Friday, July 12, 2013

Visualizing an Ancient City: A Permanent Exhibition on the Greek-Canadian project at Kastro Kallithea in the Cultural Centre in Pharsala

The Cultural Centre at Pharsala

Over the past year, Vasso Noula, the municipal archaeologist of Pharsala, and Sophia Karapanou, the epimelitria of Pharsalos and archaeologist at the 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at Larissa, worked together with the University of Alberta team to bring the exhibit ‘Visualizing an Ancient City’ to Greece. This exhibit, originally curated by Myles Chykerda, Jason Marceniuk and myself, featured the results of fieldwork at Kastro Kallithea carried out by the Greek-Canadian team comprised of members from both the Greek archaeological service and the University of Alberta. It was on display in 2010 at the Universities of Alberta and Saskatchewan where it attracted significant attention from both students and members of the community interested in Mediterranean archaeological fieldwork 

Sophia Karapanou, Aris Karachalios and Margriet Haagsma cutting the ribbon
Last summer I discussed with the mayor of Pharsala, Aris Karachalios, the possibility of displaying to the general public the heritage of the Pharsalians and their neighbouring communities. I mentioned the existing exhibit and expressed the University of Alberta’s willingness to donate the exhibition to the municipality, a commitment which included supplying 3D printed models of the landscape setting of Kastro Kallithea as well as reconstructions of the many architectural structures we identified during our studies. The proposal was met with great enthusiasm and after much work from both sides the exhibit was inaugurated on June 26th 2013.

Overview of the exhibition space

The reconstructed buildings of the agora at Kastro Kallithea
Vasso Noula is to be credited for her excellent work; she took care of preparing the exhibition space, translating of the text (together with Sophia Karapanou), arranging the inauguration as well as all associated publications, which included flyers and banners for the exhibition.

Vasso Noula at the opening of the exhibition
Credit should also go to Myles Chykerda, former BA (2004) and MA (2010) student of the University of Alberta, now PhD student at UCLA and CIG’s next Leipen fellow, for aiding in the layout and preparation of the panels for printing. Ryan Lee, former BA student at the University of Alberta and current MA student at Texas A&M University, should be thanked for preparing the 3D models. The University of Alberta’s AICT department is also thanked for their generous aid in 3D printing.

Guiding the audience at the opening of the exhibition
The inauguration included a performance by children from the municipal music school at Pharsala who represented the cities of Ancient Achaia Phthiotis. They enacted a sacrifice to Enodia, the goddess whose cult was important to the Thessalians from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. At least 200 Pharsalians were present at the opening. The exhibition will be an integral part of the historical education program of the municipality for elementary, junior high, and high schools in the region.

Enactment of a sacrifice to Ennodia

More information on the exhibition can be found on the website of the municipality of Pharsala as well as the website of Archaiologia (both in Greek).

Margriet Haagsma
University of Alberta

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