Welcome to archaeologists

by Wayne Mullen, Chief Operating Officer,
Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens

Zagora has been part of my life for many years. I don’t really mean that it’s inhabited every waking moment, it is a much more subtle thing than that. Zagora has been a presence, a memory and a dream. I’ve been working here at the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens since 1997, and even back when I started this job the Zagora excavations were long over, having come to a conclusion twenty years before, in 1977.

But the dig was always there, in the corner of my mind. Legends about its importance to Australian archaeology abounded and the hope was always there that someday an Australian team could return. Zagora, for me, was a book about the excavations lying on a library shelf, a box of slides in the storeroom, a plan here, a drawing there, a photograph, a story told by old team members.

Zagora book on CANESSA bookshelf
Zagora book on AAIA bookshelf; photo by Wayne Mullen; © AAIA

And after so many years of dormancy and then behind-the-scenes work it has been wonderful to see the site and excavations side of the project slowly come back to life – first through my colleague Beatrice McLoughlin’s research about the large storage jars from Zagora, then with the plan to complete the publication of the original excavations…and now with the project to reopen the excavations on Andros themselves!

Zagora 16mm film spools
Zagora film spools; photo by Wayne Mullen; © AAIA
I can’t begin to tell you how much work this has involved on the part of the team. I’ve only witnessed a small part of what has been required, but it has shown to me how much archaeology is a labour of love as much as a profession! To have students and archaeologists back at the site will be a dream come true. Zagora is truly an important site – but more than that, it is a completely wonderful place to visit, a space that truly takes your breath away.

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