Friday, January 31, 2014

The Prehistoric Landscape of Thessaly Conceptualized

The first Institute lecture of 2014 will take place on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:30 PM in the Library. The speaker is our own 2013/14 Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, C. Myles Chykerda (Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California – Los Angeles). Myles passed this month (as they say with “flying colors”) his preliminary examinations. He now is embarking with vigor on the research for his doctoral dissertation. The title of the lecture, “Structuring Thessaly: Working Towards Finding Patterns in the Prehistoric Landscape”, reflects the subject that he will investigate.

To quote Myles, “Pre-Classical Thessaly has largely remained a historical enigma, a fact recently highlighted by Emma Aston who states that in an attempt to piece together a vivid narrative of an ambitious Archaic Thessaly, the historian engages in a futile search for an alluring, yet intangible, illusion created from semi-mythical accounts recorded by later ancient historians.”

“In light of such a basic lack of recorded details, is it possible to further comment on the nature of early Thessaly? Indeed, a thorough study of the region’s landscape and human settlement patterns may reveal early human structures that will allow us to consider basic questions concerning the period’s distinct cultural form. What social factors were at play? Was the environmental situation of Thessaly a leading cause in the formation of a social order unique in Greece? Did settlement patterns and associated social memory of early periods, such as the Late Bronze Age, affect developments of the Early Iron Age and Archaic periods? These are all questions potentially addressed by a study of the archaeological landscape.”

“Nested within the recent theoretical paradigm shift towards the ethnos as a unit of analysis, developed by authors such as Morgan, McInerney, Hall, and Graninger, this lecture aims to consider the means of addressing these questions and represents the theorizing which occurs at the beginning point of such a study. In proposing to investigate the early periods of Thessalian settlement, I shall investigate potential means of analyses, such as Geographical Information System methods, potential theoretical frameworks, comparative foils for a diachronic analysis, and suggest potential findings.”

The lecture promises to be an insightful and well-constructed prolegomenon to Myles' ongoing study of the settlement patterns of ancient Thessaly from a variety of analytical perspectives.

After the lecture we will have our annual cutting of the Institute’s (Vasilo)pita for the New Year. The lucky person who finds the flouri in her/his piece not only will have good fortune for the entire year but also have a gouri as a reminder of this fact.

David Rupp

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Perge, panorama of the city (from SE walls?), extending from view NW across city to SW looking toward the area of the later S Gate. (Professor Fred Winter 1978)

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Institute's Winter/Spring Lecture Program and Heated Exchanges over the Management of Greek Sites and Museums

The Institute’s lecture program for the winter/spring of 2014 is out! The lectures will be held at the Institute’s Library starting at 7:30 PM.

We start on Wednesday evening, February 5th, with the lecture of our 2013/14 Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, C. Myles Chykerda (Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California – Los Angeles). The title of the lecture is “Structuring Thessaly: Working Towards Finding Patterns in the Prehistoric Landscape”. The subject relates to the research that he will pursue for his doctoral dissertation. After Myles’ lecture we will cut our Vassilopita for the health, happiness and productivity of the Institute and its members in 2014.

A month later, on Wednesday, March 5th, Margarita Nazou will give a lecture entitled “A site with a view: Kiapha Thiti and its connections during the 4th and 3rd millennia BC”. Margarita recently completed a successful defence of her Ph.D. thesis at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. A part of her dissertation research concerned her study of the Neolithic pottery from the Queens University excavations carried out at Kiapha Thiti in southern Attika under the aegis of the Institute from 1986 through 1988.

The last lecture of the series will be on Friday, March 28th. Dr. Sophia Karapanou (Archaeologist, 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities) will give the lecture entitled “Early Results from the recent excavations on the shores of the dried lake Karla, Eastern Thessaly”. Dr. Karapanou is the synergatis of Prof. Margriet Haagsma (University of Alberta) on their joint excavation project at the Hellenistic city at Kastro Kallithea in Thessaly. As you can see from this lecture program we are very interested in Thessaly!

