Saturday 26 October 2013

The Dig

On our site is a three thousand year Minoan tomb which was discovered, inspected and recorded before World War II. Our site apparently lies between a Minoan settlement further down into the valley and a Minoan Fortress further up into the mountains.

The team at work on the first two holes.
When the Archaeology Department finally gave approval for the Building Permit to be issued, it stipulated therefore, as expected, that an Archaeologist from the Department needed to be on site when excavation on the site starts. In addition, however,  they also required that a team of workers dig, under the close supervision of an Archaeologist, a series of "holes" to check for any further Minoan tombs or artefacts on and around the location of the proposed building.

If anything of note was found, of course, it would further delay or even stop the whole building process!!

Close inspection as the "diggers" went deeper.
Since it seems it is very unusual for there to be only a single tomb in any area this was a very real concern. There was also no clear indication of how many "holes" would be required and hence how long the whole process would take.

The house location was therefore rapidly reviewed, changed slightly and agreed (see previous post), the workers found at short notice and all set up for the start of the next week.

Work continues under the watchful eye of the Chief Archaeologist.
On the Monday morning the Engineer, two Archaeologists from the Department, a team of four "diggers" armed with pickaxes and shovels and myself assembled at the site. The Archaeologists quickly marked out a couple of sites where  the first two holes were to be dug.

First hole completed with no finds.
Given the nature of the earth across the site (a mix of soil and rock), that it was getting to the end of the long hot summer and the ground was baked hard, the site had been consolidated over the years by weather and the regular attention of sheep hooves the digging was no easy task. Couple this with the frequent interventions of the Archaeologists to check out what was emerging as the holes went deeper meant that only steady progress was made throughout.

Just soil and rock in second hole.
After the first couple of holes had discovered nothing of significance further sites were identified and holes dug. By late afternoon a total of six such holes across the house site had been completed with no findings and the Archaeologists decided  that they were satisfied with the proposed location of the house.

 Yes!! It has taken over 3 years to get to this stage!!