Friday, April 27, 2012

Save the Dates, A Lecture and An Excursion

Prof. Nigel M. Kennell
Save the Dates!!!
The Institute will be busy in May and June. On Wednesday, May 9th at 7:00 PM at the Danish Institute at Athens in the Plaka, will be the Institute’s annual Open Meeting and Invited Lecture, by Prof. Nigel M. Kennell. Then on Friday and Saturday, June 22nd and 23rd at the Italian School of Archaeology in Makriyianni there will be an Institute Colloquium entitled, “Meditations on the Diversity of the Built Environment in the Aegean Basin: A Colloquium in Memory of Frederick E. Winter”. So put these events on your dance card now!!!

The National Archive of Monuments
Association of the Friends of the Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service Lecture
On Monday, April 30th at 6:30 PM Dr. Alexandra Alexandri, an archaeologist at the Directorate of the National Archive of Monuments, will give a lecture in Greek on the contribution of Greece to the 1893 International Exhibition in Chicago. Greece sent exact copies of many famous ancient statues in the collection of the National Museum. This effort was the foundation of the Workshop at the National Museum which creates and sells these 1:1 copies. It is the only such enterprise that can make direct copies from the originals. The full title of her lecture at the Historical Archive at Psaromilyngou 22 on the border between Theseio, Keremaikos and Psyrri, near Peiraeus Street is: «Η διεθνής έκθεση του Σικάγο του 1893 και η ίδρυση του εργαστηρίου εκμαγείων του Εθνικού Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου».

The Archaeological Museums of Myceane and Nauplio
Save the Date for a Day Excursion to the Argolid!
The Association of the Friends of the Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service is also organizing an interesting day excursion to the Argolid on Saturday, May 12th. The excursion will visit the Museum at Mycenae and the recently reopened Archaeological Museum at Nafplio followed by lunch in picturesque Nafplio. On the way back there will be a winery visit. The departure from central Athens will be at 9:00 AM, returning around 7:00 PM. There will be more details next week. The excursion is open to the members of the Association, their friends, the CIG community and fellow travelers. To save a place (or better yet, places!) on the pullman bus, please write to me at:

David Rupp

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Akrotiri Reopens to the Public

We have just received the official announcement from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism that the archaeological site of Akrotiri on Thira (Santorini) has reopened to the public.

The site was closed in 2005, following the collapse of a shelter which killed a British tourist.

Akrotiri is now open daily 10.00-17.00.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Continuing Work On The Fred Winter Archive

"Sillyon, “Those who arrested me”!" Winter 1957
It's been a while since I've updated you, the blog readers, on my work with Professor Fred Winter's collection of photographic negatives. For those who are new readers to the blog, many months ago when I first started volunteering at the CIG I was shown a collection of negatives donated to the CIG by Professor Winter. These negatives came from all of the travels Professor Winter made to Greece since 1957. The collection is fairly well labeled, but still needed a little straightening up and needed to be databased.

The future of the project is looking brighter and brighter each time I take a look at the collection. Not only is this collection full of wonderful examples of architecture from in and around Greece, but it also has some great information about what archeological study around Greece was like for Professor Winter. There are also some examples of what life was like in Greece from 1957 to the present.

Thessaloniki, Winter 1968
I imagine that this project might take several years to complete, since there are many thousands of negatives to sort, but already there have been some offshoot projects that have come about. Personally, I've started a project where I select some of the photos shot by Professor Winter in the early part of his career and attempt to re-take them in present day Greece. I've managed to shoot some work in both Athens and Thessaloniki with great results. I am also working on a paper that will be presented at the colloquium in memory of Professor Winter in June.

The goal of organizing and promoting this wonderful, and large, collection of photographs is first and foremost to create a database for future academics to use as reference. However, this series can also provide more modern historians a look into the recent history of Greece, and the archeological work of Canadian academics.

Chris Stewart

Friday, April 13, 2012

Waterloo intern, Kyle Campbell writes...

Wow, these past three months have blown by! I’ve met so many wonderful people and visited so many breathtaking places, yet it feels like I only arrived yesterday! I’ve had so many memorable experiences and so it’s hard simply to summarize them here!