Whither Greek archaeological sites and museums in 2014 and beyond?
As the economic crisis gripping this country continues with claims of hope for an improvement by the end of this year and accusations that it will get worse, the management of cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture and Sport is challenged. As tourism at the moment is the main possibility in the shorter term for generating much needed new revenues, the country’s archaeological sites and museums are one of the reasons visitors would choose to vacation in Greece. To that end, the Ministry has announced that starting April 1st and continuing through the end of October, the 33 most visited archaeological sites and museums in the country will be open for 12 hours every day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Operators of cruise ships and package tours will be pleased with this development. This is, of course, if the money is allocated in the end by the government and the requisite additional guards are hired.

But what of the rest of the less well-known archaeological sites and museums which are away from the touristic hotspots and, thus, not so favored by the average tourist? Many of these have been open only on reduced hours this winter as no money had been allocated for overtime or additional guards. Professor Emeritus Stephen Miller (University of California – Berkeley), Director Emeritus of the excavations at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea (under the aegis of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens), was irate when the Ministry did this to the museum at the site for lack of funds for the guards. He wrote an open letter in October to the Ministry and to the media complaining of this short-sightedness and suggested that the sites and museums of the country be privatized as the Ministry was unable to administer and to protect them properly. He proposed how if private companies could own and operate the sites and museums the antiquities, the visitors and the local communities could all benefit. The Union of Greek Archaeologists which represents the archaeologists employed by the Ministry of Culture and Sport reacted sharply against this suggestion at the time. Their basic position is that if sufficient funds were given to employ permanently the requisite number of archaeologists and guards for the stewardship of all of the sites and museums the situation would be resolved.

This call for privatization has resurfaced this month when Charlotte MacDonald-Gibson published an article about the situation in the January 18th issue of Time Magazine ( ). This article has revived the attacks on Miller’s proposal by the Union of Greek Archaeologists and the assertions by the Minister of Culture that this will never happen ( ). Miller, in frustration, claimed he was misunderstood when he said that archaeological sites were being vandalized. He meant that this assertion was directed only at unfenced and unguarded archaeological sites. His complete proposal was attached to the latter article.

The issues raised here are central to the future of the stewardship of the country’s very rich cultural heritage – known and waiting to be discovered. The lack of adequate funds (and, thus, personnel) to do this properly and thoroughly, as the administrative structure and procedures redefined and refined in in the law passed in 2002 was designed to achieve, has meant that short cuts are being taken, work is not being done and ad hoc solutions are chosen. The way things are progressing with the country’s finances it is naïve to think that in the foreseeable future the Ministry of Culture will be given what it needs to realize the broad vision of the Union of Greek Archaeologists. Having extended hours for the most popular sites and museums for the tourist season is only a band aid. In reality, it only will reinforce the narrow and superficial view that most visitors have (and are presented with) of what constitutes Greek cultural heritage. Private companies having the rights over selected popular sites and museums is no better than the making the “New” Akropolis Museum an independent entity, outside the framework of the existing ephorates of the Hellenic Archaeological Service. What happens to the other sites and museums?

Each of the three proposals misses the mark in my opinion, as they represent extreme positions that do not confront holistically all aspects of all of the interrelated problems. A significant portion of the income from ticket sales, from gift shop sales and from photographic fees that goes to the Treasury of Archaeological Funds and Expropriations (T.A.P.A.) should be spent on needs directly related to the stewardship of the archaeological heritage. Private, registered cultural resource management firms should be able to undertake - under the strict supervision of the Ministry of Culture archaeologists - the search for, the documentation of, and the testing of archaeological sites ahead of development projects and building activities. All of this needs to take place within the framework of a well-developed, broadly supported, long-term strategic plan for the stewardship of all of the country’s cultural heritage and resources. If this rich and varied heritage is truly seen by the present Greek government, as well as future ones, as crucial to the economic future of the country then it goes without saying that it should be respected and supported in every way possible.

Where do you stand on the question of the stewardship of a country’s archaeological heritage? Is it the sole responsibility of the State? Is it best managed by private entities? Or it should be a State/Private co-responsibility?

David Rupp

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mea Culpa Matt! Welcome Tanner! and a Lecture on the History of Greek Bronze Age Archaeology

Mea Culpa Matt!
How could I have missed one of the Institute’s loyal, young stalwarts on the program of the recent AIA meetings??? Infallible I’m not, as Jonathan well knows! So with a mea culpa I wish to add to the CIG blog record Matthew Mather’s active presence on the AIA program.

Women and the Military in Greece and Rome Session:
Matthew P. Maher, University of Winnipeg: “Betraying Their Sex: Women, Warfare, and the Defense of the Polis”.

