Our understanding of the development of ancient
city-states has been improved in recent years by cross-cultural perspectives
that emphasize agricultural specialization, the establishment of new political
roles and patron-client relationships, and changing patterns of socioeconomic
interaction between city and countryside (e.g., Smith 2003; Nichols and
Charlton 1997; Schwartz and Falconer 1994). While this development
was apparently neither uniform nor consistent geographically or culturally,
the city-state is recognized as a new kind of polity, demonstrating a level
of sociopolitical elaboration very different from its village roots.
The process of city-state formation can be seen to involve a “phase transition,”
an increase in complexity, in which new urban and rural relationships were
formed, and in which local kinship systems were not suppressed or controverted,
but restructured in new venues of economic interaction and social competition
(cf. Yoffee 1997).
Along the same lines, investigators of the early
Greek city-state (or polis) have demonstrated the fundamental role of kinship
systems, social corporations, and the organization of agricultural and pastoral
production in the formation of cities and states from 800 to 600 B.C. (Morgan
2003; Morris 1997; Small 1997). Although the Aegean seems to be an
ideal context for the study of the city-state given the wealth of archaeological,
historical, and regional information available for fully-formed cities of
the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., the region lacks archaeological evidence
from urban centers for the periods of the formative phase (1200-800 B.C.),
as well as during the transformation to city-statehood from the seventh to
the fifth centuries B.C. The project proposed here is the excavation
of an early urban site in northeastern Crete in the Greek Aegean, examining
stratigraphically this “phase transition,” the point at which an Early Iron
Age (EIA) village (1200-800 B.C.) was transformed into a nascent city-state
in the Archaic period (ca. 700-600 B.C.). The purpose is to investigate
the process of city-state formation by examining the ways in which changes
in agricultural and pastoral activities relate to emerging social and political
Contemporary and later historical sources for
Crete (700-300 B.C.) indicate the existence of lineage-based elites who
created new civic institutions and maintained political power by restricting
access to specific social corporations (Willetts 1955; Aristotle Pol. 1272a;
Strabo 10.480a; IC I x 2; SEG XXVII 631). Corporate group membership
and citizenry were apparently drawn from traditional land-owning clans who
supplied agricultural and pastoral produce for a communal meal—a civic institution
in which payments and offerings, storage, and consumption of food were social-symbolic
rituals, reinforcing group identity and articulating the sociopolitical
hierarchy of the urban community. The purpose of the excavation at
Azoria is to recover archaeological evidence for this formative social system,
to explore the relationship between foodways and the political structure
of the city, and through integration of archaeological correlates of food
production and consumption to design models of Archaic city-state formation
that are applicable in the Aegean, the Mediterranean and beyond.
Although the Greek city-state has long been recognized
as a viable paradigm for the theoretical “ruralized city” (Southall 1998),
for more than a century work in the Aegean remained synchronic and descriptive,
rooted in the documentation of remains of monumental architecture, drawing
on literary and epigraphical evidence to reconstruct the political geography
of the city center and its political structure (Flensted-Jensen, et al.
2000). Over the past two decades however, archaeological investigation
of cemeteries (Whitley 1991; Morris 1987), sanctuaries (Alcock and Osborne
1994), and settlement patterns (Rich and Wallace-Hadrill 1991; Morgan 2003)
has reshaped the study of city-states in Greece. Through the application
of methodologies derived from Aegean, Mediterranean and world prehistory,
and approaches utilizing the results of intensive archaeological survey,
researchers have established sets of questions for future work (Branigan
2001; Morris 2000; Morgan 2003; Jameson et al. 1994). The study of
the Greek city-state however still lacks two things: (1) a diachronic perspective
on the site-level and within an urban context—that is, a sufficiently preserved
and continuous stratigraphy during periods of urbanization—and (2) detailed
information on agricultural and pastoral production (well-preserved and
contextualized plant and animal remains) which formed the basis of the early
economy and important contexts of political and economic interaction within
the early city. The Azoria Project excavation fills these gaps, reintegrating
the archaeology of the classical Greek city into overlapping discussions
of urbanization and city-state formation in Aegean, Mediterranean and world
Current research on the city-state in Aegean,
ancient Near Eastern and Latin American contexts stresses the importance
of socioeconomic interaction, particularly the ways in which land was used,
labor was organized and controlled, and food was produced, processed, stored
and redistributed (cf. Zeder 2003; Stone 1997; Morris 1997; Pyburn 1997;
Schwartz 1994; Jameson 1992; Garnsey and Morris 1989). Central in
these discussions is the social significance of agricultural production
and consumption, the reorganization of the food-producing countryside, the
agro-economic context of the city center, and public commensality as a civic
institution. Through excavation of an early Greek city, the Azoria
Project examines how changing patterns of food procurement and redistribution
relate to the developing urban environment. The project’s emphasis
on the identification of the earliest and formative stages of “civic
institutions”—in which rituals of commensality are viewed as fluid social
practices, combining cultic and political behavior and articulating political
hierarchies and relationships—indicates the relevance of this work to studies
of urbanization and city-state formation in the Mediterranean and beyond.
The goal of the project is to draw connections
between human landscapes of city and countryside, evaluating material patterns
that underlie the concept of the ruralized city (Southall 1998). The
premise is that the study of urban contexts of food processing and consumption
can help us to understand the organization of rural production which affected
or determined the sociopolitical roles of city dwellers. Historical
sources for the early Cretan city define social relationships in terms of
connections to the food-producing countryside: on the one hand there were
citizen estate owners and non-citizen small-share holders, and on the other,
laborers, serfs, and slaves who were dependent on elite rural estates or
produce from public land. The goal of the Azoria Project is to identify
these agents archaeologically, predicting that evidence of foodways can reflect
human relationships with the hinterland and give us a more nuanced view
of social roles in the community than that derived from extant historical
sources. The broad aims of fieldwork are to document parts of a nascent
Greek city center (ca. 1200-500 B.C.) that are relevant to reconstructing
stages of its development and to analyze evidence for subsistence and surplus
production that relate to the restructuring of kinship relationships and
the emergence of corporate groups. The plan of this stage of work
(2005-2007) has three primary objectives: (1) to understand food provisioning
in the civic context; (2) to recover evidence for class differences in terms
of differentiation of processing and consumption patterns in various domestic
and civic contexts; and (3) to explore stratigraphically earlier EIA levels
at the site within both civic and habitation areas with a view to understanding
the changes in the formal structure of the site, the economic systems, and
social organization of the settlement throughout the Early Iron Age and before
the establishment of the city in the seventh century B.C.
(a) The results of intensive survey and their
implications for the present plan of work. The intensive survey (1989-1992)
in the region of Azoria showed a pattern of small villages (ca. 0.5-1 ha.)
in the Early Iron Age (1200-700 B.C.), clustering in mountain regions that
provided stable water supplies and arable soils for rain-fed agriculture,
and environments for year-round herding. This pattern suggested a
mixed household economy, with discrete groups of sites centered on upland
water supplies, arable land, and pasturage (Haggis 2001a; 1996; 1993).
