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VIRTUAL - A Land Called Crete: From Harriet Boyd Hawes to the Cretan Collections Project

February 21, 2021 Central Time

This is an online event.

AIA Society: Milwaukee

Lecturer: Andrew Koh

Born in Boston on 1871, Harriet Boyd Hawes was introduced to the classical world by her brother and eventually earned a classics degree from Smith College. Encouraged to become a teacher or librarian, Hawes was nevertheless determined to overcome norms of the day to conduct archaeological fieldwork. Spurred by her father’s death in 1896, Hawes made her way to Greece and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, where women were officially accepted if effectively marginalized. Awarded an AIA fellowship in 1898, Hawes spent the next two years soaking in everything Greece had to offer until Crete beckoned. Despite ongoing hurdles, the intrepid Hawes left Herakleion on April 1900 for East Crete and by the following year became the first woman to direct major excavations in the Aegean at Gournia (and address the AIA), inaugurating one of the most remarkable chapters in the annals of archaeological research.

Prior to Gournia, Hawes excavated a smattering of smaller Late Minoan III sites in East Crete. Overshadowed by Gournia, these eclectic, hybridizing finds from the Final Bronze Age have been largely forgotten. Mostly unpublished, they hold a major key to better understanding migrations and cultural interconnectivity (and societal reactions to these phenomena) during one of the best-documented and most disruptive cross-cultural mass events in ancient history – the Bronze Age Collapse. The Final Bronze Age in the Mediterranean was a particularly dynamic period characterized by displacement and turmoil as its mighty Bronze Age empires disintegrated. Crete has played a surprisingly minor role in reconstructions of Pan-Mediterranean narratives despite its central location and noteworthy documentary references, such as those that place it as a homeland of the Philistines. Thanks to the forgotten excavations of Hawes and her successors, the Cretan Collections Project through a blend of traditional and archaeometric analyses can now highlight the great potential these smaller LM III assemblages hold to unraveling the complex inter-regional connections that would help define a new world of emergent Iron Age cultural microclimates such as classical Greece.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Adams, A. 2010. Ladies of the Field: Early Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure. Vancouver: D&M Publishers.

Cline, E. H. 2014. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Turning Points in Ancient History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Matson Lecture

Please go to the Milwaukee Society’s website and follow the instructions for joining the online lecture on Microsoft Teams.

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February 21, 2021
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Emily Stanton


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