The Azoria Project is the excavation of an Archaic city (7th-6th c. B.C.) on the island of Crete in the Greek Aegean. Completing an initial five years of excavation in 2006, the aims of fieldwork have been to document the form of an early Greek city, reconstructing the sociopolitical and economic organization, and studying the process of urbanization. Current study and future excavation (2013-2017) focuses on the transition from the Early Iron Age (EIA; 1200-700 B.C.) to Archaic periods, the early development of the city, and the material correlates for emerging social and political institutions in the Archaic period. The excavation constitutes the first case study of the political economy of Archaic Crete, while augmenting our knowledge of the agropastoral resource base of Aegean communities in early stages of urbanization, by means of an integrated framework derived from excavation—a dialectic between faunal, botanical, environmental, archaeological and historical data. For more information see the project website (www.azoria.org), and the Azoria Project Archive in the Carolina Digital Repository.
Excavations are resuming in summer 2013; information here.
The Morgantina project began in 1955, directed by Princeton University professors Erik Sjöqvist and Richard Stillwell, and continued on under the direction of Prof. Hugh Allen of the University of Illinois, beginning in the late 1960's. In 1978, Malcolm Bell III, professor of classical art and archaeology at the University of Virginia, took over the project with the goal of continued excavation and publishing late Classical and Hellenistic Morgantina. In 1990, Carla Antonaccio (then at Wesleyan University), herself also a Princeton graduate, assumed responsibility for excavating and publishing the post-8th century BCE settlement on Cittadella. The project now involves the collaboration of several scholars at institutions in the U.S., Italy, Sweden, and Great Britain.
For more information about the project, see morgantina.org.
Professor Jodi Magness, is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She now co-directs excavations at the site of Huqoq in Galilee (Israel).
A monumental synagogue building dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (ca. 4th to 6th centuries C.E.) has been discovered and in 2012 an important mosaic floor in this building.
Dr. Kenneth Sams, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has directed excavations of the Phrygian capital of Gordion in central Turkey since 1987. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (UPM) began excavations of the city in 1950. Excavation information is available on the museum website.
Among the discoveries, was a well-preserved monarchical tomb, assumed to be that of King Midas, considered to be the earliest known intact wooden structure in the world. Wooden furniture and bronze pottery vessels with food residue were found in 1957 by the University of Pennsylvania team, providing insight into the burial ceremony, arts and funerary customs of the ancient Phrygians.
Excavation continued in the late 1980s focused on the stratigraphic evidence of artifacts and floral and faunal samples, to support study of the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age, as well as to study regional settlement patterns. In the 1990s, study focused on the Middle Phrygian through Hellenistic/early imperial Roman periods.
Professor Mary Voigt, of William and Mary directs fieldwork relating to the rise of the Phrygian state “in the early 1st millennium BC, the effect of the Persian conquest of Gordion (ca. 550 BC), and the nature of the migration by ethnic Celts to Gordion (ca. 250 BC).”