Haggis thought that these clusters formed communities of socially integrated
and interdependent villages organized in kinship groups, fitting well with
current models for the Early Iron Age economy (cf. Flint Hamilton 2000;
Cherry 1988; Foxhall 1995; Garnsey and Morris 1989). Azoria is the
largest site in the group (10-15 hectares in size), and the only one to
show evidence of being a town as early as 1000 B.C., with continuing occupation
into the sixth century B.C. In the subsequent Archaic period (ca.
700-600 B.C.) the Iron Age settlement clusters were abandoned, coinciding
with an evident increase in the size of the Azoria site. We hypothesize
that this shift in settlement and apparent nucleation at Azoria reflects
urbanization and should have accompanied changes in social organization
and the ways the landscape was exploited.
(b) The results of previous excavations in the
region and their relevance to the plan of work. Enhancing the picture
derived from the survey, excavations conducted in the 1980’s at other sites
in the immediate region of Azoria provide details of local Early Iron Age
(EIA) agricultural and pastoral systems operating during the periods preceding
the phase of nucleation, (Coulson et al. 1997; Day et al. 1986; Gesell et
al. 1983; 1985; 1988; 1995). In the EIA village sites, culling patterns
of sheep, goat, pig and cattle indicate a meat model consistent with localized
household processing and consumption. Dumps next to houses show evidence
of primary processing and while bones are broken consistently for pot-sizing,
there is no evidence for nutritional stress, nor are there obvious differences
in processing or consumption patterns across the site (Snyder and Klippel
The EIA botanical remains present a picture consistent
with the faunal studies, indicating a localized, intensive, non-specialized
farming centering on households and in-field gardens (Flint Hamilton 2000;
cf. Cherry 1988). There is evidence of household processing and storage
of emmer and bread wheat, barley, chic pea, and lentils, in addition to
small amounts of olive, grape, pistachio and almond. Einkorn and vetch,
probably grown for animal fodder, were processed within the houses.
The consistency of the EIA settlement pattern
and evidence for household processing led to several questions that are
central to the present plan of work at Azoria: are there concomitant changes
in agricultural and pastoral production, storage and processing which would
indicate critical and systemic changes in subsistence production, patterns
of mobilization of resources, managerial roles, and social and political
relationships? When did these changes occur; and are they coterminous
with the archaeological evidence for urban structure at the site?
Finally, given the apparently integrated settlement structure of the EIA,
were there substantive changes in the way the hinterland was exploited accompanying
the emergence of the urban center, or might we see typically "rural" functions
continuing into the sixth century with changes occurring only in certain
components of the economy (cf. Schwartz and Falconer 1994)?
(c) Preliminary results of recent excavation.
Excavation in 2002 and 2003 (Haggis et al. in press) was conducted on the
hilltop of the South Acropolis of Azoria. The main features excavated
consist of (1) houses; (2) part of a large special-function building (civic
complex); and (3) a series of concentric megalithic ring walls or circuit
walls that appear to divide and structure the space of the hilltop.
Our inference is that this urban horizon on the site around 600 B.C. suggests
a threshold of power in which centralization of certain kinds of surplus
may have been translated into differential access to land and labor.
In the civic complex at Azoria the main building and adjoining storerooms
accommodated large decorated clay jars (500-1000 liters each) containing
olives and grapes; large clay ceremonial stands which were designed to hold
large wine mixing vessels; imported ceramic drinking and pouring vessels;
orientalizing iconography; and a number of bronze and iron weapons and armor
fragments. An adjoining series of rooms seems to have been used as
a winepress, and cooking and food processing areas. One of the kitchens
had a midden of animal bones, marine shells, and seeds, which we believe
are not remains of food preparation, but a dump of discarded debris from
the dining hall itself. Thus, the civic complex contains unusually
well preserved evidence for centralized storage, ceremonial dining, and food
processing, a comparative context for assessing household production and
consumption, and a clear starting point for exploring the nature of economic,
ritual, and political activities at the center.
(a) The relevance of agricultural and pastoral
systems in the study of city-state formation. Recent studies of early state-level
polities have tended to examine the function of political economies as opposed
to the implications of developmental models (cf. Schoep 2002; Stein 1998;
Blanton et al. 1996; Cowgill 1993). Current work in Old World areas
emphasize urbanization, urban-rural interaction, and agropastoral systems
as critical areas of analysis of state form and function, as well as useful
contexts for exploring social organization and power relations (Zeder 2003;
Stein 1998; Yoffee 1993; 1979). In both Old World and Latin American
areas the question of political and economic integration encompasses the
analysis of agricultural and pastoral systems. These can be construed
as operable mechanisms of elite appropriation of agricultural surplus (Stein
1994; Schwartz and Falconer 1994; Schwartz 1994; D'Altroy and Earle 1985;
Earle 1987), reflecting the degree of central control over the countryside,
surplus mobilization, and centralization of resources. While urbanization
itself is viewed as only one expression of ideological and political power
in state-level polities (Smith 2003; Schwartz 1994; Yoffee 1993, 1979), it
is nevertheless an important archaeological context for unraveling the details
of the political economy of the city-state and its changes through time.
In the Aegean we can say that cities emerged as
centers of regional polities (ca. 800-600 B.C.) (Snodgrass 1991).
Even though recent approaches to Greek state formation have distinguished
diverse patterns of emerging complexity as distinct and often separate phenomena
from the institution (and artifact) of the city itself (Morris 1991), studies
of the city-state recognize the importance of agropastoral systems in defining
the form and function of the urban center as well as providing important
systemic links to earlier forms of political economies in the Early Iron
Age (cf. Garnsey and Morris 1989). On a more basic level, agriculture
and animal husbandry can be expressions of power relations within early state
societies, while food mobilization and processing reflect economic complexity
(cf. Halstead 1981; 1988; Gumerman 1997).
Thus, the problem of Greek city-state formation
has developed within the context of this multi-lateral discourse, encompassing
historical, archeological, and environmental perspectives (e.g., Mitchell
and Rhodes 1997; Andersen et al. 1997; Small 1995; Snodgrass 1993; 1987;
1991; 1977; Coldstream 1991; Morris 1991). Local conditions notwithstanding,
early Greek cities functioned as economic and political centers of territorial
polities—poleis or city-states, ethnos or "nation" states, among other variations
(Morgan 2003)—which were evidently based on agricultural and exchange systems.
The Azoria Project seeks to recover and analyze evidence from the excavation
of an urban center of one such polity, reconstructing the details of the
political economy, while reshaping models of the formation of the city itself
and its relationship to the hinterland.
