Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

A New Resource for the Institute as well as Canada, Brock University Practicum in Crete, and the Summer Recess

Eduardo Moura, H.E. Robert Peck and David Rupp
Online Resource of 40 Years of Canadian Archaeological Research in Greece
A number of my Book of the Blog mini-reviews have featured edited volumes that focused on various aspects of what are referred to as “digital archaeology” and “digital heritage”. Besides harnessing the power and potential of computers to aid in the analysis and the interpretation of archaeological remains the archaeological and cultural heritage management communities are using various digital approaches and portals to organize and to share widely archaeological data sets and imagery by means of the internet. The European Union has a number of these portals. Europeana (www.europeana.eu) is the digital library for European museums, libraries and archives. Archaeological sites, isolated monuments and architectural complexes such as historic cities are accessed through Carare (www.carare.eu). Collections of objects in museums and in archives are available at Michael (http://www.michael-culture.eu). In Greece the Directorate of the National Archive of Monuments of the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for contributing content to these portals. Some of the foreign archaeological institutes and schools have done this as well with their collections, notably the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the British School at Athens and the German Archaeological Institute.

Eduardo Moura, David Rupp and H.E. Robert Peck
The Institute this year started to move toward the organization, the digitization and dissemination of the contents of its Archives from the fieldwork conducted since 1980 under our aegis as well as the research materials donated to the Institute. A substantial financial donation to support this ongoing initiative was made to the Institute last Friday by Mr. Eduardo Moura, Vice President, Corporate Development of Eldorado Gold Corporation (www.eldoradogold.com) on behalf of its Greek subsidiary, Thracian Gold Mining S.A. The Ambassador of Canada to the Hellenic Republic, Robert Peck, was instrumental in arranging for this timely intervention. A central goal of this generous donation will be the creation of a portal that will serve as a virtual photography exhibition to celebrate the achievements of 40 years of Canadian archaeological work throughout Greece. This will serve as an educational tool to promote the knowledge in Canada of Greece’s rich and varied cultural heritage from the prehistoric period through the Byzantine period and later. In the process of doing this the Institute will also be able to link its digital archival collections to such portals as Europeana, Carare and Michael.

The Brock University Field School
Brock University Practicum at Gournia in Crete
Formal field schools or practica are a common feature of many archaeological projects doing fieldwork in Greece, especially of those operating under the aegis of the Institute. These field schools provide the requisite first hand experiences for Canadian undergraduate and graduate students to learn what it means to do fieldwork. This year there were field schools at the excavations at Eleon, Kastro Kallithea and Argilos. While I taught at Brock University I organized and led many such in situ learning experiences in Greece (including Crete), Cyprus and Israel which were called Practica. My colleague at Brock (and member of the Institute's Board of Directors), Prof. Angus Smith has continued this tradition with Practica at his excavations at Ayia Sotira and in Crete at Priniatikos Pyrgos (a project of the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens) and this year at Gournia (a project of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, led by Vance Watrous, SUNY Buffalo). Aided by three teaching assistants the thirteen students have been introduced to the techniques and art of excavation. Two of these students, Christina Muxlow and Steph Radchenko, I am proud to report, are the first recipients of the Practicum Travel Scholarships (nicknamed the “Ruppies”) that were created in my name by my colleagues, former students and friends. To celebrate their achievements this summer my wife and I invited them to dinner at our house in Kavousi. It was an enjoyable mingling of generations.

David Rupp and the Ruppies
The Field Director of the Gournia excavations, Matt Buell (Ph.D. candidate at SUNY Buffalo), graduated from Brock and is a Practicum alumnus. Also working at Gournia was a field school from Wilfrid Laurier University led by Professors Scott Gallimore and Gerry Schaus (the President of the Institute's Board of Directors). Canadians and CIG members are everywhere, eh!!!

Summer Closure
In case you hadn't noticed, here in Greece summer is full swing for some time now. Therefore, it is time for the Institute’s annual summer recess. We will close on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 31st and reopen on Monday, September 3rd. Jonathan will be in Turkey visiting archaeological sites and museums and then in the UK with his family and I will be in Crete working on various articles. Our fall and winter programs are rapidly taking shaping. Those who read this blog will be the first to learn what intellectual treats we’ve arranged.

