Friday, August 31, 2012

The Institute Reopens

Just a reminder that the Institute reopens for the new academic year this Monday, September 3. We'll have a couple of new faces with us this autumn - Gino Canlas will take up the Institute's Elisabeth Alföldi-Rosenbaum Fellowship from September to May, and Rachel Dewan from Wilfrid Laurier University will be interning at CIG from September to December. More on Gino and Rachel in future blogs!

Pictured, the temple of Athina Polias at Priene; one of the sites in western Turkey that I visited during my August break.

Jonathan Tomlinson
Assistant Director

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Argilos 2012

Des étudiants qui travaillent dans le maison
La campagne de fouille 2012 de la mission gréco-canadienne d’Argilos s’est achevée le 13 juillet dernier, après 6 semaines de travail. Sous la direction du Dr Zisis Bonias (Ministère grec de la Culture) et du professeur Jacques Perreault (Université de Montréal), les fouilles se sont concentrées sur 2 zones: le secteur sud-est, où la fouille du bâtiment F a été complétée et un nouveau secteur, le chantier Koutloudis.

Équipe 2012
Cette première campagne dans le chantier Koutloudis a été riche en découvertes. Menée à terme par une équipe expérimentée et dynamique, assistée de plusieurs étudiants-stagiaires venant de différents horizons (Canada, États-Unis, France, Australie, Nouvelle-Zélande), la fouille a permis la mise au jour d’un long bâtiment de plus de 25 mètres, constitué d’une succession de pièces contigües dont certaines auraient servi de salles de stockage et d’autres étaient probablement réservées à la pratique d’un culte domestique. Dans la section sud, nous avons également mis au jour un long mur associé à la période archaïque. L’été 2013 nous réserve donc encore bien des découvertes et nous permettra d’éclaircir la chronologie et la nature de ces 2 constructions.

Chantier Koutloudis. Début et fin de la campagne
Le programme de l’été était bien rempli : fouille et travail au musée d’Amphipolis du lundi au vendredi, visites de sites ou de musées de la région le samedi, puis repos bien mérité le dimanche. Nous avons notamment visité Pella et Vergina, les musées archéologiques et byzantins de Thessalonique, le site de Philippi et la cave d’Alistratis.

Kostas le potier
Nous avons aussi profité le temps d’un weekend des splendeurs que recèle l’île de Thasos! La carrière de marbre d’Aliki, les plages de sable blanc, le musée archéologique et les ruines qui se cachent un peu partout dans la petite ville de Limenas. Nous avons rendu visite à notre ami Kostas le potier, qui, toujours aussi généreusement, a partagé son savoir faire et a même enseigné l’art du tour à certains étudiants curieux. Et nous en avons profité au retour pour célébrer le 24 juin la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, fête nationale des québécois, au bar habituel où les propriétaires ont fièrement accroché le drapeau du Québec au plafond!

Drapeau de la Grèce et drapeau du Québec, Versus Beach Bar, Asprovalta
La fouille s’est terminée par une célébration des 20 ans de la mission d’Argilos! Et oui, déjà 20 ans depuis les débuts en 1992. La fête s’est poursuivie jusqu’aux petites heures du matin, comme la tradition le veut en Grèce…

Sabrina Giroux, Alexandra Schuller, Bron Partell, Keven Ouellet et Marie Clermont-Mignault
À l’année prochaine!
Marie Clermont-Mignault, Keven Ouellet, Sabrina Giroux (Université de Montréal), Alexandra Schuller (McGill University), Bronwyn Partell (Macquarie University)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Fred Winter Collection

"Herakleia, interior three-storeyed tower, high slot (for oxybeleis?) in middle storey" (Professor Fred Winter)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pithoi and other Stories: excavating the store rooms of Building 10. A report on the Kastro Kallithea Archaeological Project's 2012 season

Fig. 1. Breakfast on the Acropolis of Kastro Kallithea at 6am with full moon
The Kastro Kallithea Archaeological Project is a synergasia between the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports and the Canadian Institute in Greece. The former is represented by Sophia Karapanou of the 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at Larissa, and the latter by Margriet Haagsma of the University of Alberta.