(b) City-state formation in the Greek Early
Iron Age. Historical models of early Greek city-state formation presuppose
a shift from small-scale pastoral or mixed village-farming communities (Thomas
and Conant 1999; Donlan and Thomas 1993; cf. Cherry 1988), with a chiefdom
or big-man structure (Whitley 1991; Donlan and Thomas 1993) to larger more
integrated sociopolitical and economic systems, with stratified social organizations,
involving intensified trade, and extensive exploitation of the outfield
lands surrounding nascent cities. The social dynamics of this transition
remain untested archaeologically. Based on this model, we suggest that
a shift from infield garden cultivation, characteristic of village-farming
groups, to more specialized, extensive, and controlled use of marginal environments
should be detectable in the faunal and floral record of Azoria. On
the level of the site we are looking for conditions and contexts that suggest
changing organizational structure, such as increase in size and nucleation;
differentiation in house types; the appearance of special-function buildings;
and variable contexts of storage, processing and distribution of staples.
On the regional scale, our aim is to link the excavation results to a study
of the carrying capacity of different environmental zones (Morris 1994)
(such as those exhibiting rural installations of seventh and sixth century
date), reconstructing a picture of the town's territory.
(c) Urbanization on Crete in the seventh and sixth
centuries B.C. Cities in Crete seem to have developed rapidly in the
seventh and sixth centuries B.C. (Archaic period), although no site on the
island has been hitherto excavated with a view to recovering evidence for
sociopolitical change in the Early Iron Age-Archaic transition. The
evidence to date comes primarily from intensive archaeological survey (e.g.
Hayden 1997) and ancient literary and epigraphical sources (e.g. Perlman
2002). Recent scholarship has however postulated historical models
for political and demographic changes in Crete, considering the seventh century
B.C. a formative period leading to a threshold of reorganization, and rebuilding
of power relationships on the island around 600 B.C. (Erickson 2002: 86;
Coldstream and Huxley 1999; Prent 1996-1997; Huxley 1994:128-129; S. Morris
1992: 169-172; Morris 1998: 65-66). The lack of actual archaeological
evidence for this transition notwithstanding, what we do know of the developed
Cretan city comes from the study of contemporary and later civic inscriptions—public
monuments (seventh-third centuries B.C.)—which describe a highly stratified
social structure, a strict social and political hierarchy in which power
was linked to ownership of agricultural land and membership in corporate
groups that defined themselves in terms of kinship-based agricultural production,
but also in public rituals of consumption which explicitly cross-cut kinship
boundaries. Excavation at Azoria tests this historical model, examining
agricultural production as an identifiable system of social organization
and political power in the community.
3. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The Working Model of City-State Structure
Our conceptual framework for Cretan city-state
structure is composed inductively from a body of theory on the ancient city-state,
combined with evidence from historical sources for Crete in the Archaic-Roman
periods (700 B.C.-A.D. 100). Early law codes forming inscriptions
on temples and other public buildings (700-300 B.C.) and later accounts
of philosophers, historians, and geographers (400 B.C.-A.D. 100) provide
an outline of Cretan social and political systems in the city-state which
we can use as a working model of state structure. There was a strictly
ranked social hierarchy (elite citizenry, various free non-citizens, and
serfs and slaves) in which membership in elite social corporations (called
a hetaireiai or “societies”) permitted citizenship and participation in
government. Membership in this corporate group was restricted to male
citizens and determined by clan affiliation and ownership of rural estates.
The estates apparently supplied payments in kind of agricultural and pastoral
produce for a public banquet (syssitia) in a central dining hall called an
andreion, or “men’s hall,” which had combined civic/cultic functions.
This corporate group thus formed a pivotal civic institution that articulated
social and economic status and regulated participation in public affairs.
Excavations at Azoria in 2002 and 2003 contribute
to the model. A monumental and centrally located banquet hall, and
associated storage and food processing areas have been uncovered, around
which are a series of concentric ring walls that contain houses. The
walls divide and segregate the urban space, controlling access between different
habitation areas of the site and the banquet hall complex itself. Our
hypothesis is that the banquet hall is the men’s dining room (andreion) of
the corporate hetaireia, with evidence of communal food storage, processing,
and items of aristocratic display, such as ceremonial drinking wares and
bronze armor. The civic building and ring walls seem to be important
parts of the rebuilding of the site in at the end of the seventh century
B.C, indicating a new scale of construction and spatial organization that
may have served to articulate the identity of the community and perhaps new
managerial roles and responsibilities—a materialization of the social hierarchy
of the city, with the elite households situated in closest proximity to the
central dining hall, and other descending social strata at the periphery.
This historical model, though skeletal in form,
accords well with both theoretical approaches to the early Greek city, which
have examined the relationship between social groups and land tenure (Jameson
1992; Garnsey and Morris 1989; Morris 1997), as well as cross-cultural perspectives
that look at relationships between agricultural production and political
roles and relationships (Smith 2003; Nichols and Charlton 1997; Schwartz
and Falconer 1994). The aim of the project is to explore the implications
of this model at Azoria through excavation, evaluating aspects of the floral
and faunal record that suggest new social configurations: class differences
in household consumption; the elite appropriation and control of certain
agricultural resources; public storage and commensality; and differential
access to and control of labor both within the city and in the countryside.
Objectives and Sampling Rationale
One recent model for land use on Crete for the
Archaic period has predicted a dispersed pattern of hamlets on private estates
in order to accommodate the complex relationships between serfs and citizens
on both public and private land, emphasizing cereal production at the expense
of olives and vines (Morris 1997; Jameson 1992; Garnsey and Morris 1989).
The Cretan city seems to have been stratified along social lines, reflecting
diverse relationships to the countryside: elite citizens controlled private
and public estates that were worked by serfs and slaves, while non-elite
shareholders were denied access to political offices, but owned some land
and livestock. Our objective is to recover evidence for different processing
and consumption patterns that suggest these social divisions—such as variable
access to resources and differential relationships to agricultural and pastoral
land. A working hypothesis is that the civic complex and elite houses
will demonstrate control of luxury crops, herded livestock and certain wild
species such as agrimi (a species of wild goat) that are associated with
elite banqueting and social rituals of the hunt (cf. Hamilakis 2003).
We anticipate that the primary storage and processing involved in provisioning
elite urban consumption in the city will have been relegated to rural estates
or the periphery of the settlement.
Households of middling city dwellers on the other
hand might produce more evidence of subsistence and economic self-sufficiency
such as produce derived from in-field farming and small garden crops, primary
processing of meat, and grains for food and fodder. These middle classes
attested in legal inscriptions on Crete—non-citizen farmers, artisans, merchants,
scribes and laborers—might have had access to material wealth and hired
labor, but restricted access to serf and slave labor, the best arable land,
water supplies, and the full range of agricultural and pastoral products
controlled by the citizen elite by management of private and public land.
Using evidence of agropastoral production as an indicator of subtle social
differentiation of households, the project examines relationships between
extra-urban land use and the social topography of the city center.
