Donald Haggis

Donald Haggis

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2011 Grant Recipient
D. Haggis

The Azoria Project in Eastern Crete and the Excavations of Harriet Boyd Hawes in 1900

Donald Haggis received his B.A. and M.A. in Classics at Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from the University of Minnesota, specializing in Aegean Prehistory and Early Iron Age Greece. He is currently Professor of Classical Archaeology and Nicholas A. Cassas Professor of Greek Studies in the Department of Classics and the Curriculum of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been conducting excavations and surveys in Crete for over 30 years, and since 2002 has been the director of the Azoria Project excavations, conducted under the auspices of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

The Azoria Project ( is the excavation of an Early Iron Age and Archaic site (ca. 1200-500 B.C.), located in northeastern Crete on the eastern edge of the Bay of Mirabello near the modern village of Kavousi. The goals of the Azoria Project are to recover archaeological evidence of the structure of the Archaic urban center and to study processes of urbanization on Crete in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., and material correlates for emerging social and political institutions.

The Shelby White and Leon Levy Program supports the documentation and study of the original excavations at the site by the American archaeologist Harriet Boyd Hawes, which she conducted as part of an extensive archaeological exploration of the Kavousi area of eastern Crete in 1900. In a single trench on the peak of the hill Boyd exposed two circular buildings and a cistern, superimposed on a large rectangular foundation of earlier date. Boyd documented the sequence of buildings but failed to reach conclusions on their function and chronology and neglected to publish the finds.

Reexamination of the standing architecture recovered in Boyd’s 1900 campaign combined with the results of excavation and contextual study conducted by the Azoria Project allow us to reconstruct a garrison tower and signal tower of 3rd to early 2nd century B.C. date, their associated assemblages, as well as the archaeological and historical contexts of Hellenistic occupation at the site and in the broader region. The towers were established by the competing city-sates of Hierapytna and Praisos during a period of territorial expansion and conflict culminating in the domination of Hieraptyna as the principal power in the region. The results will form a book-length publication, documenting the architectural remains recovered in Boyd’s excavation, and providing an overview of the associated artifact, faunal and plant assemblages, and a discussion of garrison towers in Hellenistic Crete and the broader Aegean.

Click on the images below for full-sized renderings

Excavation of the archaic West Building (Azoria Project 2017)
Azoria. Excavation of the archaic West Building (Azoria Project 2017)
Archaic West Building storerooms during excavation (Azoria Project 2017)
Azoria. Archaic West Building storerooms during excavation (Azoria Project 2017)
H.A. Boyd's Excavations 1900 (Archives, ASCSA)
Azoria. H.A. Boyd's Excavations 1900 (Archives, ASCSA)

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