Zagora Archaeological Project

The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens in conjunction with Department of Archaeology of the University of Sydney, The Powerhouse Museum and the Archaeological Society at Athens has been excavating at the Island of Andros under the auspices of the Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP), which took place for about six weeks in 2012, 2013 and 2014. This was a return to excavations at Zagora after some 40 years.

The settlement of Zagora, is on the Aegean island of Andros, about two hours by ferry from mainland Greece.

The people of Zagora left around 700 BCE. We’re not sure why but it may have been that the water supply dried up and could no longer support them. The area was not resettled – which means that the buildings were left as they had been lived in. Zagora is like a snapshot in time.

Many other archaeological sites have been ruined by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or the ravages of war. Or their architecture and artefacts portray a less clear picture due to successive periods of habitation by different peoples, obscuring or confusing the evidence of earlier habitation.

The settlement layout at Zagora – over 6.7 hectares – was not disturbed by subsequent settlement. The building materials weren’t used to modify the buildings or moved to make different structures with them, as is often the case where there have been successive settlements.

Of course not much remains standing after almost 3,000 years; the buildings collapsed where they had stood. But the building layout remains, along with objects and object pieces – mostly pottery, in the rooms where they had been stored and used. This provides clear evidence of how life was lived at Zagora – which is extremely rare among central Aegean Early Iron Age sites.

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