Closing the Books on the 2016 Field Season

6TLR P3483
Preliminary drawing of Mouliana stirrup jar

With preliminary drawings finished on our ceramic objects in the Siteia Museum (beautifully done by Tina Ross and Ally Walsh as seen above), we can mark the end of our 2016 field season. As most of you know, field seasons are usually just the beginning of year-round research for archaeology. There is data to process before we let students on our campuses join the slow, steady march towards publication. For us, the next milestone will be the 2017 AIA/SCS Annual Meeting in Toronto, where we hope to present our research in both paper and poster sessions.

MP at ZouMinoan Zou with Prinias and Praisos in the background, land of the Eteo-Cretans

In the meantime, we are fortunate to have our research integrated into programs at Brandeis, Rhodes, and other institutions with student participation serving as vital components throughout these research nodes. Training in the field and at home has been a mandate of our project from the beginning, which we feel has been neglected of late as older projects focus on finishing long-awaited publications before the retirement of critical staff members. As a younger project without this immediate worry, we can afford to integrate our students patiently, which helps to ensure steady progress towards publication and the tangible recognition of their involvement through papers, posters, theses, dissertations, etc.

MP at Zakros
Palace at Zakros, Minoan gateway to the east

In future seasons, we hope to expand this mentality of archaeological “apprenticing” to more facets of our team as established scholars take students under their wings during a period of anticipated expansion into disciplines such as paleoethnobotany, zooarchaeology, human osteology, and geomorphology. This will complement ongoing research in traditional fields such as ceramic, topographic, and architectural studies along with cutting-edge scientific approaches already established in 3D imaging, GIS, and chemical analyses among others.

Thank you again for your support. We hope to see you in Toronto or perhaps even on Crete one day! In the meantime, we will keep you posted on what is happening stateside with periodic updates here in cyberspace.

Best wishes,
Andrew and Miriam, co-directors


MP Sunrise at Tripitos
Sunrise over Trypitos, possibly ancient Polichna (harbor of Praisos)

7th Inning Stretch and Collaboration

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MP team studying ceramics at SM

Now that we have found 46/50 Mouliana objects and rigorously documented them using the latest digital and scientific techniques, we have arrived at a good juncture to reflect on our successful season as we enter the final portion of our summer on Crete.

I was recently asked by a non-archaeologist colleague for one word that best exemplifies what we do and the first one that came to mind was collaboration. We could not have accomplished what we have this summer without the patience, support, and good humor of many individuals both within our home institutions and outside of them.

Even before our arrival on Crete, our team members received training and support from many sectors at Brandeis University and Rhodes College. First and foremost, our home departments (Classical Studies, Art & Art History) and chairs (Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, Erin Harmon) were critical for our success. As we photographed and analyzed objects, we only needed to look down at our instruments and tools to see our institutions inscribed on them. We’ve collaborated with the best experts possible like our colleagues Ian Roy (Brandeis Library and Technology Services) and B. Lee Drake (University of New Mexico and Bruker). We cannot begin to express our gratitude to all those who have made these archaeological “luxuries’ possible.

Finally, we need to acknowledge all our friends and colleagues in Greece. In addition to those from AMH mentioned in an earlier post and the 24th Ephorate, we continued to receive precious time from generous individuals such as Tom Brogan (INSTAP) and Dora Medouri (Siteia Archaeological Museum). Though collaborations can be time-consuming to forge and maintain, they are the foundations on which all successful archaeological projects are built.

MP ORA at SMMP LiDAR at SM cropped

Successful First Half of Season

DSC_0617View of Mouliana Sellades (“saddle”) from a nearby hill

Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated team and especially the unfailing energy of Dr. Georgia Flouda, we have documented all known Mouliana Sellades objects at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion including bronzes, gold, iron, ceramics, faience, and a larnax. No small feat when you consider the 113 years since excavation with two world wars on or around the island. The museum itself was bombed in WW II! We now turn to the future with a handful of ceramics remaining in the Sitia Archaeological Museum.

DSC_0768Team preparing for documentation

With your support, our hope in the future is to complete our study of the wonderful LM IIIC warrior graves at Mouliana Sellades with the documentation of the tombs themselves, if we are fortunate enough to gain permission from the Ministry of Culture and the KD ephorate. We particularly wish Alison Crandall (PhD student, UCLA Archaeology), Sarah Schofield-Mansur (PhD student, Brandeis Anthropology), and Anna Krohn (MA student, Brandeis Ancient Greek and Roman Studies) safe travels at this point as they return to the States. Kalo taxidi!

DSC_0800Team taking a weekend trip to the Minoan “temple” at Anemospilia

Amazing First Week at AMH


We had an amazing first week at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion thanks to Dr. Georgia Flouda (Co-Director of the Mouliana Project, Curator of AMH), Dr. Stella Mandalaki (Director of AMH), and the rest of the incredible staff at AMH. It included five long and intense workdays where we worked through every available minute with only short breaks.

While we are unable to share most details due to publication and permit restrictions, I can answer the most common question of whether we saw anything good with the immortal words of Howard Carter, “Yes, wonderful things.” I can share below a collage of Mouliana material from 1904. It includes the bronze sword with intact grip and pommel we have lovingly dubbed “Excalibur” and could not fathom sat inches before us on a study table (full disclosure: misty eyes were present). A museum cabinet with a gold mask, gold rings, and jewelry is photo restricted so please visit the museum in person for these items or wait for our upcoming publications!

We extend our many thanks to our families and supporters who have made this project and dream week possible.

Dr. Andrew Koh, co-director

Artifacts from Mouliana Warrior Graves, 12th century BCE. After Xanthoudidis 1904

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Get a peek at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the first location where the Mouliana Project will work this summer.

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum located in Heraklion on Crete. It is one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete. 

Museum TV description of video

Siteia, home of the great-hearted Eteo-Cretans

|172 Κρήτη τις γαῖ’ ἔστι μέσῳ ἐνὶ οἴνοπι πόντῳ, |173 καλὴ καὶ πίειρα, περίρρυτος· ἐν δ’ ἄνθρωποι |174 πολλοὶ ἀπειρέσιοι, καὶ ἐννήκοντα πόληες· |175 ἄλλη δ’ ἄλλων γλῶσσα μεμιγμένη· ἐν μὲν Ἀχαιοί, |176 ἐν δ’ Ἐτεόκρητες μεγαλήτορες, ἐν δὲ Κύδωνες |177 Δωριέες τε τριχάϊκες δῖοί τε Πελασγοί· |178 τῇσι δ’ ἐνὶ Κνωσός, μεγάλη πόλις, ἔνθα τε Μίνως |179ἐννέωρος βασίλευε Διὸς μεγάλου ὀαριστής, |180 πατρὸς ἐμοῖο πατήρ, μεγαθύμου Δευκαλίωνος. |181 Δευκαλίων δ’ ἐμὲ τίκτε καὶ Ἰδομενῆα ἄνακτα· |182 ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐν νήεσσι κορωνίσιν Ἴλιον εἴσω |183 ᾤχεθ’ ἅμ’ Ἀτρεΐδῃσιν· ἐμοὶ δ’ ὄνομα κλυτὸν Αἴθων, |184 ὁπλότερος γενεῇ· ὁ δ’ ἅμα πρότερος καὶ ἀρείων.

|172 There’s a land called Crete, in the middle of the sea that looks like wine. |173 It’s beautiful and fertile, surrounded by the waves, and the people who live there |174 are so many that you can’t count them. They have 90 cities. |175 Different people speak different languages, all mixed together. |176 There are Eteo-Cretans, those great-hearted ones. And Cydonians. |177 There are Dorians, with their three divisions, and luminous Pelasgians. |178In this land [plural]2 is Knossos, a great city. There it was that Minos, |179 who was renewed every nine years [enneōros], ruled as king. He was the companion [oaristēs] of Zeus the mighty. |180 And he was the father of my father, Deukalion, the one with the big heart. |181Deukalion was my father, and the father also of Idomeneus the king. |182 That man [= Idomeneus], in curved ships, went off to Ilion [= Troy], |183 yes, he went there together with the sons of Atreus [= Agamemnon and Menelaos]. As for my name, which is famous, it is Aithōn. |184 I’m the younger one by birth. As for the other one [= Idomeneus], he was born before me and is superior to me.

Odyssey 19.172–184 (translation by Gregory Nagy, Classical Inquiries 2015.09.17)