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Grant number: RZ-230604-15

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University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90095-9000)
John K. Papadopoulos (Project Director: December 2014 to present)
Sarah P. Morris (Co Project Director: January 2015 to present)
Manthos Bessios (Co Project Director: January 2015 to present)

Ancient Methone: Early Greek Maritime Trade, Industry, and the Origins of the Greek Alphabet

Archaeological excavation and analysis at the harbor site of ancient Methone, northern Greece. (36 months)

Excavations at ancient Methone by the Greek Ministry of Culture in collaboration with UCLA have uncovered one of the most significant harbor sites of the north Aegean, occupied from the Final Neolithic era (ca. 4000 BCE) to the destruction of the site by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, in 354 BCE. Perched between the Aegean, inland Macedonia, and the Balkans, Methone served as a conduit for the movement of commodities, peoples, and ideas across a relatively large area of the Greek world, involving Mycenaeans, Euboians, Athenians, eastern and northern Greeks and indigenous tribes, as well as Phoenicians, in both prehistory and history. Significant remains include an early agora (marketplace) that lies above an Early Iron Age phase with an enormous deposit of artifacts, industrial debris, and--most importantly--the largest corpus of early Greek inscriptions on clay known from the Aegean, dating between ca. 750 and 650 BCE. Methone thus offers a unique opportunity to explore not only a large ancient harbor and industrial center, but also Greek connections with indigenous populations and others attracted to this large site that formed a middle ground between different cultures. During the protohistoric period, Methone played a major role in the origin and development of the Greek alphabet, contributing especially to the issue of its transmission from the Phoenician alphabet, a process with major cultural ramifications. The proposed project promises to illuminate these processes of cultural contact, the rise of urbanism, and the spread of literacy in the ancient world.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, Other

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$286,337 (approved)
$286,337 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 3/31/2019