Being a concurrent major in Biomedical Sciences and Classical Studies (Language Specialization), I came to Athens as an Intern for the University of Waterloo’s Classical Studies Department while also taking a course in Greek Epigraphy. As an intern, my jobs included cataloguing monographs, periodicals, and offprints for their respective catalogues. A focus was given on the offprints as the information in its catalogue needed updating and sorting. Some other jobs included preparing a list of duplicates for our book sale, hostel laundry and preparing for CIG Lectures and Friend’s Events. I love making food and also really appreciated the material that I learned during the lectures, so CIG Events were always something to really look forward to!

The Epigraphy course was also a very interesting experience. Technically, the course is being taught back in Waterloo as an on-campus course. However, with many inscriptions being just a walking distance away, Dr. Sheila Ager, my professor, gave me permission to take the course through correspondence with her and my classmates. How did I stay in contact? Not only through email, but Skype as well! The course runs from 14:30 – 17:30 on Wednesdays back in Canada, meaning 21:30 – 00:30 here in Athens and so I must say that communicating about Ancient Greek grammar at night and through Skype was certainly amusing! The students in Canada also had to pass me around while they took turns translating (as I was on a laptop) so they also had a few laughs (“OK, pass Kyle to me now!”)! I also had the rare opportunity of making a Squeeze of an Inscription (i.e. making an imprint of an inscription using special paper) thanks to Dr. Robert Pitt, Assistant Director of the British School at Athens, so I can certainly say that I got a lot out of taking the course while here!

My main interests in Classical Studies lie in Political and Military History, so travelling to actually see many of the sites that I previously only could gaze at though a textbook was amazing! I managed to see Ancient Corinth, Acrocorinth, Ancient Messene, Mycenae, Ancient Tiryns, Nafplion, Delphi, Piraeus and of course numerous sites in Athens such as the Acropolis, the Athenian Agora, and the Kerameikos. Seeing these places really gave me a good sense of perspective and will certainly help me in learning more about historical ancient Greek events in the future.

Regarding living in Athens during their economic struggle, I can say that I was never all that worried. You just need to be aware of what is going on, when and where, and to avoid these places when need be. Generally, I felt very safe in the city and didn’t encounter any problems! The Athens News was an excellent source to follow and it is also in English, so I would periodically check the site.

Thanks to everyone in Athens for giving me such a wonderful experience – I am certainly going to return to Canada as a more mature and worldly person! My internship will be a time that I will not forget.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Recess, Save the Dates and Climate Change and Monuments Conference

The Orthodox Easter recess has arrived! This afternoon we close for our annual two week recess. The Institute will reopen on Monday morning, April 23rd. While we are otherwise engaged there will be two guest bloggers to whet your insatiable appetite for CIGiana on Friday afternoons. Our Undergraduate Intern from the University of Waterloo, Kyle Campbell, will regale you with his impressions and experiences of three months in Athens. Then, Chris Stewart, our volunteer working on the Frederick E. Winter B/W Negative Archive will update you on his discoveries among the images.

Save the dates!
You are now officially forewarned to save the following dates for two upcoming major CIG events. First, our Annual Open Meeting will take place on Wednesday May 9th at 7:00 PM at the Danish Institute in Athens. Dr. Nigel Kennell will give the Invited Lecture. Second, on Friday, June 22nd and Saturday the 23rd we will hold a Colloquium on architectural studies in the Memory of Professor Frederick E. Winter. The Colloquium will be held at the Italian School.

A Conference on climate change and monuments with Canadian content!
On Monday I attended the first day of a four-day conference entitled, “Climate Change and Its Impact on Preservation Management of Archaeological Sites” organized by the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy in partnership with ICCROM, the University of Kent, UCL Qatar and the Canadian Conservation Institute ( It was held at the New Acropolis Museum with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation as the Principal Benefactor. I sat with rapt attention for the seven papers. I have seldom heard so many stimulating, well-presented scholarly papers with such high quality, visually attractive powerpoints in one sitting. Thus, it was such a pity that the audience was so small when the organizers under the leadership of Prof. Evangelos Kyriakides (University of Kent) had sent out so many invitations. Truly this was an opportunity lost for those who could have been there.