For example, traditional archaeological indications of status or class differentiation
such as house size or material wealth may turn out to be ultimately less
significant than evidence of agricultural production and consumption in
distinguishing the nuances of civic status and urban roles. Presented
with the highly nucleated pattern of settlement at Azoria, and the agro-literate
hierarchical structure suggested by historical sources for the Cretan city-state
(Morris 1997), we hypothesize that these non-elite social levels could manifest
not in a size ranking, but in a spatial hierarchy of proximity down-slope
from the civic complex. In order to address this question, an important
aspect of our work is to expand the excavation units into areas peripheral
to the civic complex, outside the area of houses on the hilltop.
4. DATA RECOVERY AND ANALYSIS
General Criteria and Projected Annual Rate of Recovery
The area of visible contiguous architecture and
artifacts on the surface of the site exceeds 8.0 ha. From survey we
estimate a total area of 15.0 ha. The target area is about 6.0 ha.
covering both north and south hills (or acropoleis). We have acquired
for excavation the hilltops and immediate slopes, concentrating samples within
an area of 3.0 ha. Given the unevenness of the terrain and that architecture
is exposed across much of the surface of the target area, we have defined
sample units (excavation squares) by visible architectural spaces (basically
rooms and courtyards) rather than a measured grid. This flexible definition
of unit size requires that benchmarks and survey points be located with
a Total Station as needed during the course of excavation. Visible
wall lines, streets, and contours determine the location of initial sampling
units. Sampling sub-units (called “loci”) represent stratigraphic
components of variable dimensions, within which the excavators measure the
volume and dry-screen 100 percent of all matrices using quarter-inch mesh
rocker sieves, collecting artifacts, bones, and occasional botanicals.
"Intensive sampling loci" are defined as deposits requiring sampling for
systematic flotation (described below). Each season we will excavate
about 20 sample units (excavation squares) (0.10-0.20 ha. area total), dry-screen
about 2600 samples (ca. 53,000 liters), and sieve by flotation some 450
(ca. 5-20 liter) soil samples out of which approximately one third will
be standard samples, while two-thirds will be intensive samples.
Definition of Sampling Units
The excavation area (inclusive sampling universe)
has been determined by a non-negotiable permit agreement with Greek Ministry
of Culture in consultation with the local Greek Archaeological Service and
the Department of Historical and Archaeological Preservation. It consists
of an area of 3.0 ha. (ca. 20 percent of the site) situated in the center
of the settlement, and divided by a series of three visible concentric ring
walls forming separate terraces on the slope. Within this target zone,
horizontal coverage of 0.50-1.0 ha. is feasible within the present five-year
plan of work. Effective sampling units (excavation squares) consist
of functionally defined interior and exterior activity areas—essentially
rooms, transitional or liminal space, courtyards, passages, and streets—that
are defined during excavation by structural and contextual criteria.
Within these units, areas of storage, processing, and consumption are defined
contextually, while stratigraphic sub-units (loci) subdivide the use contexts.
Aggregate units of analysis emphasize social space. Therefore, contiguous
blocks, suggesting rooms of households and civic internal and exterior spaces,
are the broad comparative contexts for analysis.
The aim is to excavate widely across the target
zone, recovering domestic and civic buildings and associated areas in order
to explore the meaning of consistency and variation in storage, processing
and consumption practices. To do this, we will complete the excavation
of the civic complex discovered in 2002-2003 and place sample units across
each of the three levels formed by the concentric ring walls in order to
test the proposed concentric hierarchy of settlement. The goal is to
excavate entirely each of the three areas defined by the ring walls on the
west side of the site—about 600 m. sq. each or a total of 0.18 ha.
During the two seasons (2005-2006), we anticipate completing the excavation
of the civic complex, and recovering a total of 12 houses or room blocks
(ca. 35-40 sample units). Successful completion of this plan would
provide a site total of 18-20 houses and the complete civic building as aggregate
units for comparative study. The expected rate of recovery takes into
consideration the regular implementation of stratigraphic soundings, which
will be conducted in all areas of the site that demonstrate the suitability
and potential to derive useful diachronic contexts.
Sampling and Recovery Methods (Plants)
Botanical analyses are conducted by palaeoethnobotanists
C. Margaret Scarry (UNC-CH, Anthropology), and Laura Motta (Cambridge, Archaeology
and UNC-CH Research Laboratories of Archaeology). Wood charcoal analyses
are conducted by Maria Ntinou (University of Thessaloniki; University of
Cyprus, Archaeology, Wiener Laboratory, ASCSA, Athens). Scarry specializes
in historic and prehistoric subsistence practices, plant production and procurement
strategies, and foodways as evidence for social organization. Motta
has carried out analyses on charred macroremains from several key sequences
in parallel periods and contexts of state formation (900-600 B.C.) in the
Italian peninsula. Ntinou is an environmental archaeologist, studying
changes in landscape change and human behavior in the Neolithic-Bronze Age
Aegean and Mediterranean. While this work is collaborative, Scarry
is principally responsible for directing the recovery, analyses, and publication.
The recovery of carbonized plant remains requires
the use of both dry sieving and flotation. Standard five-liter samples
are taken from each stratigraphic sub-unit (locus) for flotation, while
"intensive-sampling loci" are designated areas of primary or secondary deposition,
features, and objects (floors, habitation deposits on or above floors, hearths,
storage and waste pits, fill, and vessels) requiring larger and variable
volumes of matrix. The aim of sampling is to document the total volume
of the matrix of each of the loci, controlling the specific areas and amounts
sampled, thereby allowing for quantitative comparison of the density, preservation,
and species identified across the site. After flotation, both heavy
and light fractions are sorted. Previous experience has shown that
a large quantity of charred material may remain in the residue, therefore
the heavy fraction will be sorted with naked eye, while the flot under a
low-powered stereo microscope using 10x-30x magnification. Identification
will be carried out using the microscope, comparing the archaeological material
with a modern seed reference collection, aided by identification manuals
and seed atlases.
The systematic collection of flotation samples
from all loci and the intensive flotation sampling of identified functional
contexts will provide a plant assemblage that is large enough (the first two
seasons of excavation have produced over 800 samples) to permit quantitative
exploration of variation in food use. Seeds, grains, nuts, chaff, etc. will
be identified to the lowest possible taxonomic group using a low-powered microscope.
Identifications will be made by reference to a modern seed collection, supplemented
by identification manuals and seed atlases. The possible confounding influence
of burning dung for fuel will be assessed by examining the quantity (and
types) of weedy and wild seeds and chaff remains relative to wood charcoal
(Miller and Smart 1984, Miller 1996). Samples examined thus far contain few
weed seeds and virtually no chaff. This suggests dung was not used for fuel,
but the possibility will be examined for all contexts. Evidence for grain
processing (and the various stages thereof) will be assessed through evaluation
of the proportion of cleaned grains relative to chaff and weed seeds (Hillman
1984; Jones 1984, 1992). Assessment of the stage of grain processing can be
made by the sizes of rachis and glume fragments as well as the types and sizes
of weed seeds. Exploratory data techniques (e.g., boxplots, principal components
analysis, correspondence analysis) will be used to search for patterns in
the distribution of specific taxa and groups of taxa (e.g., tree crops, cereals,
pulses, weeds) that may be associated with variations in household status,
functional context, etc.