On May 28th 2012 at 5.45 am our Canadian Kallithea team of staff, students and volunteers began what would become our daily trek for the upcoming six weeks: a 618 meter high climb to the acropolis of the ancient town situated on the hill above the village of Kallithea in Thessaly. After eating our fresh pastries and enjoying the stunning sunrise above the Pelion, we walked across the agora towards the eastern part of the site. Here, at the corner of avenue B and Street 3, is Building 10; a large Late Hellenistic mansion dating to the late 3rd-2nd Centuries BCE, measuring 20 by 15 meters, which our team has been excavating for the last three seasons. (See fig. 2.)

Fig. 2: Plan of Building 10
This large house has a number of unusual features; its construction, layout and decoration are clearly different from the more traditional architectural styles in Greek domestic architecture. The atrium (Unit E) for instance, displays a distinct Roman influence and the wall paintings and domestic items must have articulated the wealth of this household. Houses of the late Hellenistic period with Roman influences have been found in various other areas such Delos and Northwestern Greece, but thus far not in inland Thessaly and never one dating to a period this early. This makes Building 10 unique. Its study will make significant contributions to our knowledge of urban life in this important period of transition.

This year’s original plan was to finalize our work by excavating the remaining areas and documenting and removing all baulks. We decided to start right away with the unopened areas, which we labelled units I, J, K and L, while we continued with units G, H and room 4. Since we were in a hurry, we chose to excavate in extra large spits and remove as much of the rubble as possible while not compromising our documentation. The first challenge consisted of removing all large building blocks that were lodged into the topsoil of the new units. The site is remote and the team could not hire machinery to do the work, so it all needed to be done by hand! The problem was largely solved by combining our men and women power with tarp and straps that could withstand pressures of 500 kg.
Fig. 3 Pithoi nos. 1, 2, 5 and 10 in Unit L
Under the rubble, the team encountered dense layers of rooftiles, some of which bore stamps of various makers, two of them known, the other one new. In between and under the rooftiles, in units K and L, the team initially found two pithoi, apparently in situ. In the course of the successive two weeks, when the team reached the floor level, that number had increased to no less than ten! (See figs. 3 and 4.) In addition, we found a large number of other smaller storage vessels in this area. The number of pithoi and the accompanying storage capacity is unprecedented for a house of this period. Five of these vessels are very large, measuring more than 1 meter in diameter. They were dug into the beaten clay floor to a depth of at least 1 m. The smaller ones are dug in or were standing at floor level and one of the containers (pithos 4) had toppled over, spilling its burnt contents over the floor. A sample has been taken and will be analyzed, as we hope to find out what kinds of food the inhabitants of this house kept in storage. Pithoi were expensive vessels in antiquity and their sheer number is another indication that the households originally inhabiting Building 10 must have had abundant access to food resources, either directly, via exchange, or both.

Fig. 4. Units K and L as seen from the northwest with pithoi 1-3 and 4-10
Units G and H were finished this year and it became clear that both rooms originally had plastered walls. Unit G even yielded ample evidence for elaborate wall decorations: plaster mouldings and imitation marble slabs were found which had fallen onto the floor. Given its location, size and its monumental threshold we hypothesize that Unit G may have originally been an andron, the role of which was modified during a second phase habitation later in the 2nd century BCE. A spectacular terracotta figurine was found here as well, consisting of a standing female with an unusual headdress (see fig. 5). The other areas in Building 10 yielded a variety of finds including a large number of bronze items including two archaic fibulae as well as a large number of mould made bowls testifying to the activities and opulent life style of the households inhabiting this building.

Fig. 5. Head of the terracotta figurine found in Unit G
The overwhelming number of vessels discovered in the storage area made it impossible for us to finalize our work this year. We hope, however, to reach our goal in the upcoming season; the full excavation and documentation of this fascinating domestic setting.

Sophia Karapanou will continue her excavation in the stoa of the ancient town in September 2012. She and Margriet Haagsma gave a presentation on the project for 250 enthusiastic Pharsalians on July 4th in the Cultural Centre at Pharsala. Mayor Aris Karaxalias was a wonderful host and provided the team with dinner, music and dance afterwards. We are deeply indebted to the municipality as well as FC Narthaki’s Elias Papadopoulos who provided the team with housing and other facilities. We thank them, as well as numerous others warmly for the continuous support our cooperative project has received over the years.

