Recent excavations (2016-2018) at the site of Dhaskalio, Keros, central Cyclades, set out to answer a series of questions raised by previous systematic and science-oriented excavations of 2006-2008. Dhaskalio is a tiny islet off the west coast of Keros which was joined to the main island by a causeway in the mid-third millennium BCE. At that time it was covered in dense stone buildings set into massive terraces ringing the east and north sides of the promontory. Opposite, in the Kavos region of Keros, two ‘special deposits’ of broken, choice material, deliberately deposited in rituals of congregation and accumulating much material as those rituals were repeated over a period of centuries, demonstrated a unique character for the site. The new excavations were designed to answer the question of the nature and use of the inhabited area on Dhaskalio, its longevity, the density and nature of habitation, practices at the site, questions of the tempo of connectivity, the extent to which the site stood on its own, at the pinnacle of a hierarchy, or to which it was embedded in site networks on which it depended.


Archaeological science was a foundational principle of the project design, in the field, in the field laboratory, and in the multidisciplinary analysis of samples in different institutions around the world. Specialists were part of the project design and expected to participate in the fieldwork. Sampling procedures were embedded in project design and daily practice. The evolving views of specialists informed the work as it progressed, allowing for changing foci as necessary. Now, more than five years since the end of fieldwork, a range of specialists come together to present their work and engage in interdisciplinary conversations as we move toward the final interpretation and publication of the work. Papers will cover metallurgy, the pXRF analysis of the wider environment, imported materials, use traces on materials, a range of organic evidence, and digital recording. This session will focus on such analyses and Keros is presented as a case study in an integrated and reflexive scientific approach.