Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HOWARD, Justin H.1, CARLSON, Molly1, CLARK, Benjamin, EGBERT, Emily1, FREEZE, Taylor1, HARDING, Zack, HINKLE, Heather1, BAUSLAUGH, Robert1, CHAPIN, Anne1 and REYNOLDS, Jim3, (1)Brevard College, 400 N. Broad St, Brevard, NC 28712, (2)Geology Program, Brevard College, 400 North Broad St, Brevard, NC 28712,

Three faculty members from the fields of Geology, Archaeology, and History, traveled with 16 Brevard College students to Athens, Crete, and the Cycladic Islands to experience interactions of Geology with the ancient cultures of the area. The trip was the field component to GEOL 270 Geology and Archaeology of the Mediterranean Basin which is cross-listed as Art History 290.

After visiting the Acropolis and Agora in Athens, the group ferried to Crete and hiked the Samaria Gorge trail, visiting the medieval ruins of a village in the gorge and viewing evidence of earthquake, landslide, and debris flow hazards that afflict the site. Along the south coast of the island they explored Roman tombs carved into Neogene marls at Matala. Evidence of earthquake destructions were examined at Minoan sites at Phaistos, Ayia Triada, Knossos, Mochlos, and Rousalakos and religious ceremonial sites at the Skoteino Cave and Psychro/Diktean Cave—alleged to be the birthplace of Zeus.

On Santorini, the group climbed the Nea Kameni volcano to view the Thera caldera from its center. Visiting the ruins of the active excavation at Akrotiri provided evidence of the magnitude of the Minoan eruption and earthquake damage that preceded the cataclysm. The students also visited the buried cinder cone exposed in the cliffs at Red Beach.

Naxos was visited to view ancient and modern Naxian marble quarries that continue to provide high quality white marble. Two ancient, broken kouros highlighted these visits. The group also explored the harborside “stargate” ruins and the labyrinth of streets in the medieval town. A similar town was visited on Mykonos which provided a base for the visit to island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Aphrodite and later a Roman free port that was eventually sacked by Turkish invaders.

Applying this interdisciplinary approach provided an opportunity for geological and archaeological field investigation to students whose majors are generally not in the sciences. Students gained insight into the historical connection between Geology and society: a perspective critical to appreciation of the importance of Geology in today's world.