The conference was designed (as seen from Monday’s papers) to integrate what we think we know about climate models and our ability to predict changes, the probability of the occurrence of catastrophic events that are caused or acerbated by climate change, how we can access the possible and probable risks from these changes on archaeological sites, the effects of the environment on heritage “assets” in the past, and what deterioration we can expect in the future on heritage assets. If climate change and what might be possible in the future was a confusing muddle to you up to now, the papers of Dr. Erasmos Buonomo (UK), Dr. Christos Zerefos (Greece) and Prof. Rohit Jigyasu (India/Japan) would have eliminated that problem.

The characterization of cultural monuments as “heritage assets” by many of the speakers indicates the extent of the commoditization of these monuments by heritage resource managers and specialists. It raises the fundamental questions of “Who really owns the cultural resources of a particular region?” and “For whom are we preserving them?”

Dr. Stefan Michalski

There were three individuals from Canada on the program. Dr. Stefan Michalski (Canadian Conservation Institute) in a creative but convincing fashion crafted a model of the totality of archaeological and cultural heritage in the world with estimates of how much each category was at risk from the direct and indirect effects of climate change driven events. The purpose of this heuristic model is to provide heritage managers with a guide to the probability of 20 possible risks on their heritage/cultural assets. The synergy of multiple risks would amplify the effect. He stretched the concept of risk to include what the consequences might be if some portion of a particular category was lost. Another factor he introduced into the mix was “sensitivity analysis” where value judgments concerning the importance of individual categories were adjusted from the present “norm”. Local assessments of risk have greater clarity accuracy of prediction than global ones. His observations would allow a heritage manager to determine, given the resources available, the most cost-effective options to reduce the most probable risks.

Dr. David J. Orrell
On the program as well was Dr. David J. Orrell, a Canadian mathematician from Edmonton who now lives in Oxford. If his books (Apollo’s Arrow: The Science of Prediction and The Future of Everything [2007] and Economyths: The Ten Ways Economics Gets It Wrong [2010]) are as well-written as his talk and as cleverly illustrated as his powerpoint then you should go out and read them immediately! Orrell emphasized the point that while they are related, modeling and prediction is not the same thing. Even though scientists can model almost everything they can only predict or forecast what will happen in a very small part of the model, or “pockets of predictability.” Further, some things are “too slippery” to predict. For decision making about climate change and its effects he argues that one create a series of scenarios about future possibilities based on simple models.

Another Canadian, Tom Andrews, an archaeologist at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, NT presented his findings on Tuesday on “ice patch archaeology” high up in the Mackenzie Mountains ( Here due to warming conditions over the past decade or so patches of ice that had been frozen for thousands of years have melted revealing artifacts where they had been used and/or lost.

What is the “take away” here from these interrelated papers on climate change for Greece with its myriad of archaeological sites, thousands of designated buildings, tens of museums and millions of artifacts? As Greece will become hotter, sunnier, drier, and windier in the context of localized coastal submergence within the slow process of climate change there will be important ramifications for both for its people and their cultural heritage. There will be a greater frequency and the scale of extreme weather events such as prolonged heat waves, sudden and heavy rainfall with extensive flooding, erosion and landslides, violent wind storms, extended droughts which will heighten the risk of brush and forest fires and increased coastal erosion. These phenomena will also affect the materials and the interiors of buildings. In other words, “perfect storms” of one type or another, often in “suites”, will be a recurring feature of everyday life in the not too distant future. That means the responsible authorities for the cultural heritage of Greece, primarily the Ministry of Culture and Tourism but also the foreign archaeological schools and institutes for their sites, must begin now to create a strategic plan for disaster risk management and reduction in the context of ongoing site and museum management plans. The disaster risk estimation for a given heritage asset is the product of the type of the hazard, the level of exposure and the nature of the vulnerability. In light of the importance of cultural heritage in the marketing of tourism for Greece and, thus, for its economic viability, to resist dealing directly with these threats is short-sighted and irresponsible. It was disappointing that so few senior administrators from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and no other the director of the foreign archaeological schools and institutes attended to see what the future has in store for Greek cultural heritage. Orrell’s use of Wayne Gretzky’s famous aphorism is indeed applicable here. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.” Greek cultural heritage managers and specialists must manage where the climate is going to be.

Kalo Pascha se olous!
David Rupp