Welcome Tanner Rudnick!
Each fall, winter/spring and summer we are fortunate to have an undergraduate intern from Canada work with us at the Institute. This winter it is the University of Waterloo’s turn to send us a student for three months. A week ago Tanner Rudnick came to Athens. He is a 4th-year Honours B.A. major in Classical Studies with concentration on Ancient Greek and Latin. This is his first visit to Greece so everything is new, but familar!

His particular philological interests are in onomastics and toponomastics, especially in the widely Greek-speaking ancient Asia Minor. Since epigraphy plays a critical role in the study of such subjects he hopes to become acquainted with this discipline while here. Tanner’s ICT skills and experiences will come in handy as we work on improving the CIG website and continue to add imagery and features to the CIG Portal to the Past.

You will have a chance to meet him at our first lecture in early February, or sooner at the Red Lion!

Swift and Blegen at the Peirene Spring in Ancient Corinth
The Beginnings of the Study of Early Helladic Greece
In the past few years there has been noticeable interest in examining aspects of the roots of contemporary Greek archaeology in the earlier 20th century, especially relating to the Bronze Age. One of the individuals who shaped the course of this research was Carl Blegen. His work in the Corinthia, at Troy and at Pylos set research agendas that are still today valid. Last spring there was a colloquium at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens re-evaluating his contributions.

Korakou, East Alley Stratigraphy
One of the speakers at that colloquium, Dr. Ioulia Tzonou-Herbst, the Assistant Director of the Corinth Excavations of the ASCSA, will give an illustrated lecture in Greek on Monday, the 20th, at 6:30 pm for the Sylllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archaeiou tis Archaiologikis Iperesias. The title of her lecture is, «Ο Ανασκαφέας Carl Blegen στην Κόρινθο: Στρωματογραφία στις Αρχές του 20ου Αιώνα». She will examine how he developed his method of determining a site’s stratigraphy and its relationship to other sites in the short period of time while he was excavating the Early Helladic site of Korakou on the Gulf of Corinth coast, just north of Ancient Corinth. His formulation was the basis for the relative chronology scheme he devised with Alan Wace to divide up the mainland’s cultural evolution during the Bronze Age which is still employed today. As Ioulia is an excellent lecture-giver this should be an enlightening experience.

After the lecture the Syllogos Filon will cut their pita for the health, happiness and good fortune of the Syllogos and its members in 2014. Maybe you’ll find the flouri in your piece and receive the good luck gouri??? The lecture will be at the Historical Archive on Psaromylingou 22 on the cusp between the Kerameikos and the Psyrri Districts. The Theseio Train station is the nearest one.

The Institute's winter/spring lecture series and events will be announced shortly, Keep watching for the announcements!

David Rupp

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Ephesos, view down Kuretes Street to Celsus Library. (Professor Fred Winter 1977)

Friday, January 10, 2014

CIG and Its Members at the A.I.A. Meeting in Chicago

Every year, the first weekend in January, archaeologists and fellow travelers interested in the archaeological heritage of the Mediterranean world, Europe and the Middle East, from the Paleolithic period to the present, gather in a city somewhere in North America for a large four-day professional meeting. This meeting is organized by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and one or more of their local societies. There are scholarly papers, colloquia, workshops, and poster sessions (as well as joint sessions with the American Philological Association which meets at the same time ) where topics of current interest are addressed and the results of the most recent fieldwork and research presented. Many of these contributions will turn eventually into some form of publication. This year’s AIA meeting was held last week in the cold, windy and snowy city of Chicago. The meeting is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Philological Association which focuses on Greek and Latin philology and literature, ancient history and classical studies in general. Obviously, the interests of the two organizations and their members are congruent in many areas.

At the recent AIA meetings the Institute and its members were well represented as always. Below are listed where and by whom CIG made its presence known to our archaeological colleagues. The underlined individuals are CIG members. Papers with an * indicate the results of fieldwork carried out under the aegis of the Institute with a permit from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport. Dimitri Nakassis and Tristan Carter were particularly busy this year! Their planned fieldwork this coming summer should keep them in the “limelight” too at next year’s AIA meeting in New Orleans, I believe!

If I have inadvertently missed any active CIG member who gave a paper and/or participated in some fashion in the program please let me know immediately so that I can update the list!

