Sackett Wins Prize

hugh sackett 2On January 3rd Mr. Sackett earned official recognition for a lifetime of achievement and contribution in the field of archaeology. The lifetime achievement award, given to him by the Archaeological Institute of America, signals a monumental achievement in furthering our understanding of the archaic and classical Aegean world.

Mr. Sackett began his Groton teaching career in 1955, and over the years he has taught Latin, Greek, and archaeology. But he has not been restricted to the Groton bubble, being affiliated with the British School at Athens and many important digs in Greece, Euboea, and Crete. The five most notable of these are the Dema and Vari houses near Athens, the Unexplored Mansion at Knossos, the city of Lefkandi at Euboea, and a Minoan palace at Palaikastro in Crete.

The Dema House, dated to the fifth century B.C., was excavated by Mr. Sackett in 1962. The site measures 22.05 by 16.10 meters, littered with small pieces of pottery. But perhaps what’s more interesting is that most of the sites found at Dema (including the famous Dema wall) come nearly one hundred years afterwards.

Mr. Sackett, working with J.E Jones and A.J Graham, understood the abnormality of this isolated site. The Vari Cave House, excavated in 1965, is very similar to the Dema House in the sense that both are isolated farmhouses of roughly the same size. Both of these excavations are a testament to Mr. Sackett’s thoroughness of survey and dedication to detail, as well as his ability to find excavation opportunities where no one else did.

The Unexplored Mansion at Knossos was a site originally built during the 15th century BCE, but was left unfinished until the mid-14th century BCE. This mansion is more like a small palace complex, and had layers that began in the Protogeometric Period (11th century BCE) and ended in the time of the Romans. Again, Mr. Sackett’s skill at finding sites that others had missed was integral to excavation. Lefkandi as well is a site that is opposed to the opinions that were held by the status quo of archaeological thought.

After the fall of Mycenae, it is thought that the Aegean was plunged into a region-wide dark age, in which  few archaeological remains were found. Yet Lefkandi was a vibrant and productive city on the island

Leave a Reply