Prof. Jim Crow (University of Edinburgh), Prof. Sam Turner (University of Newcastle) & Prof. Knut Ødegård (University of Oslo), "Kastro Apalirou, Naxos: Insights into the Early Byzantine Aegean in an Age of Resilience"
After 600 AD the Byzantine world entered an Age of Crisis, invasions followed by significant loss of territories across the Balkans and in the Levant. The period is often termed as a Dark Age, our lecture will consider how this period has been interpreted by historians and archaeologists and will present the results of the structural survey and landscape archaeology project at Kastro Apalirou and its environs on Naxos. Survey by the Norwegian Institute has defined for the first time the complexity and sophistication of the fortified settlement at Kastro Apalirou as a new early medieval town. Surface collection of pottery by a team from the UK has been able to provide a clear indication of the chronology of the settlement from the 7th to the 12th century. Below the kastro we are recording the lower undefended settlement of similar date (Kato Choria) and are carrying out an extensive surface survey. The evidence from Kastro Apalirou presents the image of a resilient society confronting the challenges of its time, a perspective which challenges the conventional view of decline and decay.