From 1901 to 1904, Harriet Boyd excavated the remains of an ancient town on the island of Crete that had lain buried and unknown for nearly 3,500 years. The largest island in Greece and fifth largest in the Mediterranean, Crete has attracted visitors, travelers, and traders for thousands, and even tens of thousands, of years. Crete’s first great civilization was that of the Minoans, and archaeologists have long studied the palaces like that of Knossos. But in 2010, Vance Watrous of the University of Buffalo and his team began new excavations at Gournia, the site that Boyd had worked more than a century earlier. “We’re looking instead at the site’s earlier history, the Protopalatial period, and questions of what happened before the development of the palace, how Gournia came to be a regional center, and what kind of town it was during these early phases,”
Harriet Boyd stated in her site publication, “The chief archaeological value of Gournia is that it has given us a remarkably clear picture of the everyday circumstances, occupations, and ideals of the Aegean folk at the height of their true prosperity.”
In the course of both Boyd’s and Watrous’ excavations, more than 50 houses or areas with evidence of industrial activity have been uncovered—20 areas producing pottery, 15 producing stone vases, 18 producing bronze and bronze implements, and some with evidence for textile production. John Younger of the University of Kansas found complete pottery workshop. In one room of the workshop they found 15 intact pots sitting upright on some benches, and in another room he found four large jars with numerous smaller pots inside. “There were pots inside pots for storage, just like I have in my cupboard at home,” Younger says.
Read the fascinating full story by Jarrett A. Lobell at Archaeology.