MediaPhotosTalksPublications – Data

“The Cetina Valley Survey in Southern Croatia: Report on the 2015–2018 Seasons”
Dr. Rebecca M. Seifried, Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH) and Dr. Helena Tomas, University of Zagreb. Archaeological Institute of America, San Diego, California, USA. 3–6 January 2019.

Abstract. The Cetina Valley Survey is a 5-year intensive survey project in southern Croatia, directed by Dr. Helena Tomas of the University of Zagreb under the auspices of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The survey began in 2015 and the fourth season is planned for October 2018. The project’s main goal is to explore the links between the Cetina Culture and the Aegean world in the Bronze Age through a systematic survey of the fertile plain along the Cetina River, where a large number of tumuli were previously documented. The project intends to identify new settlement sites, map the location of extant tumuli, and clarify the nature of long-distance ceramic and metal trade.

In the 2015–2017 seasons, the project followed the standard methods of intensive survey: tracts were defined as groups of agricultural fields, and teams of 4–5 people walked each tract at 15-meter spacing, counting all finds and collecting diagnostic material. By the end of the 2017 season, the survey team walked an area of 6.5 square kilometers and identified six major sites dating from the Bronze Age through Medieval periods. These include a prehistoric surface site, three Bronze Age tumuli, a multi-period cave site, and a Roman villa rustica. The team also identified over 20 tumuli and stone cairns on a plateau overlooking the valley. No surface finds were recovered in the vicinity, hinting at a separation between the living and the dead consistent with other areas in the Aegean during the Bronze Age.

Preliminary results point to two methodological challenges that we are attempting to mitigate in the 2018 season. First, although we expected to find Bronze Age sites along the course of the river, only sites dating to the Roman and later periods were identified. We suspect that alluviation is masking earlier sites, so we will undertake a geological study to trace changes in alluvial formation and determine which survey areas to prioritize. Second, contemporary farming practices are making it difficult to implement a tract-based approach, as the land is divided into narrow fields that are cultivated according to different schedules. Rather than define units as multi-field tracts, the survey will target only plowed fields in the 2018 season. By discussing the project’s methodology and attempts to mitigate unforeseen challenges, this paper contributes to a broader discussion of intensive survey methodology and adaptation to different survey environments.

“Living in the Shadow of a Minoan Palace in the 21st Century: The Case of Kato Zakros, Crete”
Dr. Rebecca M. Seifried, Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH). Aegean Seminar Series, Zagreb, Croatia. 18 December 2018.

Here is a link to the flyer advertising the talk (opens as a PDF).

“The Trials and Tribulations of Surveying the Cetina River Valley”
Dr. Rebecca M. Seifried, Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH) and Dr. Helena Tomas, University of Zagreb. 6th International Scientific Conference Methodology and Archaeometry, Zagreb, Croatia. 6–7 December 2018.

Here is a link to the conference program.

“Linking the Archaeological Past and Agricultural Present: Tourism, Heritage, and Olive Production in the Zakros Valley, Crete”
Dr. Rebecca M. Seifried, Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH) and Dr. Ioanna Antoniadou. European Association of Archaeologists, Barcelona, Spain. Part of a session on “Transdisciplinary and Participative Approaches to Cultural Landscapes.” 5-8 September 2018.

Here is a link to the presentation (opens as a PDF).

Abstract. Capitalism has transformed rural landscapes in Europe, revolutionizing farming technology, attracting laborers to cities, and contributing to rural depopulation. At the same time, its forces have operated on a deeper societal level to restructure the social fabric of rural communities and alter their relationship to the cultural landscapes around them. This paper seeks to explore how these forces have played out in the Zakros Valley, a rural zone located in the eastern part of the island of Crete.

Less than one century ago, the Zakros Valley was a vibrant but remote agricultural landscape with roughly one dozen inhabited villages. With the discovery of the Minoan palace of Kato Zakros in the early 20th century and the incorporation of its gorges into a cross-European hiking trail (the E4), the region became a key tourist destination and the demographic makeup of its villages began to shift. However, far from replacing the agricultural livelihood of the region, tourism has contributed to its transformation. The valley is still an epicenter for olive oil production, with manufacturers like the Agricultural Cooperative Zakros and smaller family companies like Terra Zakros harnessing the region’s archaeological past as a part of their marketing platforms. Another company, geared towards a French-speaking clientele, sells its products online through an “adopt-an-olive-tree” scheme.

This paper explores the connections between the archaeological landscape of the Zakros Valley, the ways in which its residents envision their relationship with the archaeological past, and the transformations in how agricultural work is performed and depicted in the cultural imagination. In particular, I use historical records and interviews to focus on the region’s more recent archaeological heritage, including abandoned settlements, mule paths, and features associated with agricultural practices (e.g. field huts, terraces), which are the most immediate vestiges of the region’s pre-capitalist “cultural landscape.”