endeavor, requiring students to understand and think through complex research questions and practical problems, and then to implement various methods for recovering and interpreting data to begin to answer questions and solve these problems. The situation requires students to integrate and make connections between various methods and fields of inquiry, such as environmental archaeology, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, ancient history, and various material culture studies. Furthermore, through its practices, the experience requires students to innovate in daily problem solving while digging; to adapt physically, culturally, and intellectually to the daily life in a rural agrarian village; the intensive methodological and practical situations presented by data recovery; and the socially and academically challenging environment of a large scale research program. Students should be prepared for hard work.

     Another important aspect of fieldwork at Azoria is site conservation, conducted through the Azoria Project Field Conservation Program (FCP)-- architectural conservation, fencing, and creating permanent signage (informational maps and plans) and access paths on site. Site preservation and field conservation is sometimes conducted along with excavation and in these cases students will be invited to participate, working along side local villagers and researchers, with the goal of preserving and presenting the site and the results of excavation to the scholarly world and general public.

     The second location is the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP-SCEC) ( in Pacheia Ammos, which is the research center that provides the Azoria Project and Field School storage, processing, and work space; library; laboratories; and conservation and computer facilities. Students in the various programs will be working regularly in the study areas of the INSTAP SCEC during sessions of finds processing and analysis. The project will provide transportation to and from the site and the SCEC facility.

      At the INSTAP SCEC, all students will also be required to attend all regular afternoon presentations and lectures by the instructors and specialist staff.

Prospective General Program Schedule May 27-July 17, 2017 (subject to changes)

Excavation and processing will take place from Monday to Friday each week (May 29 to July 14), with some work or site visits on Saturday. Sundays are always free days. Saturdays will be trench tours on site, alternating every other Saturday with a long weekend. The long weekend means Saturday and Sunday off.

     The student departure date will be July 17. Earlier departures are permitted, but normally no earlier than July 14, and only by prior permission of the project director.

     On site work or finds processing will take place each day from 7:00 AM until 2:30 PM, with some additional finds processing conducted in the afternoons if needed (3:00-5:00 PM).

Friday May 26: Students depart from the US/North America, traveling US-Athens-Heraklion, Crete, arriving in Crete May 27.

Saturday May 27: students arrive in Kavousi village and are escorted to their rooms; and given instructions for the next day’s orientation session.

Sunday May 28: orientation session at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete, by the Azoria Project Director, Field Director and senior staff; this is followed by a separate orientation by the director or assistant director of the INSTAP-SCEC.

Monday May 29: excavation begins

Saturday June 3: free day/long weekend

Saturday June 10: trench tours

Saturday June 17: free day/long weekend

Saturday June 24: trench tours

Saturday July 1: free day/long weekend

Saturday July 8: final trench tours

Monday July 10-15: final week of digging, processing, and conservation; closedown of trenches

Saturday, July 15: end of excavation party (some students will be required to help organize the party)

Sunday, July 16: students sleep-in, pack and prepare rooms for Monday departure

Monday, July 17, all students depart. Students are not permitted to stay on in the villages, on site, or in the INSTAP-SCEC after this date.

Saturday July 22, all trench masters and most senior staff depart.


(General information. More information will be provided at orientation sessions, in the US, on Crete)

All archaeological fieldwork carries some risk of medical emergency, though in our experience working in Greece, indeed in this region and type of environment in Crete for the past 30 years, we have taken all precautions in managing excavation and student staff to ensure a safe working environment. We advise students on site-safety: for example, precisely how and where to walk around excavation trenches; what kind of footwear, hat, and other clothing is appropriate for the fieldwork environment and the terrain; the proper use of tools and equipment; water and food consumption; and what to do in case of medical problems (such as illness, accident or allergies).

     While the villages (Pacheia Ammos and Kavousi) and towns (Ierapetra and Ayios Nikolaos) are relatively rural and safe places, in terms of routine safety of person and property, we instruct students on procedures for contacting senior project staff as soon as possible (in person or by cell phone) and the local police; locking car and room doors; being conscious of their property and surroundings; and interacting with strangers. No persons who are not members of the project staff are allowed on the site, into the INSTAP-SCEC research facility, or the student residences, without prior permission of the project director.

     All students are required to have full medical/health insurance (as stated above) to participate in the project, and to work at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete (SCEC). Travel insurance is recommended and for UNC students, required.

     Students will also be required to disclose to the Project director or field-school directors any known potentially life-threatening or potentially problematic physical or psychological preconditions (especially medicated chronic psychological problems; allergies; asthma, diabetes/blood sugar; susceptibility to heat stroke; autoimmune diseases; recent joint inflammation and broken or fractured bones; and drug allergies; etc.). You should also know and tell us your blood type.

     The Azoria excavation site and INSTAP-SCEC research facility are located approximately equidistant from two hospitals in the towns of Ierapetra (ca. 14.8 km; 25 min) and Agios Nikolaos (21 km; 30 min), both with full 24-hour/day emergency, triage, and ambulance staff and facilities; the latter with complete diagnostic facilities, and internal medicine and surgical staff. Both towns have private physicians as well, including offices with 24-hour services.

     On site and at INSTAP SCEC, there is a complete basic medical kit for routine minor injuries.

