When, in September 2002, we began excavation of the burial tumulus at Mikri Doxipara-Zoni, we believed that within a few months the work would be completed. The experience of excavating other tumuli in this area had led us to this conclusion. Our surprise and delight at the discovery of the first wagon began slowly to give place to astonishment as the excavation progressed and the other wagons and pits with cremation burials began to appear.
The enthusiasm, the concern for the progress of the excavation and the many hours of work were shared from the beginning by our co-workers-- the conservators, archaeologists, topographers, architects, specialists and workmen. Their contribution has been very significant. Frequently our collaboration went beyond the purely professional and developed into warm friendships. Special mention should be made of Ioannis Lainides, the conservator of the 19th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, who with exemplary patience and skill undertook, from the very beginning, the work of cleaning and conserving the wagons and cremations. From the start of the excavation, the conservator Alexia Christoforou worked alongside him. Many other conservators worked for shorter or longer periods. The conservation of the small finds from the cremations was undertaken by conservators under the guidance and supervision of Ioannis Lainides and Marina Lykiardopoulou
The workmen, all locals, from the villages of Mikri Doxipara, Chelidona and Zoni worked with devotion and self-denial and solved resourcefully the many practical problems which occurred on an almost daily basis. Of great importance to our work was the support which the representatives of the local authorities offered us, the Prefect of Evros, the Eparch of Northern Evros and the Mayors of Orestiada and Kyprinos.
Today the ‘Programme for Research, Protection and Enhancement of the finds of the burial mound of Mikri Doxipara-Zoni, Prefecture of Evros’ under the aegis of the Fund of Credits Management for Archaeological Projects of the Ministry of Culture, employs 20 people on contract. The direction of the work is undertaken by an academic committee with Diamantis Triandafillos, honorary Ephor of Antiquities, as its president, and members of the committee: Haido Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, honorary Ephor of Antiquities, Michaelis Vavelides, Professor of Geology at the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki, Christos Athanasopoulos, Professor of Architecture of the Democritus University of Thrace, Domna Terzopoulou, Archaeologist of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and Ioannis Lainides, conservator of the 19th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Secretary of the committee and financial manager for the completion of the work is Mathaios Koutsoumanis, archaeologist of the 19th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
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