Wood charcoal is collected during excavation by
hand, dry screening and floatation and is subjected to the same provenience
definition as other plant material and bones. The location, pattern
of dispersal, and physical configuration of the charcoal are distinguished,
mapped, and described during sampling in the field. The observational
unit for charcoal analysis is the individual charcoal fragment. Anatomical
identification of wood is based on its unique structure of basic elements,
which varies between families, genera or even species. In order to
determine characteristics of the anatomical structure—and thus the identification—analyses
are carried out using a microscope (100x–1000x), fragmenting each piece
into transverse, longitudinal tangential and longitudinal radial sections.
Determination of genus is regularly possible by such analysis, while identification
of species often requires biometric measurements using a Scanning Electron
Microscope. Analysis of the charcoal will be conducted at the Wiener
Laboratory of the American School of Classical Studies and the National
Physics Laboratory in Athens (Demokritos) where appropriate microscopes,
specialized atlases of plant anatomy, and a reference collection of modern
carbonized species are available.
Sampling and Recovery Methods (Animals)
Zooarchaeological analyses are conducted by Lynn
Snyder (NMNH, Smithsonian Institution) who works on the faunal record of
Europe and North America, as well as classical and Early Iron Age assemblages
in the Aegean. Snyder will coordinate the zoological sampling and processing,
and is responsible for the publication of the faunal remains.
The faunal assemblage from Azoria is produced
by the following methods. In intensive sampling loci (defined as strata
of roofing clay, habitation and floor deposits, and floor packing, etc.),
the entire matrix is measured and processed through the 0.25-inch dry screens,
and all bone and shell is collected by locus and locus sub-divisions or
“pails.” In order to maximize recovery of small mammal, bird and fish
bone as well as botanical materials, flotation “standard” samples of five
liters are taken across each locus, and “intensive” samples of 20 liters
or more are collected from locations as described above for plants.
The samples are processed by flotation at the Institute for Aegean Prehistory
Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP-SCEC), and the heavy residue is sorted
with bone and shell fragments bagged separately by provenience.
The materials are sorted, examined, and identified
as to the taxa represented, skeletal element, and side and bone completeness
or portion. Species identification is conducted with the help of the
INSTAP-SCEC comparative vertebrate skeletal collection, identification manuals,
and field guides. In some cases, particularly in the identification
of fish and bird, preliminary observations are made in the field, pending
further work with extensive collections at the Wiener Laboratory of the
American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the University of Crete,
and the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.
Bone fragments which cannot be reliably attributed to a specific skeletal
element or species of origin are described generally by element type (e.g.,
long bone, vertebra, rib) or recorded simply as an unidentifiable bone fragment.
Each specimen is examined for evidence of alteration by humans (cut marks,
chop marks, breakage, purposeful burning), and non-human taphonomic agents
(rodent or canid gnawing, root etching, weathering or exposure, incidental
burning). The location of all human made marks is also recorded, by
verbal description and pencil sketch. Where possible, sex and age determinations
A number of zooarchaeological techniques will
be employed to assess changing herding, culling and processing practices,
differential access to specific species and/or food stuffs, and evidence
of corporate, symbolic or ritual dining. Changing sheep and
goat herd management practices can be assessed through investigation of
age/sex and species distributions. The increased dependence on distance
herding and initial culling/butchering of meat animals might also be reflected
in changing patterns of body part representation in food debris accumulations.
Age at death or harvest profiles may also reflect shifts from a general
meat procurement strategy, or mixed product local subsistence economy, to
one more focused on a single commodity, meat, milk or wool to support non-farming
crafts persons or elite households. Recent methodological advances
will help to determine the species and age at death of sheep and goats,
and the changing ecological niches which these herds occupied, thus allowing
us to detect subtle changes in herding practices (Halstead and Collins 2002,
Mainland 1998, Ruscillo 2003). Patterns of bone breakage, cut
and chop mark locations, and burning will be examined to determine culinary
practices that might indicate bulk processing of large amounts of meat for
feasting or ritual dining in the corporate and elite areas of Azoria, and
the less formal household-level preparation of meals in other areas of the
Investigation of Agricultural Systems
One aim of sampling is to define differences in
how agricultural products were manipulated and redistributed on the site.
We suggest, for example, that a mixed group of cereals, representing crop-husbandry
products and by-products in variable proportions, would be related to crop-processing
activities (Hillman 1984; Jones 1984; Peña-Chocarro 1999).
The contextual focus requires analysis of the distribution of seeds and
processing debris, the assessment of the degree of homogeneity of crop types,
and examination of methods of storage and processing by the recovery and
analysis of glume and chaff fragments. The quantification of proportions
of grains, chaff, and weeds in various assemblages—characterized by chronology,
function, and location on the site—would give us an interesting picture
of differentiation in patterns of crop processing and consumption that we
can relate to social or economic activities.
On the one hand,
contexts with clean grains and no glumes suggest the grinding of clean grain.
Contexts rich in chaff waste, on the other hand, might indicate sieving
before pounding. Our initial expectation is that primary processing
of gloom cereals in domestic contexts will have produced an abundance of
chaff and gloom fragments, while higher proportions of clean grains and
grain fragments could be indications of supra-household or centralized procurement
and storage of grain. Excavation at Azoria thus far has not generated
any evidence for household-level primary processing and cleaning of grain,
or the use of dung-fuel, even though the burnt abandonment phase of the site
has produced an abundance of carbonized wood and plant remains. The
overwhelming evidence of clean grain recovered from the large houses immediately
connected to the civic complex, and from the civic building itself, points
to centralized storage in an area of the site yet unexcavated or decentralized
primary processing and storage in rural estates. A working hypothesis
is that this pattern of processing might be connected to differential access
to certain kinds of crops, land, and means of production and mobilization,
with the large households and participants of the public banquet controlling
serf and slave production in the countryside.
Banqueting associated with the Andreion Complex
(banquet hall). Considerably more attention has been given to the
faunal composition of communal meals than to botanical contributions. Nonetheless,
various authors have suggested that feasts may be marked by consumption
of plants that are symbolically important, high in fats, have psychoactive
properties, and/or are labor intensive to produce or prepare (e.g., Gummerman
1997; Hamilakis 1999; Hayden 2001; van der Veen 2003). If these propositions
hold, then archaeological deposits associated with organized social dining
should produce evidence for the storage and preparation of such luxury foods.
