The Federal Government, through the Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded the Zagora Project a grant of $450,000 for over three years work for the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens (AAIA), the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, The Athens Archaeological Society, the Powerhouse Museum, Royal Holloway (London) and the Institute for Mediterranean Research (Crete).

“This represents the culmination of years of hard work from the Zagora team. These grants are highly competitive, and to receive one of such size is testimony to the quality and importance of the project” said Dr Wayne Mullen, Chief Operating Officer of the AAIA.

This funding puts the team involved in a position to apply to the Greek Government for a permit to conduct archaeological field work at the settlement.

A pivotal archaeological site that has helped the world understand life in Greece during the Dark Age (11th – 8th centuries BC), Zagora holds a lot of importance for Australia. The site was the first in Greece to be excavated by an Australian archaeological team via the Athens Archaeological Society. In addition, the original excavation (between 1968 and 1974) was led by the AAIA’s Foundation Director, Professor Alexander Cambitoglou, AO – the first person of Greek origin to be appointed to an Australian Professorship. As part of the events leading to the initial field season, an international conference titled “Zagora in Context” will be hosted by the Australian Institute in May 2012 in Athens, where top academics will present the latest scholarship relating to Zagora.

The enthusiasm of the team is apparent: “Our new Zagora project is particularly exciting because we are able to use twenty-first century digital technology to really examine this important site and create a far more complete picture of daily life there. We now know that the so-called ‘Dark Age’ is actually one of the most vibrant periods in Hellenic history,” reported Beatrice McLoughlin. Beatrice is the Australian Institute’s research officer and a Zagora team member who has been conducting research on material from the previous Zagora excavations since 1993.