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Faculty of Classics

 

 

The West Area of Samos Archaeological Project (WASAP) is a five-year research programme (2021–2025) undertaken by the British School at Athens, University of Cambridge and University of Vienna. It aims to explore through intensive pedestrian survey and extensive drone survey the little-known west part of the island of Samos, located in the central part of the East Aegean.

Intensive survey is conducted in the basins of Marathokampos and Karlovasi via a series of 50 x 50m transect units (‘tracts’). Each tract is walked by five team members spaced at 10m intervals. Walkers count visible surface sherds and tiles, also collecting diagnostic feature sherds of pottery (e.g. rims, handles, painted body sherds). Tract information is entered by walkers into specially designed webforms accessed through and app called KoBo Collect, handled in the field on tablets. Any points of interest(POIs) encountered outside of tract units (e.g. built structures, clusters of architectural material) are also recorded in extensive survey. Drone survey is used to map as much of the landscape as possible beyond the tracts walked, producing high-resolution Digital Elevation Models and orthophotos.

These methodologies have allowed us to map to date 33 possible sites (‘Areas of Interest’) across west Samos. Study of the diagnostic pottery by project specialists permits us to estimate possible dates of use for when the sites from which the pottery was collected. In addition, interviews with the inhabitants of local villages assist in making sense of some of these patterns, where community engagement is an important part of our project and its undertakings.

 

Fieldwork programme

2021: extensive study of the Marathokampos basin

2021/2022: BA/Leverhulme small research grant (SRG21\211192) ‘Invisible Economies: Landscape Histories on the island of Samos’: Jana Mokrišová and Michael Loy

2022: intensive survey of the Marathokampos basin

2023: ceramic study season, and interviews conducted with inhabitants of local villages

2023: intensive survey of the Karlovasi basin

Preliminary field reports are reported by the British School at Athens in the journal Archaeological Reports (see the ‘Work of the BSA’ reports: 2021) and in the BSA biannual newsletter (2021, 2022). Fuller scientific reports on the results of the project are currently in preparation.

 

Past and upcoming talks

16 Sept. 2022: Michael Loy, ‘Preliminary results from the West Areas of Samos Archaeological Project’, University of Vienna

27 March 2023: Michael Loy, ‘Material and landscape connections on Archaic/Classical Samos’, British School at Athens Upper House Seminar

28 March 2023: Anastasia Christophilopoulou, ‘West area of Samos Archaeological survey’, Joint Interdisciplinary international conference on Island Identities, Fitzwilliam Museum & Ashmolean Museum

30 March 2023: Michael Loy, Alexandra Katevaini and Anastasia Vassiliou, ‘KoBo Toolbox and on-the-fly recording for GIS and database workflows on Samos’, Mapping the past, plotting the future. GIS in archaeology: maturity and implementation, Archaeological GIS Laboratory (AeGIS Athena)

23 April 2023: Jana Mokrišová and Michael Loy, ‘Invisible Economies of Ancient West Samos’, Classical Association Annual Conference

19 March 2024: Michael Loy, ‘Tales from the trowel's edge: new archaeological sites on the island of Samos’, Cambridge Festival

 

Acknowledgements

Funding for this project has been received from: the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the University of Vienna, the Rust Family Foundation, the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

WASAP operates under the kind permissions of the Greek Ministry of Culture (permit number: Ψ5ΛΩ4653Π4-AA1), and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Samos and Ikaria. We are indebted to the acting Ephor, Dr Pavols Triantaphyllidis, for his ongoing support of our work.

 

Contact

Michael Loy

Email: mpal2@cam.ac.uk

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