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The Sphakia Survey: Research Methods

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posted on 2024-01-04, 15:40 authored by Sphakia Survey

1. Environmental

  • definition of environmental zones
  • geology, sediments, erosion
  • historical ecology/vegetation land-use observations
  • pollen core in Frangokastello; earlier core just outside, near Kallikrati
  • tree rings
  • satellite images
  • aerial photographs (with thanks to the Greek Ministry of the Environment and Land-use)

2. Archaeological

a. fieldwork

  • design of sampling programme this is the EMC/CV article of 1988
  • confirming sites already discovered
  • contour transects, line transects, kilometer squares, moseys, free excavations
  • special intensive collection of large sites such as Loutro/Phoinix and Anopoli ("vacuuming")
  • revisiting and recording sites
  • drawing plans for sites with standing remains (Roman houses, Byzantine churches)
  • site photography

b. post-fieldwork

  • diagramming and date-diagramming
  • study of finds by pottery specialists
  • pottery fabric research
  • study of finds by specialists on lithics (obsidian, chert), bones, coins
  • drawing artefacts
  • construction of databases
  • finds photography

3. Documentary

  • Graeco-Roman tomb inscriptions
  • Graeco-Roman texts (e.g. Theophrastus on cypress trees)
  • Byzantine MSS
  • Venetian reports (relazioni), drawings, and maps
  • Turkish-period tax records
  • 18th-century land sale documents
  • ecclesiastical records
  • foreign travellers' accounts (e.g. Randolph, quoted in EMC/CV 1989
  • novels (Ioannis Kondilakis, Patouchas; Evelyn Waugh, the Sword of Honour, trilogy)
  • Cretan songs (mantinades) and proverbs

4. Local

  • Toponyms (topothesies, ‘place-puttings’ for landscape features as well as settlements)
  • water sources
  • agricultural practices (e.g. vines, grain)
  • shepherding
  • bee-keeping
  • weaving
  • use of lime kilns
  • timing of work throughout the year
  • routes (footpaths; kaldirimia = built mule tracks, car roads)
  • trade and exchange (e.g. lumber from Samaria for grain from the Messara Plain in south central Crete; pottery)


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