Surface survey began in 1988 and excavations followed at Halai (1990-1992, 1996). In 2004 Cornell Halai and East Lokris Project (CHELP) also collaborated with the Greek Archaeological Service and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in excavations at the Bronze Age islet of Mitrou. Investigations at Halai’s acropolis have been divided between the Neolithic village and the fortified city center of Greco-Roman times that lies above it. Field-schools and other training are an important part of the work. Preliminary reports, Ph.D. dissertations, M.A. theses and other studies centered on the project are available on the CHELP webpage (http://halai.arts.cornell.edu). Many hundreds of staff members, students and volunteers have participated in annual seasons of study and conservation at Halai and in the project’s workrooms. These continue in preparation for final publications.
Neolithic Halai is important for its architecture and its interconnections, both maritime and with the Greek interior. The later town, a full fledged polis from Archaic to Roman times, prospered in the Archaic (fortifications and Temple area), Hellenistic (renewal of fortifications and importance as a port) and Late Roman periods (basilica church). The territory of Hellenistic Halai has been delimited through observations of towers, stone quarries and lookouts, supplemented by an inscription recording a boundary dispute with one of its neighbors.
- John E. Coleman, Professor Emeritus of Classics, Cornell University