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E. Warren, Memories of Myrtos, Aegean Archaeology VOLUME 9, 2007-2008 (2011) p. 121-13E. Warren, Memories of Myrtos, Aegean Archaeology VOLUME 9, 2007-2008 (2011) p. 121-13

E. Warren, Memories of Myrtos, Aegean Archaeology VOLUME 9, 2007-2008 (2011) p. 121-13E. Warren, Memories of Myrtos, Aegean Archaeology VOLUME 9, 2007-2008 (2011) p. 121-13

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Published by: ArchaeoinAction on May 26, 2011
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2007 2008 M
Memories of Myrtos
ISSN 1233-6246Recently Krzysztof Nowicki, acolleague taking partin an archaeological excavation at Karphi in the moun-tains of Crete in 2008 directed by his wife, SaroWallace, made some remarks in an email to my hus- band, Peter Warren, on running an excavation in Crete.He supposed that things must have been very differ-ent in the sixties and early seventies, on sites like onemy husband excavated on the south coast of Crete atMyrtos, or in the White Mountains at Debla. As Peter and I recalled those days, I thought it might be of in-terest to record the conditions on adig only agener-ation or so ago while I still remember some details.This account is therefore not so much about archaeol-ogy as the logistics and daily life on adig and myexperiences in trying to make things, if not comfort-able, at least bearable.The excavation at Fournou Korifi, Myrtos, was donein two seasons, both in July to mid-August, the hot-test time of the year. In 1967 we dug for just threeweeks with ateam of three site supervisors, KeithBranigan (later Professor at Sheffield), Hugh Sackettand Ken Wardle and three site assistants, John Fal-coner, Anthony Harding (later Professor at Durham andExeter) and Hansel Hewitt, one architect, Ken Minto,one person to catalogue and draw small finds, MarilynWright, our Greek vase mender, Petros Petrakis and hiswife, Eleni, three pickmen from Knossos and up to sixlocal workmen at any one time and at least one localwoman washing the potsherds along with Eleni. As for my role, Peter had said in advance that we wouldsurely find alocal woman to cook for us, but thatImight need to help with shopping and organising.Otherwise I would work on the site or with the findsas necessary. It proved impossible to find any womanwilling to do the cooking. In reality almost all my timeand energy were taken up with shopping and cookingand seeing to amultitude of domestic and other mat-ters so that Peter could concentrate entirely on thearchaeology.The following year, the dig lasted five weeks andthere were four site supervisors, Ken Wardle again plusGerald Cadogan, Don Evely (later the School’s Cura-tor at Knossos) and Ian Sanders, with four assistants,Hansel Hewitt, Lloyd Bookless, Penelope Mountjoyand Nigel Wilson, and eight local workmen plusthe pot washing women. In addition to the same ar-chitect, Ken Minto, and adifferent small find drafts-woman, Rosemary Brewer, we had a cook, MaryWesley, throughout and Oliver Rackham came at the
Editors’ note: This article by Elizabeth Warren represents adep-arture from the core mission of 
 Aegean Archaeology
, which empha-sizes results of current fieldwork, studies of assemblages, and con-textual and material analyses. Offering an autobiographical perspectiveon the excavations of the British School of Archaeology at Athens atMyrtos Fournou Korifi in 1967 and 1968 (and study seasons in 1969and 1970), the paper presents avivid representation of contemporary physical, social, and cultural contexts of the project itself – and theconfluence of local, scholarly, and administrative communities thatshaped fieldwork at Myrtos and indeed more broadly, on Crete, inthe 1960’s. The personal reflection on archaeological practice andexperience represents discussion that is normally excluded from final publication of fieldwork results, but is no less relevant to our under-standing of the history of archaeology on Crete, and the constructionof narratives resulting from archaeological fieldwork.
122 E
