by Paul Donnelly
Powerhouse Museum Curator and Archaeologist
While driving along the twenty minute winding drive between the Zagora site and the dig HQ at Batsi the team convoy enjoys the twice-daily morning and evening sight of the distant sparkling sea patterned by fingers of sunlight silvering patches of blue and only broken by the peaks of neighbouring islands and far-off mainland. The proximity of these neighbours demonstrates the commonality of Greek island life while at the same time emphasising their independence from each other. Our daily scene makes it easy to understand the development of the small city-state or Polis that is so distinctive to ancient Greek political and social development.
It also explains how it is possible to have distinctive island-by-island design features that are the result of local responses to the availability of materials as well as the demands of the landscape and local climate. My previous post on the schist field walls of Andros is one example and another is the distinctive corrugated and white-washed rendering covering the exterior walls of many buildings right across Andros.