This listing expired on April 1, 2017. Please contact for any updated information.
Azoria Project 2017 (Volunteer Program)

Location: Kavousi, Crete, Greece

May 27, 2017 to July 17, 2017

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 31, 2017

Deadline Type: 

Program Type


RPA certified



The Department of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll; UNC-CH Research Laboratories of Archaeology

Project Director:

Donald C. Haggis

Project Description

The 2017 program constitutes the final excavation season of the Azoria Project. This summer will be the 10th field season and the 16th year of the Project. Since 2002, the Azoria Project has trained over 35 graduate students in classics, archaeology, and anthropology (trench supervisors and area specialists); and more than 200 undergraduate and graduate student trench assistants. At least 20 of our undergraduate staff members have continued on to conduct graduate work (including two NSF fellows) in classics, classical archaeology, anthropology, and archaeology. Student participants have come from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, France, Australia, and New Zealand.

Space is limited. Please contact the project director as soon as possible with an application, which consists of a brief email ( statement of your academic status (department, major) and interest in joining the Azoria Project; and an academic CV or list of relevant courses, museum, lab or fieldwork in archaeology, art history, classics, anthropology, or ancient history.

Undergraduate and graduate students may apply to join the Azoria Project as trench assistants--that is as student staff members of the project, assigned to excavation trenches, and conducting much of the excavation and processing of finds. In this capacity, trench assistants conduct primary excavation, sieving (dry screening), and the collection and sorting of finds, while assisting trench supervisors (graduate-student trenchmasters) in routines of documentation and management of finds. Trench assistants also rotate into positions assisting with the processing of artifacts and plant and animal remains.

Preference is normally, but not exclusively, given to applicants majoring in classics, classical archaeology, ancient history, anthropology, archaeology, or related fields, with specific interests in classical archaeology, Greek archaeology, or Aegean prehistory. Previous fieldwork experience is useful but not required.

The Azoria Project is the excavation of the Early Iron Age-Archaic site of Azoria (ca. 1200-480 B.C.) on the island of Crete in the Greek Aegean (, conducted under the auspices of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, by permission of the Greek Ministry of Culture, and with the support of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP- SCEC), the UNC Research Laboratories of Archaeology, and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology.

The purpose of the program is to introduce students to diverse aspects of archaeological excavation in Greece, including stages of recovery, processing and study. A secondary aim is to introduce students to the archaeology of Crete, and the periods and cultures represented by the site and region of Azoria. Students will have the opportunity to work as assistants to field archaeologists and various specialists, learning excavation, recording, and conservation techniques first-hand.

The aims of fieldwork at Azoria have been to recover and document the remains of an early Greek city, reconstructing the sociopolitical and economic organization of the urban center, and studying the earliest phases of urbanization in the classical Aegean. Current work is investigating the transition from the Early Iron Age to the Archaic periods (1200-500 B.C.), the early development of the city, and emerging social and political institutions.

There are two primary locations of fieldwork. The first is the excavation site of Azoria, where students participate in the primary excavation and data recovery and processing stage of the project. The second location is the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete (INSTAP-SCEC) in Pacheia Ammos, which is the research center that provides the Azoria Project storage, processing, and work space; library; laboratories; and conservation and computer facilities. Students in the program will be working regularly in the study areas of the INSTAP SCEC during sessions of finds processing and analysis; and will have access to the library and computer facilities during operating hours of the facility. The project will provide transportation to and from the site and the SCEC facility.

An important component of the fieldwork at Azoria is local and international public engagement and education by conserving, fencing, and creating permanent signage, and access paths on the site.

Site preservation and field conservation are conducted along with excavation, through the Field Conservation Program (FCP), with students working along side villagers from Kavousi, members of local and regional cultural groups and archaeological communities, and researchers, with the goal of preserving and presenting the site and the results of excavation to the scholarly world and general public. Students may also rotate between excavation, lab work, and site conservation.

The project participation fee covers room costs and transportation to and from the site and SCEC. Food and travel to Crete are not covered by this fee.

Program Costs and Payment Information:

The participation fee is $3000. The fee covers student housing, transportation to and from the site and INSTAP Study Center, instruction, one or two common meals, and institutional fees. Daily board (food and personal costs) and transportation to and from Greece, Crete, and the village of Kavousi, are not covered in this fee. The Volunteer Program does not offer college course credit, though a reference letter certifying participation is available.

Payment of the fee is required before April 1 to secure a position in the program. Checks should be made payable to the "University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill," with Azoria Project Fund in the memo line of the check; and mailed directly to Donald Haggis at Department of Classics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 212 Murphey Hall, CB 3145, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3145.

For detailed information on the schedule of work; details of travel to Crete; suggestions for personal equipment and supplies; and insurance; please see the general information sheet.

For application instructions and periodic updates on program information consult the Azoria Fieldwork Opportunities page.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early Iron Age and Archaic Greece, 1200-500 B.C. (Late Minoan IIIC, Early Iron Age, and Archaic Crete)

The Azoria Project is the excavation of an Archaic city (7th-6th c. B.C.) on the island of Crete in the Greek Aegean. The aims of fieldwork are 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 focus on the transition from the Early Iron Age (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 program in 2017 constitutes the final field season of the Project. Positions for student trench assistants are limited and early applications will receive timely confirmation.

Project size: 
25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Seven weeks

Experience required: 
Previous field experience desirable but not required for undergraduate volunteers.

Room and Board Arrangements

Students reside in local villages of Pacheia Ammos and Kavousi, both located near the excavation site of Azoria and the research facility (Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete). Students live in prearranged rental rooms (pensions or small hotels). The rental rooms are simple, but clean, comfortable, well kept, and secure establishments; and the owners have some 40 years experience in hosting archaeologists and students. Linens, towels and toilet paper are provided and changed weekly. Other personal items are to be supplied by students individually. Student room assignments (by gender) are made by the project director. The rooms contain two or three beds, a closet, tables, and bathroom (bathing and toilet facilities). The rooms normally cluster around or connect to a common areas with seating, balcony or patio space, and sometimes common refrigerators.


Both of these villages have small grocery stores with packaged food, drinks, and fresh produce of all kinds; bakeries; tavernas (restaurants) and coffee shops. Furthermore, regular bus service between the villages and nearby towns of Ierapetra and Ayios Nikolaos provides students access to larger super markets, farmers’ markets, and bakeries if needed. While there will be at least one group meal during the excavation season, students are expected, on a daily basis, to feed themselves. On a normal working day, students will stop at a local bakery or grocery store in the morning (or the evening) before going up to the site, to purchase bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, or local pastries for their breakfast and lunch. For a late lunch or snack after work, and for dinner, students normally patronize one of several local tavernas, which offer complete prepared meals as well as fast food, salads, and sandwiches. Finally, all of the student rooms are equipped with refrigerators for storing drinks, fruit, vegetables, cheese and other food, but cooking is not permitted in the rooms.

$3,000 total participation fee includes room, institutional fees (ASCSA and INSTAP), local transportation costs to site and INSTAP SCEC.

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Donald C. Haggis
Department of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
Recommended Bibliography: 

Recent publication list

D.C. Haggis, M.S. Mook, R.D. Fitzsimons, C.M. Scarry, and L.M.Snyder, “Excavation of Archaic Houses at Azoria in 2005-2006," Hesperia 80 (2011), pp. 431-489.

D.C. Haggis, M.S. Mook, R.D. Fitzsimons, C.M. Scarry, L.M.Snyder, and W.C. West, "Excavations in the Archaic Civic Buildings at Azoria in 2005-2006," Hesperia  80 (2011) 1-70.

Web-based resources:
Azoria Project Archive