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photo of Joanne Murphy

Dr. Joanne Murphy (Classical Studies) received new funding from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory for the project “Kea Archaeology Research Survey: Testing the Value of Survey Data.”

The study of the ancient remains on the surface of the ground, as opposed to excavation, has dominated the methodological debate in Greek archaeology. The project will make a significant contribution to this debate by testing the longevity of survey results using the Greek island of Kea as a case study. Kea (or Keos) was surveyed in 1983-1984 by an international team of archaeologists.

During the twenty-five years since the survey was conducted, much of the activity on the island has changed; more houses are being built along the coast and less farming is being carried out in the fields. These changes in activity alter access to and visibility of archaeological sites. The vicissitudes of activity in the landscape raise the question of the accuracy and longevity of conclusions drawn from survey.

This project aims to question the long-term validity of survey data by resurveying Kea using the same methodologies as the original surveyors and an alternative set of methodologies to see if we can still reach the same conclusions twenty-five years later. This will be the first project of its type in Greece and has the potential to assess and refine our appreciation of the value of survey as a reliable archaeological research method.

The general underlying assumption of surface archaeology is that the landscape recreated from survey data is an accurate picture of the ancient landscape that informs us about land use, population density, politics, and trade in antiquity. The veracity of the assumption has yet to be tested.

Researchers will continue studying the artifacts collected in 2012-2014 and take samples of ceramics, lithics, and sherds from Kephala and Paouras for scientific sampling to reconstruct the early technologies and networks on Kea and in western Aegean.

 
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