start to do an ecological survey of the area while Mark Cameron came for part of the time to study the wall plasters from the site and to help with the pottery.But I will go back abit before the dig to explainhow I came to be there at all. In 1966, at the age of 20,I married Peter Warren, an archaeologist, then aRe-search Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.About two months before the wedding, which was inmid-June, Peter was asked if he might be able to un-dertake, at very short notice, an excavation at asite onthe south coast of Crete which Sinclair Hood, GeraldCadogan and he had found during their travels in 1962.Peter had already expressed an interest in excavatingthe small Early Bronze Age settlement on the top of ahill west of Ierapetra, and 3.5 km east of the villageof Myrtos, but had not expected to be offered aBritishSchool of Archaeology permit (one of three ayear toeach foreign Archaeological School) so soon. Another  project had fallen through and the possibility loomed.It was aterrifying prospect to organise an excavationat such alocation in amatter of weeks, and fortunatelycame to nothing – but the promise was made that for the following year, 1967, the Myrtos dig would be onthe list of BSA projects proposed to the Greek Ar-chaeological Service for permission.I was not completely without archaeological expe-rience. I had gone on acouple of Romano-British ex-cavations in Lincolnshire in and after the Sixth Form.I was even in charge of the potshed for two weeks atthe start of an excavation under Ian Stead because theusual person was not available. Ian was the first toteach me how to do technical archaeological potterydrawings – something that I have since spent agreatdeal of time doing. It was not, however, my particular  passion – my connection with Greece arose from hav-ing begun Ancient Greek at school at the age of thir-teen, when alively young teacher arrived and per-suaded the Headmistress that, if it was to be takenseriously, the school, Wycombe High School for Girls,must offer Greek. I was one of the first group to takeup Greek and was ensnared from the start.After obtaining aplace at Newnham College, Cam- bridge in December 1963 for the following October,as was the pattern at that time, I had two terms at mydisposal and was determined to spend much of the timein Greece. The ‘Gap Year’ barely existed, but I man-aged to organise myself to travel to Athens by train inJanuary, with enough money from my parents for aboutamonth and the intention of extending that by earn-ing from English teaching. I became a‘reader’ at theBritish School at Athens – where I read the texts Cam- bridge had prescribed (most of Homer and Virgil) – and met the PhD students who were working on their various subjects both in Athens and Crete, where theBSA has abase at Knossos. Indeed many of my mostenjoyable trips away from Athens were spent withthese students. I stayed in Greece until July.Peter had been involved in archaeology rather longer. His passion was for Crete, apassion which haddeveloped in the Sixth Form at Llandovery College.Inspired by Leonard Cottrell’s
The Bull of Minos
andJohn Pendlebury’s
 A Handbook to the Palace of Minosat Knossos
which he found in the school library, hegave alecture to his fellow Sixth Formers on MinoanCrete. In 1961, he worked at Knossos at the excava-tions of Sinclair Hood on the Royal Road as the ‘apo-theke slave’. Subsequently he joined Sinclair for threeof his travels in the island of Crete tracking down previously unknown sites. He spent aseason on theBritish School excavation at Palaikastro in the far eastof the island under the direction of Mervyn Pophamand Hugh Sackett, and two seasons at their BSA digat Lefkandi on the island of Euboea.The permit for the excavation at the site known asFournou Korifi, afew kilometres east of Myrtos on thesouth coast of Crete, was granted for work in July andAugust 1967. Now there was sufficient time to organ-ise the team and plan the campaign. I had very littleidea what would be involved and I had not visited thesite before arriving for the excavation.Peter went out to Crete some weeks earlier – I wastaking my finals and had planned to go to the gradu-ation ceremony before driving out with Ken Wardle inhis Triumph Herald – he was to be one of our sitesupervisors. Communications in those days were fairlylimited: the post was not at all bad, but internationaltelephone calls were expensive and not very reliable.I knew one of the most important things Peter had todo was to buy the land we were about to excavate.Greek law forbids excavation, other than rescue archae-ology, on land belonging to anyone other than theGreek State. This land belonged to alocal farmer.Therefore it was necessary to buy it from him and giveit to the Greek State. Fortunately, Manolis Dhaskalakis proved amenable and I received a telegram: ‘Land bought. Bring shaving things.’I am not sure if I had realised before that momentthat Myrtos lacked electricity. I had never lived inaplace without electricity. It also lacked drains. Andrefuse collection. And an asphalt road to it. There was

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