Kalo Kalokairi!!!
David Rupp

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Fred Winter Collection

Our work on the photographic collection of Professor Fred Winter is moving along very quickly, and we're now at a stage where we can share a few pieces of this collection with the rest of the world.  So every Tuesday, we've decided to post a single photograph, with the description as Prof Winter wrote it.  These photos are selected either for their representation of his work, their visual beauty, or sometimes their quirkiness.  Stay tuned each week for a new photo.
"Paestum, E Gate, view of vaulted gate-passage from inside wall" (Professor Fred Winter)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Governance of the Institute

Many individuals who are familiar with the Institute are nevertheless unfamiliar with how CIG is organized and governed. Established in Canada in 1974 and recognized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in 1976, the Institute is a growing consortium of Canadian universities and organizations that represents to the Ministry the scholarly interests of Canadian researchers who seek to study ancient, Byzantine and contemporary Greece.

A 24-member Board of Directors based in Canada through its various committees sets policy, crafts the annual budget, raises funds, handles publications and oversees the activities here in Athens. The Board includes 12 institutional representatives and 12 individual members. There are three special representatives as well, the Canadian Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, the President of the Classical Association of Canada and a Student Representative.

Nine Board members with the Athens staff

The members of the Board are very active in the life of the Institute. Among other things they are directors of field projects, they give lectures at the Institute, they visit the Institute's premises regularly and they often stay in the hostel. At the recent Colloquium in memory of Professor Winter the majority of the institutional representatives either gave a paper or served as chairs of the sessions. In addition, the Treasurer of the Board and the Student Representative have spent time in Greece this summer.

The recent growth and success of the Institute owes a great deal to the diligence of the Board of Directors as well as their financial acumen, and steadfast dedication. Without this support and advice our work in Athens would not be as effective.

David Rupp

Friday, July 13, 2012

Digging Crete, Again

Kha Gorge and Khalasmenos
Besides being the Director of the Institute I am an active researcher on various topics relating to the past. The summer gives me an opportunity to pursue these projects outside of Athens. At the same time it allows me to see colleagues and to meet archaeologists, especially students working on related topics.

Conservation of LM IIIC Pottery Kiln
At the recent colloquium in memory of Prof. Winter I gave a paper on the architecture of a mid-12th-century BC settlement in eastern Crete. The site on the Isthmus near Ierapetras is called Khalasmenos. Located on a rocky projection near the mouth of the Kha Gorge, it is under excavation by my wife, Dr. Metaxia Tsipopoulou (Director Emerita, Ministry of Culture) since 1992. For the past two weeks at Khalasmenos we've been conducting a cleaning, conservation and study season at the site. The primary object of this summer's work at the site is the in situ conservation and the lifting of part of the floor of a circular kiln used for firing ceramic vessels which was found in a previous field season. The kiln is located in the center of the settlement. The conservators at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete led by Dr. Stefania Chlouveraki in nearby Pachia Ammos undertook this slow, meticulous and often arduous work. After the removal of the floor, the task of cleaning the sub-floor flues, the fire box and the entrance to the stoke hole was undertaken. I worked hard to find the stoke hole. After twenty years of excavation a site can still produce surprises.

Emily Stevens and Maggie Beeker drawing walls
One of my goals this year has been to clarify the sequence of construction of the structures in the four quarters of the settlement and to investigate details of its layout. To achieve these ends we've cleaned around a number of the walls in the southeast part of Sector C. My initial impressions have had to be modified in a number of areas and new information has come to light in others. Emily Stevens and Maggie Beeker, graduate students at Bryn Mawr College, who are digging at nearby Gournia this summer under the direction of Vance Watrous (SUNY Buffalo) helped me for two days by starting the drawing of the exposed walls despite the wind and the heat. This constant search for additional information forces us to revise and to refine our interpretations of the archaeological record. I hope that John MacEnroe, now doing research at nearby Gournia, who gave a paper at our colloquium and has written a book on Minoan architecture, will have the time to visit the site with me to critique my interpretations in situ before I have to submit my paper for the colloquium publication.

With this out of the way I can turn my attention to a book review and the updating of my guide to Athens in the form of a smartphone app. Maybe some vacation time is deserved as well!

David Rupp

Friday, July 6, 2012

The CIG Summer Road Show, Part III

Jonathan Tomlinson (far left) and David Rupp (third from right) with project directors and local dignitaries at Kastro Kallithea
The annual visitation of the Institute's excavation projects took place last week. This year Jonathan accompanied me to all three of our synergasies. Those of you who follow him on Facebook will have seen his hourly updates!

