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Drew Cabaniss
Classical Archaeology Undergraduate 

This summer I was given the opportunity to work as a trench master at Azoria in Crete. Directed by Donald Haggis of UNC-CH and Peggy Mook of Iowa State, the project is working on excavating an Archaic city destroyed by a fire around 500 BCE. The first five-year campaign excavated two public buildings as well as service facilities and several houses. Its continuing mission is to excavate Archaic houses and elucidate the organization of the site.


For the field season we stay in Kavousi, the village of nearly 600 people that lies 700 feet below the hilltop where the site looks out over the Bay of Mirabello. Each morning we ride up to the site to dig until two in the afternoon. We spend the afternoons processing finds, working on notebooks, and helping at the apoteke, the regional storehouse and study center that the project uses.

As a trench master I oversaw the excavation of a terrace below the large communal dining building and helped document finds from the kitchen and storeroom of a newly excavated house. We continued to uncover pieces of the massive spine walls that unify the site into discrete terraces, as well as the remains of the massive terraforming project that reshaped the hill to create space for the Archaic town.

This upcoming summer I plan on returning to Azoria as a trench master. I will also work on constructing a geospatial database of the site’s finds so that we can contextualize artifacts and rooms more easily across the site. This will form the foundation of my honors thesis in classical archaeology on Archaic urbanism, comparing social and economic organization at the sites of Prinias, Zagora, and Azoria. Following that, I plan to attend graduate school for classical archaeology, where I will continue to work on applying computational and quantitative methods to Greek archaeology and social dynamics.