Beyond the Trenches

Daily Life at Zominthos

During the excavation, everyday life is quite tough. We get up early in the morning and ascend Psiloritis; a bit sleepy, to be honest, but ready to conquer the world for one more day. We are all eager to start working on our trenches, which are going to reveal more traces of the past—a past that, without a shadow of a doubt, was glorious 3,600 years before present, as indicated by the number and wealth of finds already unearthed at this site.

1. Excavation, recording

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Cameraman Giorgos Christodoulou documents every single step of the Zominthos excavations. Here he films area 2, while the archaeologists take detailed field notes and the architects produce ground plans of the excavated areas. Left to right: Giorgos Charitos, Ioanna Konsolaki, Leuteris Kavousanakis, and Babis Markomichelakis

Excavating, however, is far more than digging for artifacts. It is a carefully planned destruction of a site—because once the site is dug, it no longer exists. We record as many details as possible, preserving not only the artifacts but many, many other types of information, by using our knowledge of various disciplines, along with sophisticated technologies. In this way, the site is not lost forever, but can be reexamined through the notes, maps, samples, drawings, photographs, videos, and other data collected during the excavation. Meanwhile, we impart our knowledge to the hundreds of visitors that are guided through the site each summer.

1. Tour

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Although Zominthos is not yet open to the public, many groups are guided through the site during the summer months. Here, Yannis and Efi Sakellarakis speak with visitors.

Archaeology offers the opportunity to learn new things every single day, whether in the field or the lab, by analyzing the results of investigations. We are a combination of Indiana Jones and Agatha Christie’s detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. With lots of luck and archaeological instinct, we reveal the mysteries of the Cretan mountains, travel back in time, and transport ourselves to some unusual and enchanting places.

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Yiangos Chairetis, Kostas Dayandas, and Markus Kampfer use geomagnetic prospection to reveal underlying structures.

Zominthos is a charming place where all the features of Minoan archaeology are amalgamated, which is why we need to be careful as we excavate, not to miss any piece that could be added to the puzzle of the archaeology of the mountains. Using toothbrushes, paintbrushes, knives, pickaxes, and scoops, depending on the way we want to excavate, we try to gradually discover traces of highlanders’ real life and merge the elements that lead to a better understanding of the Minoan tranquillity.

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North facade of the Central Building covered in snow

Interactive Digs: