Once home to a thriving civilisation of seafarers that used to rule the region some 3,000 years ago, Crete shares the cultural wealth and exciting historical layering that makes the entire Eastern Mediterranean region so unique. From palaces to abodes, and from prehistoric settlements to Byzantine monasteries, Crete is a history-lover’s heaven, where an accidental move of a rock can reveal a century-old pottery fragment that has its own story to tell. The science of archaeology has developed sophisticated methods of locating, identifying and excavating such items, and there are many active archaeological digs all across Crete that try to decipher the mysteries whose traces have otherwise been lost to us. Elounda Gulf Villas offers the opportunity to visit one such site in collaboration with Discover Greek Culture, an organisation offering specialised guided tours about local culture and history.
The tour “Origins of Crete” will take you from Elounda Gulf Villas directly to an archaeological site 55 minutes to the south, near a small village called Anatoli. There you will be greeted by the archaeologists working on the site, and you’ll see from up close what it really means to dig the earth and study a site of historical and archaeological importance. Refreshments and snacks will be served while one of your hosts gives an introduction to the history of the area, as well as the way an archaeological dig is organised. After that, a top archaeologist will present the main methods of archaeological research; focusing on Minoan pottery, you will learn how findings are dated and documented in order to be used as data for scientific research. You will also be introduced to the basic methods of environmental archaeology, and learn how scientists can arrive at conclusions about the environmental conditions of a particular time in the past, through soil sampling and other methods.
Your heart might jump a bit once you realise that you’re probably breathing the same air and sitting on the same rocks that a small tribe used to do dozens of centuries ago —but worry not: that’s the kick of being an archaeologist in Greece!
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