Margriet J. Haagsma and Sophia Karapanou

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project - Excavations at Ancient Eleon 2012

Ancient Eleon
Looking back on our first full season of excavation, we realize how truly collaborative archaeological research is. Without help from friends, old and new, our season would never have been as successful. Our excavation at ancient Eleon began June 4th (the holy day of Ayia Pneuma), so work really began on Tuesday, the 5th. The two trial trenches from 2011 held up very well over the winter, with no collapse or damage. Within a few hours of cleaning, with our eager crew (about 20 new and old EBAPers), we were able to get the whole excavation area ready for the new season.

While we are very fortunate that the site still looked the same, some things have changed since last year: we have a new synergatis (collaborator) with the 9th Ephoreia, Dr. Alexandra Charami. We are also now working with Olga Kyriatzi from the Thebes Museum. Both of them have helped us greatly in 2012 and we sincerely look forward to working with them for many years to come. Our colleague Susan, whom we worked with especially on the regional survey (2007-2009), was not with us this year in the field. She and her family were busy relocating from Singapore back to Canada (Montreal). We very much hope this transition goes well for them. Among our other new collaborators, we have Dr. Evi Margaritis beginning a flotation system to help us better understand ancient diet and the environment; an excellent conservator, Basiliki (Vicky) Karas, from Victoria, who brought her husband and two beautiful children; Tina Ross, a former UVic grad student and now a very experienced archaeological illustrator; and a new architect for the project, Giuliana Bianco, who has extensive experience working on excavations in Greece – having worked for decades at Kommos with Joe and Maria Shaw, and most recently at the site of Mitrou in East Lokris.

The villages of eastern Boeotia where we live and work are all administered by the Demarchos (mayor) based in Schimatari: Vangellis Georgiou and his staff were very welcoming to us and we look forward to working with them in the years to come. We also made several new friends in the village of Arma, adjacent to the site of ancient Eleon: Spyros Davros, the president of the village, and Stavroula Dimitriou, who manages the local agricultural collective were incredibly generous with their time and assisted us particularly in establishing an apotheke for storage and workspace related to the project. It was truly a multi-tiered operation getting it ready for use, requiring the participation of our colleagues in Thebes, the Schimatari Museum, and the Ministry of Culture in Athens; several visits from the approved alarm installer and repeated interaction with OTE (Greek telephone company); plus a real effort from the people of the Arma agricultural collective who cleaned out the storage area and helped us put new iron bars on the windows. We are very pleased to say that the apotheke is fully ready now.

The EBAP team 2012
For the excavation itself, we have structured of our team with two site directors (Bryan Burns and myself) and four site supervisors (Genevieve Hill, Emily Anderson, Trevor Van Damme, and Mina Nikolovieni). Back at the dig house in Dilessi we had Stephie Nikoloudis supervising the study and record keeping of the project. In the trenches with us were about 12 students from our home institutions, the University of Victoria and Wellesley College, plus students from the University of Pennsylvania, Florida State University, and the University of Arizona. The team worked very well together and socialized well too! On our three-day mid-season break, nearly all of them chose to go to Nauplion together for relaxation and touring the sites of the Argolid and Corinthia.

Our excavation this summer concentrated on continuing the trial trenches begun last year. We had two primary areas of research focus: the Late Mycenaean period (ca. 1200-1100 BC) and the period of construction for the large polygonal wall which dominates our site (whenever that is!? 6th, 5th, or 4th century BC). Results were very good for our research program but also for our students’ excavation experience. Six of our students participated in the dig for University of Victoria credit (GRS 495). While we relied on them for their strength and ability to help move earth, they also took full advantage of the opportunity to learn how archaeology is practiced in Greece and to develop skills that will be useful in any future work. Many of them improved their excavation Greek, learning the key words for ‘wheelbarrow’ and ‘trowel’, which can be helpful in all sorts of situations. English phrases, like ‘pyro-technic feature’ may also be useful. They got to experience the thrill of finding things that hadn’t seen the light of day since 1200 BC: painted pottery, figurine fragments, animal bones, and pieces of well-made copper alloy implements. After excavating from 6:30 am to 1:30 pm each day, we would have a lunch break and rest, and then in the afternoons, from 5 until 7 pm, everyone participated in the processing of the day’s finds, beginning with pot washing. Sorting, counting, and recording the sherds was also very important. Some students had a one- or two-day internship with our conservator, learning how to mend pots and clean items of various materials. Other students gained experience in archaeological illustration and photography. All of these activities were tracked and recorded for our excavation database, in Filemaker Pro, which all the students learned how to use.

