Traditional schist field walls of Andros

by Paul Donnelly
Powerhouse Museum Curator, Design and Society
and Archaeologist

Path to Zagora (seen in the distance)
Path to Zagora (seen in the distance) © PHM; photo by Paul Donnelly
If there is a way to do something more quickly and efficiently then usually human ingenuity comes up with the answer! Andros is criss-crossed with hundreds of kilometres of dry-stone (without binding material) field walls snaking their way up and down the, often very steep, landscape. The walling separates land between different owners and defines walking tracks between fields – the 50 minute walk to the Zagora site is one such access track.

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Tsipouro Feast

by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Online Producer

Our host at the Kantouni Pensione and Cafe, Giorgos Moustakas, invited us all to the Tsipouro Feast, which takes place on the last weekend of October, and marks the start of the annual tsipouro (spirit) production. More information about the festival follows – but for an introduction to the joy of the event, nothing can express it more eloquently than the following video (1 min 38 secs) of the most marvellous music and the enthusiastic cameraderie of the dancing which we all enjoyed – having been generously and warmly welcomed into the event as though we were family.

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Visiting Chora

by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Online Producer

Image of Chora
Image of Chora © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Today, Tuesday 23 October, we went on an excursion – to Chora, Andros. Chora is the main village of Andros, and you can see the Venetian influence in the architecture. Our reason for going there was to visit the Andros Museum, which has a wonderful exhibition devoted to the finds on Zagora. Our visit will inform the work we do at Zagora.

We only had a little while to venture up the hill to the square where the museum is, and a small wander up the main street of shops there. However I snapped the following pics which appealed to me, so I thought I would share them with you. I hope I get back there to explore Chora further because I thought it was gorgeous…. What do you think?

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Arriving at Andros

by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Online Producer

The Zagora team at a Rafina cafe
The Zagora team at a Rafina cafe awaiting the ferry to Andros; © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
On the afternoon of Tuesday 17 October, the Zagora team met at a sidewalk café at the port of Rafina, on the east coast of mainland Greece, to await the 5.30pm ferry to the island of Andros.

Most of us had arrived from Australia either that day, or the day before and had one night in Athens. However we all seemed remarkably jetlag-free – maybe it was due to the enthusiasm about the great adventure of discovery we felt we were all about to embark on.

We arrived at the port of Gavrio on Andros on schedule at 7.30pm, and Meg drove the van, with Stavros aboard, to where we will be staying for the period of the dig: the Kantouni Pensione and Café at Batsi. The rest of us took the bus to Batsi (which leaves shortly after the ferry docks).

We’d been told our accommodation was 50 metres from the beach which we thought was pretty good. However we arrived, to find the beach was actually about 20 metres from the beach – literally just across a narrow road. A thirty second walk to the beach! (However, this is a rarity in archaeological accommodation, which is more usually in a desert in rudimentary accommodation, or in tents.)

Preparing to load the van onto the ferry
Preparing to load the van onto the ferry; © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
Meg drove the van, loaded with gear, onto the ferry, and the rest of us walked aboard. We found out who we were rooming with, and took our luggage upstairs. The project has hired the whole first floor of a charming pensione for the accommodation of the team. Most of us were in rooms with either two or three single beds – so, sharing with one or two others. We all have ensuite bathrooms.

There is a large open air dining area at the front where you hear the wind through the trees and the sound of the ocean lapping the shore. We had a delicious dinner, provided by our Kantouni hosts (more posts about food on Andros later), and then headed up to bed around 10pm, knowing we had to get up early for breakfast at 6am, with departure in the team van scheduled for 7am. Would we, jet-lagged as we were, wake up and make it down in time for the van departure? You’ll have to read the next post to find out….

The beach - across the road from the Kantouni Pensione and Cafe
The beach – across the road from the Kantouni Pensione and Cafe; © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek
The Kantouni Pensione where we are staying at Batsi
The Kantouni Pensione where we are staying at Batsi; © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek