The Diros Project

The Diros Project is an international, multi-disciplinary, Greek-American research project that explores human social dynamics on the Mani Peninsula of southern Greece. The project is co-directed by Drs. Giorgos Papathanassopoulos and Anastasia Papathanasiou of the Greek Ministry of Culture, William Parkinson of the Field Museum, and Michael Galaty of Millsaps College.

The primary goal of the project is to examine the role of Alepotrypa Cave in the Mani Peninsula within long-term processes of cultural change associated with the European Neolithic, when agriculture lifestyles were introduced and people gathered together into larger, more complex settlements. The project seeks to discover how the Mani’s unique cultural trajectory and remote geographic location influenced its integration into different social, political, and economic interaction spheres at different points in time. During the Neolithic, the Mani Peninsula occupied an intriguing role in interactions between the Greek mainland, the Greek islands, and the greater Mediterranean region, but the nature of these interactions has not been examined from an anthropological, as opposed to a historical, perspective.  

Team members began conducting intensive survey in Diros Bay in the summer of 2011. After identifying a concentration of Neolithic artifacts on a promontory just above the cave, they began excavations to understand how the Neolithic occupants of the bay utilized the landscape surrounding Alepotrypa. Survey, geophysical prospection, and excavations are ongoing.

Fieldwork: The 2013 season is being held from July 1 to 21. Excavations will continue in the cave and on promontory nearby.

For more information on geographic information systems (GIS) and The Diros Project, check out http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/gis-diros-project-greece.