      Students are asked to bring any and all special medications they might need while in Greece, and to assume responsibility for their personal health and well being. Though local pharmacies are well stocked and normally honor prescriptions from American (or non-US) physicians, some medications (e.g., antibiotics or narcotics) will require a visit to the local doctor and in most cases a formal prescription. Other medications such as anti-fungal, -inflammatory, -bacterial (some anti-viral) ointments and oral medications are normally dispensed without a prescription, or simply with a physician’s recommendation. If you are allergic to plant pollen, spores, and dust, or are asthmatic, you must notify the director before coming on the project, and must make sure that you have an adequate supply of proper face masks or other equipment with you. We will not accommodate special equipment needs of asthmatics in the field.

     Fees for routine emergency and minor hospital visits are paid by the Project. Cost of hospital stays, complex and chronic medical problems, medevac, and travel home or to other hospitals must be incurred by the student.

    Students with serious or chronic viral or bacterial infections, or injuries disrupting or precluding work, are normally seen by a physician, medicated, and sent back to the United States or home country. Students with chronic psychological problems that disrupt the work and/or require medical treatment will be asked to leave the Project.

      In the event of routine medical emergencies, that is, those that cannot be handled on site (such as minor scrapes, cuts, or insect bites), the project director and one or more of the course instructors will take the student directly to the appropriate physician or emergency room for diagnosis, treatment, and recommendation for movement to a hospital, or return to the student's home country. In the remote chance of a dangerous condition, an ambulance will be called to the site or the research facility for emergency care and transportation.

     In the event of other (non-medical) emergencies, the project and the staff of the SCEC research facility will contact local police in adjacent towns of Ierapetra and Ayios Nikolaos. As with medical conditions, a recommendation will be made by the project director, in consultation with field school and senior staff and with the local authorities, on how to proceed. Details of all events and responses to emergencies will be documented in writing and signed by the project director and course instructor, and submitted to the appropriate authorities for record or recommendation.

     The Azoria Project cannot accommodate students with psychological problems that would adversely affect daily work in the physically and socially stressful conditions of an excavation. That is to say, the Project cannot provide emergent or even routine support or medical visits or referrals for students with known psychological problems, or diagnosed or inferred psychological/psychiatric conditions, that normally require some or regular psychriatric care, consultation, or psychotropic/biochemical medication of any kind. Students unable to perform routine tasks on the project, because of psychological conditions of any kind, will be sent home. 


We strongly discourage student staff from inviting visitors to the excavation during the season (by visitor we mean friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family members, lovers, spouses, and so on) . While this does happen on occasion, and is not strictly prohibited of course, we suggest that if you can avoid this, please do so. Of course we permit visitors to come to visit the site on occasion-- that is, to pass through for some hours to meet one for dinner, or to come up to the site for a few hours to see the excavation--but please do not invite people to stay overnight in the village or in the rooms, or to be on site for extended periods.

A couple of general ground rules on visitors (normal practice):

1. Visitors are not allowed, for any reason, into the rental rooms.

2. Visitors are not allowed on site to participate in the work.

3. Visitors are not allowed for any reason into the INSTAP SCEC.

4. Visitors of staff members are not allowed in the village or on site without prior consultation and formal permission of the Project director (Haggis).You may of course entertain visitors in the village, and arrange to take them up to the site on your own time and with your own wherewithal, but please let the Project director know first.

To explain. We are a rather large excavation, normally with about 70 non-local staff. While individually, it may not seem like a problem to have someone visit for a couple of days, it actually can be for a number of reasons. Not least of all, is that if we were to permit it for one person, then we would be compelled to allow it for everyone on the Project. Doing so would cause the disruption of work, if not potentially serious logistical and even legal problems. Any visitor connected in any way to an Azoria Project student or staff member, in the villages, becomes the responsibility of the Project director on a number of levels.

First, we organize housing, work, activities, and transportation between villages and to the site carefully and strictly; should visitors appear, even announced, this causes significant logistical problems in getting everyone where they have to be every day at the prescribed time, and conducting work of schedule.

Second, because of Greek law (and the conditions of our permit), insurance, liability, and even responsible and professional practice, visitors are not allowed on site or into work areas (INSTAP-SCEC) during excavation. While non-local visitors will on occasion come to visit the site--such as visiting scholars and student groups--they will have a prescribed formal or professional reason for the visit, and they will normally stay for a very brief period (an hour or two) before being scheduled to leave. 

Third, in the village, we will be occupying all of the available housing. Housing in the villages of Kavousi and Pacheia Ammos is rather complicated logistically and tightly scheduled during the summer months because there are several different projects, as well as a host of researchers, professional visitors, and technical staff of the SCEC living or staying in these rooms. Whatever space might be available in Kavousi, the Project might need the space to accommodate formal visitors or senior staff.

Fourth is that any visitor to the village or to the excavation becomes de facto the Project director's social, political, economic, and legal responsibility--even if the visitor were to make his or her own arrangements to come to the village and stay, and get to the site and on their own, by association, the Project would be liable for that person's activities in the rooms, village, INSTAP, and on site.


(Not covered by program fees)

Roundtrip airtravel: U.S. - Athens - Herakleion (Crete): $1600
Round-trip airport transportation (bus: Herakleion-Kavousi-Herakleion, Crete): $30
Food & beverages ($20-$30/day x 50): $1000-1500
Incidentals: $350
Books, equipment, and supplies: $50
International student identity card: $26
Passport: $135
Photos for passport/Int student ID card: $25
Museum and site entrance fees: $20-40
Transportation to sites on Crete: $75

Total Estimated Other Student Costs:  $3311-3831