Friday, May 19, 2023

Reflections on My Year at the Canadian Institute in Greece

View from Stelida, Naxos, during my visit in February

As I reflect on my year as the Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow at the Canadian Institute in Greece, I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had.

To begin, this year has been invaluable for my dissertation research. Spending time in the various libraries of Athens and accessing books and documents that are not available to me at home has been excellent and has allowed me to make fantastic progress with my research. As a bit of a recap, my PhD research examines narrative approaches to writing prehistory, and I am using three main themes (raw material extraction, visibility and communication, and marginality) to explore the 200,000 years of history at Stelida, Naxos. While most of my primary research has focused on the Palaeolithic, Bronze Age, and modern periods of Stelida, my findings in the Gennadius library this year have led me to Byzantine Naxos and the potential use of a communication tower on Stelida during that period.


Presenting my talk at the CIG’s lecture series

In March, I had the opportunity to present my work as part of the CIG’s spring lecture program. This was also my first in-person talk since before the pandemic, so to say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement! However, the support from the community of classicists and archaeologists that I met during my year at the Canadian Institute who came to watch my talk made the nerves worth it. I will be forever appreciative of the connections I made this year.


Franchthi Cave

I also tried to make the most of my time in Greece by doing a little bit of travelling. I managed a quick trip to Rome (my first time there) and lots of travelling within Greece. By far, one of my favourite trips was my stay in Nafplio – a coastal city in the Peloponnese and the first capital of Greece. In addition to wandering the beautiful streets and seafront promenade, I used Nafplio as my base to drive down to the archaeological site of Franchthi Cave. This site has been on my bucket list since I began working in Greece. After a hike of 500m from the car park and lots of scrambling over boulders, you come to the cave's entrance. What makes the site so interesting is its essentially unbroken series of deposits from the Upper Palaeolithic (c. 20,000 BC) to about 3000 BC, making it the longest continuous occupation sequence at a site in Greece.

Shannon with the Institute's fall interns Aaron and Sarah

In addition to my research, I also enjoyed participating in all of the events hosted by the Canadian Institute this year. From art shows to movie nights and lectures, I really enjoyed being part of the community at the CIG. I will miss the weekly Tuesday meetups at the Red Lion Pub. While in my last blog post, I said I was “perfecting” my dart throwing, I think it’s safe to say I still need some practice before that’s achieved – and I’m looking forward to my next Tuesday in Athens. But until then, I am heading to Naxos for another summer of research with the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project.

Shannon Crewson
Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow 2022-2023

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