For Azoria, this might include seeds from tree (olive, pistachio, almond,
pomegranate) and vine (grape) crops, and herbs and spices. While there might
be evidence that cereals and pulses were included in communal meals, chaff
and weed seeds derived from primary grain processing should be scarce or
absent. Household deposits from the neighboring EIA village of the Kastro
contain debris from grain and pulse processing but scant traces of tree and
vine crops (Flint-Hamilton 2000), which at Azoria could then stand proxy
for certain production strategies and methods of land use that may help us
define corporate-group membership—the exploitation of elite rural estates
for specialized production and centralized storage of luxury goods for public
The complex that comprises the andreion includes a storage
room in which there were spatially segregated deposits rich in olive pits
and grape pips and skins. These appear to be associated with discrete pithoi
(large storage jars). Trace amounts of almond, poppy, cereal grain and pulse
were also recovered. An adjacent room, contained abundant grape pips and
features that may be part of a wine press. The operational kitchen associated
with the dining hall produced a few cleaned wheat grains but no chaff or
weed seeds. This suggests that while flour may have been ground there the
grain was cleaned elsewhere. The post-consumption refuse dumped in the abandoned
kitchen produced only small quantities of plant food debris. This would
be expected from a meal where plants were presented in forms (wine, olive
oil, bread) that would be consumed in entirety by the diners.
Contrasting civic, elite domestic and non-elite
domestic contexts. The social partitioning of Azoria should be materialized
in more than architecture. Civic and domestic space and elite and non-elite
households can be expected to produce evidence of differential consumption
of luxury crops and possibly cereals and pulses as well. Tree and vine crops
are labor intensive (both to grow and process), take several years to produce,
are less reliable, and provide items that while highly desired do not provide
staple carbohydrates or proteins. The incorporation of tree and vine crops
into meals in civic contexts and elite households should result in plant
assemblages that have a higher diversity of cultivated plants than those
recovered from non-elite households. While crop diversity may be greater
in higher status and public contexts, non-elite households may show more
variability in their use of grains and pulses. For example, wheat may be
the preferred grain, while barley is grown for fodder. However, barley is
more reliable and can be grown on a greater variety of soils. Non-elite households
may consume maslins (mixtures of wheat and barley) or straight barley especially
in bad years (Halstead 1987; Halstead and Jones 1989). Similar, considerations
might hold for pulses with lower status households including vetch in their
diet along with lentils, garbanzos, and fava.
Variation in evidence for crop processing can
also be expected. Thrashing and sieving cereals and pulses is labor intensive.
Where crops are thrashed and the degree to which they are cleaned before
storage depends on the distance between households and fields and the available
labor pool. Elite households with outlying fields (rural estates) and plenty
of hands to process the crops might be expected to use thrashing floors (alonia)
near their fields and store their grain fully cleaned. Non-elite households
reliant on infields might thrash grain on alonia near their homes and store
grain partially cleaned. Storing partially cleaned grain reduces the up-front
labor by folding some of the work into routine cooking chores. Final
processing of the grain would be on an as-need basis within the household;
this practice would allow a family to spread the labor of cleaning grain
over the year. Variation of in field location and crop processing would
result in differences in the chaff and weed assemblages recovered from elite
and non-elite households (Jones 1984, 1992; Halstead and Jones 1989). Civic
contexts would be expected to show even less evidence of primary crop processing
than elite households.
Urban vs rural systems of plant production and
processing. It is proposed that the urbanization of Azoria coincides
with increasing status and economic differentiation. Elite households were
presumably connected to rural estates—from which tithes were paid to supply
the andreion. In contrast, non-elite households maintained infield gardens
to supply their domestic needs. This differential access to land and
labor can be expected to result in variation in the production, processing
and consumption of crops (see above). Besides, the location and timing of
field crop processing, more extensive land holdings and attached agricultural
laborers would allow elite households to devote some fields to tree crops
and vines. The products of the orchards and vineyards would be a source of
wealth, supply elite tables, and “pay” for membership in the andreion (cf.Hamilakis
1999). The existence of rural estates cannot of course be confirmed by excavations
at Azoria alone (this will have to await future projects). Nevertheless,
patterns along the lines described here would suggest variation among Azoria
households in the agricultural practices.
Investigation of Pastoral Systems
The faunal analysis addresses questions of culture
change at the end of the EIA: are there changes in the relative quantity,
ages, and consumption patterns of cattle, sheep, goat, pig, and wild fauna;
and what can these tell us about how the community was using their environment
from the EIA to the Archaic periods? Shifts in meat production versus
secondary products—such as dairy and wool—could indicate important changes
in economy and social organization involving the control of labor and the
allocation of land for certain agricultural activities. In neighboring
Early Iron Age villages for example, herd-management practices appear to
have been oriented toward local production and consumption throughout the
life of the villages (cf. Klippel and Snyder 1991; 1999; Snyder and Klippel
At Azoria we expect that it will be possible to
investigate the transformation of this local household production economy
into one in which large-sale herding was controlled by local élites
organized in corporate groups. If the elite interest in herding remains
based on meat consumption, then we might expect to see not drastic changes
in culling patterns, but rather changes in the range of species, volume
exploited, and differential processing and distribution across the site.
Finally, centralized control of flocks may result in decentralization (movement
off-site) of meat and fodder processing, which might affect the volume of
fodder crop remains (such as vetch and einkorn) as well as the appearance
of the processed animals. Preliminary results from the 2002 and 2003
seasons are showing in the sixth century assemblages marked changes in meat
preparation and a significant reduction in wild animals and fodder crops
as compared to EIA contexts in the region. Lack of primary butchering
debris, in the form of elements or element segments (e.g. lower legs and
feet, and horn cores of ungulates) commonly discarded in the initial butchering
process, suggests centralized or off-site processing—a pattern similar to
that of the plant processing remains.
Banqueting associated with the Andreion complex
(banquet hall). A number of recent studies (Ervynck 2003, Hayden 2001,
Kelly 2001, Lepofsky et al 1996, McCormick 2002, Vardaki 2002) have considered
the zooarchaeological signatures of organized social, ceremonial dining
or feasting, based on ethnohistoric, ethnographic and archaeological site
data. Discrete deposits which appear to have accumulated over a limited
time period, characterized by low taxonomic diversity (e.g. selection of
a small suite of preferred animal species), a restricted range of body parts
represented (e.g. a high proportion of high quality meat cuts with little
or no butchering or carcass reduction debris), redundancy in the species
and meat cuts represented (e.g. preferred food species and portion supplied
in abundance), or the presence of rare or symbolically valued species, all
stand as potential indicators of corporate or ceremonial meals. Evidence
of this sort is entirely missing from the neighboring EIA village of Kastro,
while a single instance of such an event is present at a nearby Late Minoan
IIIC site (Day and Snyder 2004).
At Azoria, one such deposit was discovered during
excavation in 2002, in an apparently recently abandoned kitchen associated
with the andreion in the civic complex. The faunal materials in this
small room are spread rather evenly over the entire floor, with no clustering
near a hearth or processing facility, and appear to have been deposited
in a short period of time. In contrast to the more generalized food
and butchering debris often encountered in abandoned areas of a site, sheep
and goat dominate this assemblage. In addition, the body parts represented
are almost exclusively those of the meaty upper body portions of the carcass;
no primary butchering debris was recovered. The presence of one or
more conch or triton shells in the adjoining room, plus abundant remains
of top shell and limpet also distinguish this deposit.
