Crete 1941-45: Archaeological Evidence for the Battle, Occupation and Resistance

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Event Details

Date: 21 Sep 2018 – 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Venue: Monash University, Room E561, (Menzies Building) 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus


School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies


Crete 1941-45: Archaeological Evidence for the Battle, Occupation and Resistance

The Greek island of Crete occupies a strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean and manifests the deep history of cultural contact and conflict in this region. This week’s seminar focuses on a new project investigating the archaeological record of WWII conflict on Crete (1941-45), from the fortification of the island’s coastal defences to the German airborne invasion and resulting battle, followed by covert resistance and eventual liberation. The fortification and defence of Crete’s coastal borders brought Greek and Australian histories together in an exceptional way, when Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought alongside Greek, British and Canadian forces to resist the invasion of Greece by the Axis powers. The material record of this important period is still visible in the landscape today although the foundations, bunkers and trenches are rarely called attention to. These WWII features and associated artefacts are now at the interface between history and archaeology, as the last veterans of the conflict pass away. Jessie Birkett-Rees will provide a historical overview of the conflict using several initial case studies of the material record, united with archival materials, and will explore current archaeological agendas in the cultural heritage of conflict.




Jessie Birkett-Rees  is in SOPHIS’ Centre for Ancient Cultures and am a landscape archaeologist who examines the ways that people construct, use and experience the landscape around them. Using techniques derived from the disciplines of archaeology, geography and engineering, she records the location and features of archaeological sites and artefacts to produce digital plans, maps and models of past landscapes for documentary and analytical purposes. She trained as a prehistorian (apologies all) with fieldwork and research concentrated on riverine systems in Turkey, the Caucasus and Australia; and now brings these field and analytical techniques to historical contexts also. She also worked on the battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula 2011-15 and has a longstanding interest in the archaeology of conflict and in the impact of war on cultural heritage.





Friday 21 Sept


12:00pm – 01:00pm


Monash University
Room E561, (Menzies Building)
20 Chancellors Walk,
Clayton Campus

For further information, please contact Jocelyne Mohamudally on


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