Excavating Ancient Eleon
The akropolis at ancient Eleon in eastern Boiotia saw the first full excavation season of EBAP. This synergasia of Prof. Brendan Burke (University of Victoria) and his co-researchers has a new synergatis, Alexandra Charami of the 9th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Their former synergatis, Dr. Vasilis Aravantinos, retired from the Ministry last fall. This season they expanded the two 5 x 5 m trenches started last year. The LH IIIC walls and associated deposits along with the LH III A-B walls and deposits are impressive and interesting. While it is too soon to talk of specific buildings, the indications so far suggest that the walls are part of substantial structures.

On the curving Lesbian polygonal wall front they uncovered a south tower that matches the known northern one. The width of the wall behind this tower is impressive! Immediately to the south they started to open up what looks to me like a gate structure with simple polygonal masonry. At a very deep level they encountered a LH I wall. So far there are no signs of post Bronze Age remains to go with the later 4th-century BC fortification wall. Brendan will bring you up to date in August when he is a guest blogger here.
Pithoi in Building 10 at Kastro Kallithea
I made my first visit to Kastro Kallithea in southern Thessaly (Jonathan had had the pleasure previously in 2006). Prof. Margriet Haagsma (University of Alberta) and her synergatis, Sophia Karapanou of the 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities gave us an extensive tour of this fortified polis site along with the Mayor of Pharsalos, Mr. Aris Karaxalias, and his municipal archaeologist (one of the first in Greece I think!). As the hill is covered in dense and sharp vegetation we had to follow the paths carefully to end up where the excavated parts were located. In the Agora we saw the long stoa that Karapanou is excavating. Then we went to Building 10 where the Canadian component is excavating a large, well-built house constructed at the end of the 4th century BC and in use until the early 2nd century BC. It has an unusual feature. At its center is a small courtyard with a Roman-style atrium impluvium in the center. Four simple, unfluted marble Doric columns supported the sloping roof. The catch basin had a drain that ran to a bathroom to the north. This year the focus of the excavations are on a storeroom that was filled with pithoi of all sizes. Afterwards we visited their work space in the Kallithea village's old elementary school. The finds are varied and interesting. The imported items and the unusual ones show the wealth of the occupants. Margriet will share with us her overview of the season in her guest blog in August.

The economic crisis gripping Greece now, going on five years, revealed itself in the absence of traffic on the National Road. The frequent and expensive tolls are probably one of the factors creating this situation.

Argilos, South East Sector
At Argilos in central Macedonia Prof. Jacques Perreault (Université de Montréal) and his synergatis, Zissis Bonias (now retired from the 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities) greeted us warmly. This was my second visit to the site and Jonathan's first. We were first shown their new sector placed in a level area between South East and National Road Sectors. They have discovered a very long and well-built structure dating to the 6th century BC that is divided into a series of rooms of different sizes. Some of them were used to store transport amphorae. In front of this building at much lower level was found a wide wall that must date to the beginning of the colony.

We then toured the South East Sector where they are working on defining details of the houses there. They plan to start constructing roofs over each of the excavated houses. Afterwards we went to the akropolis to see the massive fortified two-storey farmhouse that was built in the later 5th century. Jacques and Zissis shared with us their hopes to restore it and cover it with a proper covering structure. At the Museum in Amphipolis we were shown some of their finds from this year as well as important ones from previous years. Argilos will be represented in the CIG blog in August by two of Jacques' graduate students, Keven Ouellet and Marie Clermont-Mignault. Both gave excellent papers - on the fortification wall and House E at Argilos respectively - at the recent CIG Colloquium in memory of Prof. Frederick E. Winter.

Despite all the driving and the very hot first day Jonathan and I were very pleased to have seen so much in just three days. The opportunity to see and to discuss each project in situ with the excavators, to learn first hand the challenges that they are facing as well as their tentative plans for future research provided me with the requisite contextual information and insights to assist them in accomplishing their goals.

On a personal note I was able to see for the first time a part of Greece, Thessaly, that I had never seen. The rolling, agriculturally rich plains of Thessaly have an extensive archaeological heritage which will require further exploration!

David Rupp