Contrasting civic, elite domestic and non-elite
domestic contexts. Differential access to prestige food stuffs, as
well as highly processed foods or meat cuts can be presumed to characterize
the corporate areas of a civic complex and, to a lesser extent, the households
of the elite. As household consumers move away from self-sufficient
provisioning, the resultant faunal assemblage will most likely reflect this
in a reduced but possibly high status suite of animals, with preferred dressed
meat being represented. Because the members of these elite households
are less likely to be involved with the actual raising, herding, or initial
culling and butchering of livestock, little or no butchering debris should
be present (Grant 2002, Zeder 1991, 2003). In contrast, households
of the non-elite may well contain evidence of lower value species, lower
value meat cuts, and a wider range of body parts, as the producer/consumer
utilizes all eatable parts of the animals which he or she has raised.
Urban vs rural systems of animal control and economy.
In the Azoria region the faunal assemblages from neighboring EIA villages
appear to reflect settlements of largely independent household/kinship groups,
with perhaps some degree of communal herd management, but with each household
responsible for its own provisioning. In these village assemblages,
household debris middens routinely contained evidence of both primary butchering
debris and food debris representing all parts of the animal carcass (Klippel
and Snyder 1991, Snyder and Klippel 1999). In an increasingly urbanized
context, with emerging specialization of craft and subsistence economies,
individual consumer households can expect to be more widely differentiated
in their proximity and access to the herding/production aspects of provisioning
(Zeder 1991, 2003). In an emergent urban setting such as Azoria, where
control and direction of distant herds may still rest in a local segment
of the population, the distinctions between producer/consumer and urban consumer
may be evidenced in elite and non-elite habitation areas of the site.
In response to increased dependence on specialized
herding in locations away from the urban setting, one might expect a reduction
in the number of non-domestic animals, a decreased range of dominant species,
and a focus on a particular age range, as for instance, sheep become the
preferred meat animal—the animals are repeatedly culled at an age to maximize
meat and fat yield, or as secondary products such as milk or wool take on
increased significance in the economy (Crabtree 1996, Grant 2002, Halstead
1996, Kapetanios 2003, Keswani 1994, Klippel and Snyder 2002, Zeder 2003).
The occurrence of wild species might also decrease, as more easily manageable
and more predictable herd animals are routinely supplied to the urban population.
In this context, some species may disappear from the suite of desired or
accepted animals (e.g. Snyder and Klippel 1996) while other species (especially
if more rare due to expanding human populations and herding pressures on
the landscape) may take on even greater symbolic or prestige significance
(cf. Hamilakis 2003, Morris 1990), as evidenced at Azoria by the presence
in several buildings of the preserved, articulated horn cores of agrimi.
Wood charcoal is well preserved in the late sixth
and early fifth-century B.C. destruction deposits coinciding with the abandonment
phases of the site, and the analysis is complementary to the study of the
seed and animal remains, providing a potentially valuable source of palaeoethnobotanical
and palaeoenvironmental information (cf. Badal 1992; Badal et al. 1994).
Firewood remains may be recovered from narrowly defined contexts (e.g. hearths
and ovens) or dispersed throughout excavated deposits, while other samples
represent burnt architecture, installations, furniture, and implements.
The former constitute the basis for the reconstruction of plant environments,
while the later may result from a range of human activities involving the
selection of wood for specific purposes, providing information on the managing
of plants and the use of vegetation in order to meet specific practical
and social needs. Random wood gathering is also a selective process
dependent on the availability of the raw material, the distance from the
settlement, the effort required to reach sources and other cultural factors.
Therefore the charcoal produced through firewood burning in domestic or
civic contexts may reflect random sampling of the plant environment, producing
an archaeological sample that could be related to the composition of the
ancient regional vegetation. Furthermore, charcoal dispersed in the
anthropogenic sediments is likely to be the product of long term activities
in relation to the overall occupation of a site, offering information on
the succession of vegetation through time. The ecological reliability
of evidence derived from dispersed charcoal samples is determined by the
diversity of taxa in the assemblages, the reproducibility of the results
in the different samples of the same unit or locus, the qualitative and
quantitative coherence of the results from successive assemblages, and finally
analogies drawn between modern vegetation (in temperate zones) and the archaeological
charcoal assemblages (Badal et al 1991; Badal and Heinz 1991). We
are implementing a systematic study of wood charcoal with two primary goals:
(1) to identify and examine wood fuel and building material types in domestic
and civic contexts in order to evaluate differential access to the raw materials
and sources, and therefore different components of the environment; and
(2) to integrate charcoal identification into botanical, zoological and
soil studies in the reconstruction of the environmental context of the site.
The recovery, analysis, and interpretation of
ceramics, stone tools, metals, and other materials comprises a separate
component of the Azoria Project's research design, currently supported by
the Institute for Aegean Prehistory and the National Endowment for the Humanities;
it is largely omitted in the present proposal which focuses on the plant
and faunal remains. Artifacts do form a fundamental part of the interpretation
of archaeological contexts, not only in the assessment of storage and processing
of agricultural produce, but in the definition of consumption patterns—the
systemic contexts of human interaction and social organization. There
are three levels of artifact analysis, beyond the routine processing stages
of conservation, identification, recording and cataloguing: (1) form, (2)
composition and provenience, and (3) contextual and formal analysis of function.
These levels of study begin in the excavation stage (2003-2006) and comprise
the crux of the study and publication phases of the project (2007-2011).
In the case of stone tools—the principal implements
of processing—Tristan Carter's (Stanford University) study will involve
initially the assessment of composition and likely sources of materials,
as well as the typological change from Bronze Age and Early Iron Age into
the Archaic period. Such changes might parallel production and consumption
patterns of the plant remains. While specialized industrial and agricultural
activities are evidenced by the context and frequency of specific ground-stone
tool types (cf. Blitzer 1995), the analysis of the full range of kitchen
implements combined with the plant and animal inventory can give us a nuanced
picture of processing strategies in various domestic and civic contexts of
Relevant to the research design of the present
proposal to the NSF, are formal, functional, and compositional analyses of
pottery. The project looks at the emergence of new corporate groups
and new patterns of procuring and processing agricultural and pastoral goods.
In this context, pottery analyses emphasize provenience, function, and symbolic
value: what is the distribution of imported pottery; and are there use patterns
that suggest elite consumption? A formal and petrographic typology
of local and extra-regional EIA wares has been established for the area (Haggis
and Mook 1993) indicating that exogenous wares and foreign imports will
be easily identifiable in the initial stage of study. Formal and compositional
studies focus on the following questions: what is the nature of storage
and transport of agricultural commodities, the vessels that stand proxy
for these activities, and their differential distribution across the site
and between houses and the civic complex? What differences are there
between types of cooking and utilitarian vessels, suggesting differences
in processing techniques? What is the economic and social symbolic
value of the form, size, and decoration of vessels used for storage and consumption?
