I-UTRA Koutroulou Magoula Archaeological Fieldwork 2019 InfoSession

, 008

The Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography Project: An interdisciplinary field project in central Greece

Yannis Hamilakis
Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and Professor of Modern Greek Studies (y.hamilakis@brown.edu)

Koutroulou Magoula is a multi-period archaeological site (a tell - artificial mound) in central Greece, which is becoming increasingly known internationally due to its astonishing preservation and its diverse and unusual material record, as well as the pioneering archaeological and ethnographic methodologies adopted in its exploration. The main period of use of the site is the Middle Neolithic (c. 6000-5800 BCE) when it was a habitation settlement; in the Late Bronze Age (c. 1500 BCE) the site was used for burials, and an elaborate tholos (bee-hived) tomb was constructed at the top of the mound, next to the Neolithic buildings. In the 12th c. CE the site was used again for burials, and an inhumation burial of a young woman was excavated by our team.

Since 2009 the site is being explored as part of the Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography interdisciplinary project, under my co-direction. The project relies on the participation of a large number of scholars and other specialists, including anthropologists, geoarchaeologists, archaeobotanists, archaeozoologists, organic residue specialists, ceramic petrographers, bioarchaeologists and physical anthropologists, soil micro-morphologists, computing application specialists, even performance artists and theatre specialists. Three Universities are currently participating with students and specialists in this project: Brown, University College London (UCL), and National University of Taiwan, in addition to individual scholars from many institutions around the world.

Through this detailed interdisciplinary work, we have unearthed a very elaborate settlement with extremely well preserved, stone and mud brick buildings, occupied by a community which was engaged in large scale communal projects, including terracing and the construction of large, perimeter ditches around the settlement. This community also produced and used impressive material culture, including clay figurines, c. 500 of each have already being unearthed and studied, one of the largest such collections from the Neolithic of South Eastern Europe. They are extremely diverse in terms of technology, form, and decoration, and they often depict hybrid human-animal beings or entirely fantastic entities.

The project has the potential to rewrite the archaeology of the Balkan and European Neolithic, given its unique features, preservation, and interdisciplinary nature of our work.

Excavation dates for 2019: mid June to mid-July
Info meeting: 13 December 4.30 pm, RIH 008.

Deadline for expression of interest (inc. bio, and an idea of an independent project): 23 December 2018