David Rupp

Mycenaean Political Economy Session:
Dimitri Nakassis (University of Toronto) and Kevin Pluta (University of Texas – Austin): “Digital Imaging of the Linear B Tablets from the Palace of Nestor”.

Lithics and Interactions in Mediterranean Prehistory Session:
Chair: Tristan Carter (McMaster University).

Tristan Carter, Denica Mihailovic (University of Belgrade), Yiannis Papadatos (University of Athens), and Crysa Sofianou (24th EPCA): “The Cretan Earlier Mesolithic in the Eastern Mediterranean Context: New Data from Livari”.

Villas Session:
Maria Papaioannou (University of New Brunswick): “Villas in Roman Greece” From Center to Periphery”.

Poster Session:
Michael MacKinnon (University of Winnipeg): “’Crying Fowl’: Reevaluating the Role of Poultry in Roman Dietary and Ritual contexts”.

Jami Baxley (College of Charleston), Benjamin Rennison (Clemson Univerisity), James Newhard (College of Charleston), Kevin Pluta (University of Texas – Austin), Dimitri Nakassis (University of Toronto): “The Use of Structured Light Scanning for the Study of Linear B Deposits from Pylos, Messenia, Greece”.

Putting It Back Together: The Reconstruction and Interpretation of Ancient Surface Decoration Colloquium:
Anne Chapin (Brevard College) and Maria Shaw (University of Toronto): “Picking Up The Pieces – Virtually: Minoan Frescoes from the South House (Crete)”.

Reciprocity in Aegean Palatial Societies: Gifts, Debt, and the Foundations of Economic Exchange Session:
Co-Organizer: Dimitri Nakassis (University of Toronto)

Variations on a Theme: Death in Late Bronze Age Greece Session:
*Angus Smith (Brock University), Mary K. Dabney (Bryn Mawr College) and James Wright (Bryn Mawr College): “The Mycenaean Cemetery at Ayia Sotira, Nemea”.

Network Connectivity in Old World Prehistory Session:
Zack Batist (McMaster University) and Tristan Carter (McMaster University): “Using Network Analysis to Examine Relative Resource Procurement Strategies in Anatolia and Southwest Asia from the Epipaleolithic to Chalcolithic Periods (14,000-5,700 B.P.)”.

Reports from the Field: Greece and Cyprus Session:
*Margriet Haagsma (University of Alberta), Tracene Harvey (University of Sackatchewan), Sophia Karapanou (15th EPCA), and Laura Surtees (University of Pennsylvania): “Kastro Kallithea Archaeological Project: Results of the 2007-2013 Seasons”.

Mapping the Roman World Session:
Scott Gallimore (Wilrid Laurier University): “Farm or Fiction: Identifying the Function of Roman Sites in Survey Archaeology”.

Managing Multidisciplinary Field Research Projects: Best Practices and Problem-solving Strategies Workshop:
Panelists: Michael MacKinnon (University of Winnipeg), Joseph W. Shaw (University of Toronto) and Maria Shaw (University of Toronto).

The Bronze Age Greek Mainland Session:
*Brendan Burke (University of Victoria), Bryan Burns (Wellesley College), and Alexandra Charami (9th EPCA): “Excavations at Eleon in Eastern Boeotia, 2013”.

*Trevor van Damme (Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles): “A Late Helladic IIIC Destruction Deposit from Ancient Eleon”.

Recent Excavations on Crete Session:
Chair: Angus Smith (Brock University)

D. Matthew Buell (University at Buffalo, SUNY) and John C. McEnroe (Hamilton College): “Gournia Excavation Project: Architectural Survey and Mapping”.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Ephesos, Artemision site at "low water" (June). (Professor Fred Winter 1975)

Friday, January 3, 2014

An Edmontonian in Athens: Libraries, Buses, and Antiquities

Boating to Thasos
As I sit in the back offices of the Canadian Institute writing this report, gazing out the window, I find myself thinking how today’s weather is representative of my experiences in Athens thus far. You see, today it’s a chilly and blustery Athenian day, something I thought that I would never experience given my time in Greece has always been limited to the summer months on my way to and from Thessaly. A “cold” Athens is something completely different for me. Likewise, my four months in Greece can be described as familiar yet something very different from what I have hitherto experienced in this wonderful country.

