End Game

Zea Harbour Project 2010 – Week 13: End Game.

Fieldwork ended this week on November 30th and it has been a year with findings of epic proportions (fig. 2). We have now entered the final stage of the 2010 season, and although we can hardly claim to be part of a Shakespearean tragic love story, saying goodbye to everyone, after a campaign of fun, hard work, tired bodies and brains, does leave us somewhat sad, but also excited with the anticipation of next year’s campaign. Nevertheless, 2010 is not quite done yet.

Part of the team has now shifted to the head-quarters, in order to make sure that everything is described and illustrated in the final archaeological reports. The wrap-up phase is always challenging, but this year was marked by a remarkable low stress-level, as everything was well planned and the project members worked in sync to finish all chores on time! The dive team concluded the back-filling and site preservation in Mikrolimano, while they also took down and wrapped up all the gear we have been working with this year, in both harbours.

In the head-quarters, Ioannis Sapountzis, our ceramics specialist, has been busy registering our finds. This involves a lot of database work with finds being of less significance that will be safely re-deposited in next year’s campaign. On the other hand, Vassilis Tsiairis, dive master and technical supervisor of the project, was in charge of the demanding task of cleaning and maintaining all the equipment that was used throughout the 2010 campaign.

While all this was going on, the survey team led by Richard C. Anderson had a somewhat historical job to do (Fig. 3). For the first time we can now link the digital, three dimensional plans of the two harbours. This was achieved by a “tripod traversing” from Mikrolimano, across the entire Koumoundourou Hill, along the coast and through streets ending at Zea – it is a big step forward for our topographical understanding of the Piraeus.

This week’s grand finale was Sanne Hoffmann’s lecture about our work at the Danish National Museum (Fig. 1) as a part of the exhibition “Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Archaeology”.

But it has not been all work and no play. As we say goodbye to the ZHP this year, we also saygoodbye to team members who will be returning to their home countries. In keeping with the tradition we therefore had a great final dinner. This year it was held at a wonderful, completely inconspicuous (almost anonymous) little Italian place just outside Piraeus. The food was fantastic; we are still talking about it, and probably will be for some time to come.

As we say goodbye to the project, some of us also say goodbye to Greece, to the Mediterranean sun, and to 25˚ Celsius, and we get to say hello to the cold, dark north, with -20˚ Celsius, biting winds and tons of snow… Sad indeed ..We cannot wait till next year, and we hope that neither can you!

Fig. 1 Sanne Hoffmann presenting news ‘fresh from the sea’ at the Danish National Museum.

Authors: Bjørn Lovén, Mads Møller Nielsen & Ioannis Sapountzis

  • Fig. 2 Artictic reconstruction of the harbour fortifications and shipshed groups that were investigated at Mounichia in 2010 (Nakas).

  • Fig. 3 Richard C. Anderson ‘shooting’ from the Koumoundourou Hill to a prism station on the coast beetween the Mounichia and Zea harbours.