Excavation in progress 2012
Our last weekend of the excavation was especially memorable, in that we were able to meet other Canadian excavators – in particular, the Kastro Kallithea project out of the University of Alberta. We were happy to have Margriet Haagsma and her team visit the site one hot Saturday afternoon in July. It was even more fun to continue on to Athens with them to the Official Residence of the Canadian Ambassador, who kindly allowed us to have an old fashioned barbecue and pool party while he and his wife were out of town. It could not have come at a more perfect time for our excavation, after a week of temperatures above 40 degrees. We are very grateful to the Ambassador, to the Canadian Embassy, especially Allison Stewart, and to Jonathan Tomlinson for arranging it all.

Overall our season was a great success and we look forward to returning in early June 2013. We are especially looking forward to working in our new apotheke, located literally a stone’s throw from our excavation area in Arma village. We thank everyone who made this season such a great success!

Brendan Burke
Co-Director, EBAP

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Three-Month Adventure in Greece!

It is hard to believe I am almost at the end of my three month internship at the Canadian Institute in Greece.

I began my internship helping my fellow intern, Mark Walley, in entering offprints, monographs, periodicals, newsletters and book reviews into CIG’s database. I then was given the job, for June and July, to work on entering Frederick Winter’s photographic negative collection into the database. I am happy to say that I have completed entering the nearly 300 rolls of film (each roll has roughly 36 photographs) and I have gotten the Institute's new scanner up and running – Winter’s negatives are now being scanned so that CIG will have an electronic version that people can look up and use for their research. It was a very interesting job to do as I not only love photography but it was great seeing places I have visited, such as Delphi, in a photograph from the 1960s!

Aside from working on the databases, I also helped out with the hostel – I did weekly laundry, got the rooms ready for guests on occasion, and welcomed and showed guests the hostel. I also helped with making and serving food for the reception at the Canadian Institute’s Open Meeting in May, and in June I assisted with handing out programs and welcoming everyone at the door at the Colloquium in Memory of Frederick Winter.

I was very fortunate to have the experience of digging at Ancient Eleon for a few days. I have always wanted to go on an excavation but I was unable to find many opportunities to do so. I would like to thank Eleon co-directors Brendan Burke and Bryan Burns for giving me the opportunity to experience the Institute's dig at Ancient Eleon. It was a fantastic learning experience and a lot of fun.

Between lectures and open meetings, receptions and a colloquium, and of course the Red Lion (and Excalibur), I am blown away by the huge social life here. I enjoyed going to darts night at the Red Lion every Tuesday night. It was always a lot of fun and it was great meeting so many new people and seeing the friends I have made here. It created a nice balance between work and play.

Of course, I couldn’t be in Greece or Europe without having done a fair bit of traveling and wandering. I have of course wandered around Athens, visiting archaeological sites such as the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, I visited some museums and shopped on and around Ermou Street and Monastiraki Square. I have also been to a few beaches outside of Athens and visited Piraeus and Rafina. Within the mainland of Greece I have visited Thebes, Sounion, Delphi, Dilesi and Halandri. I also went to the islands Hydra, Aegina and Mykonos. All these places were great experiences in exploring and seeing not only temples and old ruins, but also enjoying the beaches and the social part of Greek culture. I was also very fortunate to the have the opportunity to visit friends in Amsterdam and Edinburgh and family in Geneva.

This entire experience has been very rewarding not only because I was able to explore a different perspective of archaeology and see different sites throughout Greece but through my interactions with people I have met, food I have tried and traveling I have done, I was able to explore Greek culture as well as the archaeological community in Greece. In addition, I feel that this internship really allowed me to see that I can bring my two majors of Anthropology and English together, as well as my interest in archaeology and photography. I have learnt a lot about archaeology and it was a great experience, for an English major, to get an opportunity to work at a library – especially an archaeological one! Although I am sad that I will be leaving in a few days, this experience has been amazing and I will miss everyone very much….but I will be back!

Thank you all for making this internship and adventure absolutely awesome!

Laura Beaton
York University
CIG intern, May-July 2012