Where to start? Probably the most broadening experience of the fall was travelling with the Regular Members of the American School of Classical Studies during Trip 1: Western and Northern Greece. Allow me to provide some general information for readers who are not familiar with the Regular Program. During the fall, participants go on a total of four trips which take them to major archaeological sites all across Greece. Furthermore, on each trip, every member is required to give a twenty minute presentation on an assigned topic: this ain’t no free ride! Preparing for one’s presentation during what may only be a four day break between trips can be a monumental effort involving late nights at the library sifting through material that is usually in numerous languages. The trips themselves are intensive affairs where one is always moving, jumping from a site to another to a museum, and inevitably facing unforeseen delays and bad weather. In 12 days we covered a vast distance. From the walls and shipyards of Oiniadae to the quarries of Thasos or the tombs of Pella to Augustus’ victory monument at Nikopolis….we saw it all.

Overlooking the walls of Oiniadae
Two aspects of the trip stand out in particular for me. The first was seeing a number of Hellenistic cities throughout Epirus that are strikingly similar to what we see in Thessaly regarding urban development during the same period. Cities such as Kassope or Orraon have houses, civic buildings, and defensive architecture that is extremely well preserved and shed valuable light on the form Hellenistic cities assumed in areas of Greece where the polis wasn’t the traditional main form of political organization. Instead, these areas were dominated by ethne, or tribes, and were often looked down upon as backward or less developed by Greek historians who were generally writing with an Athenocentric world view.

Measuring a threshold stone in Thasos. It was big. Really big!
I was also amazed at seeing so many astounding facets of Greece beyond the Classical world that we tend to focus on. In particular, I was blown away but the sheer beauty of the Church of the Parigoritissa in Arta. While the exterior is a striking example of Byzantine architecture, it does nothing to prepare a visitor of the beauty that lies within. Staring up at the ceiling was a pastime that would be repeated in a very different setting when we shifted into the Roman era and were able to go inside the Rotunda of Galerius in Thessaloniki. In essence, the rich and vibrant history of Greece, ranging from the deeps of the past to the modern era, became something much more real for me and not simply something that exists in a textbook.

The dome of the Church of the Parigoritissa
Pondering various matters such as state formation and connections between Thessaly and the west and north was greatly aided by sitting beside Dr. Jeremy McInerney of the University of Pennsylvania on our trusty motor coach. Jeremy was a great sounding board for some of the ideas that were percolating in my mind as I worked on piecing my dissertation prospectus together throughout most of the fall months. Preparing for my doctoral comprehensive examinations and oral defense in January has naturally been the primary focus for me throughout the fall and all the numerous opportunities to bounce ideas off of like-minded scholars has been infinitely valuable. My personal research has involved some late nights at both the American and British School libraries pouring over material dealing with the emergence of social complexity and inequality. I never would have guessed that I would start enjoying pure theory, but at some point it happened. In particular, I’m excited about rich opportunities that exist for applying anthropological theory that has been developed in regions such as Mesoamerica and the American Southwest to problems we see in the Early Iron and Archaic periods in Greece.

Many other opportunities also presented themselves this fall. I was able to play a part in the development of the CIG’s Portal to the Past (which has been covered in some previous blog posts) and learned a significant amount about both the history of the CIG and the various digs carried out under its auspices over the last 30 years. In early November I was in Pharsala for several days with Drs. Margriet Haagsma (Alberta), Emma Aston (Reading), and Tracene Harvey (Saskatchewan) for a conference concerning the town’s ancient and modern history. Our Greek colleagues organized a fantastic conference and it was so good to be back in Pharsala, which now features its very own statue of Achilles!

The Pharsala conference group in front of Achilles
Last, but certainly not least, are the advantages of being an archaeologist in Athens. The community here is simply fantastic and I’ve been very fortunate to get to know many colleagues from the numerous archaeological schools at events, lectures, and (of course) weekly darts night at the Red Lion. Sadly a few will be departing over the Christmas break and heading home to Australia, England, America, and beyond, but the archaeological parea will continue, ready to welcome each and every one of us back to Athens. I’ll personally be off to Canada for Christmas, books in tow, and then off to UCLA in January to write exams, after which I look forward to writing the spring chapter of my Athenian adventures.

Myles Chykerda
Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, CIG