“The Karavas Water Project: Environmental Archaeology and History in Northern Kythera” (Public Lecture of the AAIA)
Jon M. Frey (Michigan State University), Timothy E. Gregory (Ohio State University), Richard MacNeil (National Native Title Tribunal, Melbourne), Lita Tzortzopoulou Gregory (Ohio State University)
The Karavas Water Project uses an environmental archaeological and historical approach in an attempt to understand better the past in the northern part of the island of Kythera. It is also a direct outgrowth of the “Australian Paliochora Kythera Archaeological Survey”, sponsored by the University of Sydney and the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, which carried out fieldwork from 1999 to 2003.
The Project recognises the scarcity of water on most Greek islands which requires, in many cases, that this vital resource be brought in by boat. In contrast, the area of Karavas is well known for its plentiful springs and deep green gorges that create an environment that more resembles a sub-tropical rain forest than it does the parched landscape of many parts of Greece.
The present project, begun in 2011 and continued in 2012, is exploring the main Karavas watershed and includes the identification and mapping of the topography and the identification of the many natural and human-modified springs and water devices that were constructed to convey and store the water for irrigation and power, most notably the water mills that still mark the sides of the watershed.
This presentation will provide a broad overview of the purposes and accomplishments of the Karavas Water Project in its first two seasons, including photographs and drawings of what some of these areas now look like, once they have been cleared of recent vegetation.