An important part of the stylistic analysis of
pottery is the examination of variation and standardization of wares and ware
groups; this work is relevant to the definition of the social groups (such
as the elite consumers within the andreion). A working hypothesis is
that, in specific contexts, decorated pots were visual communicators, with
unequivocal meanings, articulating a subtext of roles, statuses, power relationships,
and specific social obligations of both producers and consumers. Stylistic
diversity is seen here as the differences and variations in wares and shapes,
particularly painted and slipped decoration on fine drinking, pouring, and
dining equipment, as well as large decorated storage jars. The premise
is that this diversity reflects symbolic rationing or a dynamic symbolic
competition among elite ruling groups (kinship or corporate) in public or
ritual venues such as feasting. In turn, this social display communicated
or visually reinforced organizational hierarchies and other forms of political
ordering and interaction (cf., Whitley 1991; Pollock 1983; Hodder 1989; 1982;
Plog 1980; Clark and Parry 1990; Brumfiel and Earle 1987).
Composition of Field Team
The field team is
made up researchers from the USA, Greece, Canada, UK, and Italy, representing
a collaboration of approaches derived from fields of prehistory, archaeology,
anthropology, environmental archaeology and history in both Old and New
World contexts. The team consists of the project director (Haggis),
field director (Mook), zooarchaeologist (Snyder), two palaeoethnobotanists
(Scarry and Motta), one environmental archaeologist (Ntinou), and a lithics
specialist (Carter). Non-funded consultants for the project include
a soil scientist (Michael E. Timpson, Peterson Environmental Consulting.
Inc); environmental scientist (Michael W. Morris, Jacobs Engineering Group,
Inc.); biological anthropologist (Maria A. Liston, Anthropology and Classical
Studies, University of Waterloo), a specialist in comparative small-scale
state formation (David Small, Anthropology, Lehigh University), and a Greek
epigraphist/historian (William West, Classics, UNC-CH). Liston is
a specialist in Early Iron Age cremation burials, and local paleopathologies.
Morris and Timpson conducted the original soil survey of the Azoria region,
evaluating natural and anthropogenic causes of alluvial deposition in the
plain below Azoria, and its impact on land use in the Bronze Age and EIA.
Small’s role in the project is to design models for the regional organization
in the Early Iron Age, examining the broader cultural catchment of Azoria
from a sociopolitical perspective, and thus complementing the work of soil
scientists, botanists, and zoologist. In addition, there are six graduate-student
trench supervisors, 35 undergraduate trench assistants, 16 local workmen,
and 12 technical staff (a registrar, two conservators, two illustrators,
one architect, one surveyor, one photographer, and four potsherd-washers).
Biographical sketches are included only for senior staff.
Researchers assume that the formation of Greek
city-states in the eighth and seventh c. B.C. involved a radical transformation
of preexisting social hierarchies and political structure, and a shift in
the nature of agricultural production (Thomas and Conant 1999; Foxhall 1995;
Jameson 1992; Morgan 1990; Garnsey and Morris 1989; Snodgrass 1987).
But these assertions remain untested. Given the importance of agropastoral
systems suggested by historical sources (cf. Fisher and Van Wees 1998; Chaniotis
1995; Cherry 1988; Whittaker 1988), the plan of excavation at Azoria was designed
specifically as an archaeological test case to approach problems of changing
land use, social structure, and economic organization of the first cities
of the Aegean, using an integrated framework—a dialectic between faunal,
botanical, environmental, and archaeological and historical data.
Changes in methodology and the development of
a diachronic perspective in the Aegean over the past 20 years have effectively
resituated the problem of classical city-state formation in a Mediterranean
(Andersen et al. 1997; Sherratt and Sherratt 1993) and world-wide discourse
in archaeology (Nichols and Charlton 1997; Southall 1998). Researchers
however still lack basic data on the form of nascent cities (ca. 700-600
B.C.), the process of urbanization in the Early Iron Age (ca. 1200-700 B.C.),
and the formation of political institutions and economic systems that form
their structure. In support of models of city-state formation and organization,
classical archaeologists still require data that are contemporary with the
conditions and processes in question (ca. 800-500 B.C.): household form
and consumption patterns; the economic relationships between emerging civic
institutions and social systems such as households, clans, and corporate
groups; and the architectural materialization of an urban structure and
new community identity. These processes and interactions are potentially
definable archaeologically and comparable across the diverse environments
and cultures in the Mediterranean basin. The Azoria project brings
together American and Greek archaeologists with widely differing experiences,
backgrounds, and perspectives to form a dialogue on the question of the emergence
of the city-state. The participation of prehistorians, classical archaeologists,
historians, zooarchaeologists, palaeoethnobotanists, physical anthropologists,
and geomorphologists presents an unusual opportunity to integrate the results
of a wide range of analyses into the study of human-environment interaction;
to examine the occupants of Azoria as producers, consumers, and as agents
of environmental change in the landscape.
6. TIME TABLE
Within the present funding period, we plan two ten-week excavation seasons
(2005-2006) and one ten-week field-study season (2007). The total
plan of work involves five ten-week seasons of excavation (2002-2006) and
five ten-week seasons (2007-2011) of study and writing toward final publication.
Each excavation season consists of seven weeks of excavation and three weeks
of preliminary study and reporting, from May until August. Annually,
the period from September to April will be spent conducting library research
and preparing preliminary publications. Botanical and faunal analyses
will take place concurrent with the excavation seasons (2005-2006) at the
Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP-SCEC).
The study season in 2007 will be conducted on Crete from May until August
at the INSTAP-SCEC in Pacheia Ammos Crete. During the course of the
year (September-May) analyses will also be conducted at the Wiener Laboratory
of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (bone and wood charcoal
analysis), the Research Laboratories for Archaeology at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill (seed analysis), and the Department of Anthropology
at the NMNH, Smithsonian Institution (bone analysis).
7. DISSEMINATION OF DATA
Original excavation records are housed in the library of the Institute
for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete, in the Archive of the
American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and eventually digitized
records will be a component of the central data-base of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina Digital Library
Resource [diglib.unc.edu]). Preliminary reports of excavation are currently
published on-line annually each fall, and publicly available (www.azoria.org).
Annual preliminary reports are published in printed from in the British School
of Archaeology’s Archaeological Reports (cf. vol. 49 [2002-2003] 83-84) and
Hesperia (Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens).
Oral interim reports are delivered at the annual meetings of the Archaeological
Institute of America, the Society for American Archaeology, and if appropriate,
the American Schools of Oriental Research. Specialists will contribute
to a final book form of publication and concurrently, and at various appropriate
stages of study, any number of synthetic and interpretive works, articles,
or problem-oriented studies. We will also publish a single-volume synthesis
of the excavation written for both students and lay audience.
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