Friday, March 28, 2014

Join us on the excursion to Kiapha Thiti! And a Canadian Embassy documentary film screening

A view from Kiapha Thiti
Spring is sprung and it is time to escape for a day from the urbanscape of Athens for the landscape of eastern Attica. On Saturday, April 5th we are venturing to visit the Neolithic through Late Bronze Age acropolis of Kiapha Thiti between Vari and Koropi. Our expert guide will be Dr. Margarita Nazou who has studied the Neolithic and Early Bronze pottery found during the Queen’s University excavations there. The acropolis had extensive Mycenaean fortifications, a sanctuary to the Nymphs, and a 5th-6th CE century church. While not a walk or a scramble it will take around 20 minutes to scale the heights. The views of Attica from every direction are worth the journey.

After such effort we will then go for lunch at the nearby Roumeli tavern. The menu has tasty food for every palate and budget. Fortified, we will then visit the well-regarded Domaine Vassiliou winery ( near Koropi for a tour and wine tasting.

The Domaine Vassiliou winery
We will depart from the corner of Vasilissis Sophias & Gennadiou (near Evangelismos metro) at 09.00 sharp on the 5th and expect to return at approximately 17:00 to the same location.

The cost per person is €20 (Members/Friends of CIG: €15). This price includes transit by private bus, tour of site, tour of winery and the wine-tasting. The lunch not included.

For reservations, please send a message to: . For further information, please call (09.00-13.00 weekdays). Please sign up by Monday, March 31.

A Canadian Embassy documentary film showing at the Institute
On Wednesday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM we are pleased to host the Canadian Embassy's screening of a documentary film in the Library of the Institute.

The award winning documentary film No Place on Earth by Janet Tobias commences with explorer and investigator Chris Nicola’s remarkable discovery that five Jewish families spent nearly a year and a half in pitch-black caves to escape the Nazis in southwestern Ukraine. This is the story of the longest uninterrupted underground survival in recorded human history. It goes back to 1942, when 38 men, women and children, seeking refuge from the war, fled to an underground world where no human had gone before. These five Ukrainian Jewish families created their own society where young men bravely ventured into the harrowing night to collect food, supplies and chop firewood. The girls and women never left. Held together by an iron-willed matriarch, after 511 days, the cave dwellers, ages 2 to 76, emerged at war’s end in tattered clothes, blinded by a sun some children forgot existed. Despite all odds, they had survived. 67 years later four of the survivors who now live in Montreal Canada and New York USA return to the Ukraine to say thank you to “the cave.” Learn more at: http://www.noplaceon

We look forward you to joining us at these two events!

David Rupp

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Letoon at Xanthos, view from the north of Temple B. (Professor Fred Winter, 1987)

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Archaeology of Eastern Thessaly revealed; What Price Renewable Energy?

Google Earth image of eastern Thessaly and the area of the rescue excavations
In eastern Thessaly, north of Volos, there was a large, shallow lake called “Karla”. In 1962 this lake was drained for the creation of agricultural land. Along its shores from the Neolithic period onward were a series of small settlements and areas of activities. On Friday, March 28th at 7:30 PM in the Library of the Institute Dr. Sophia Karapanou, archaeologist in the 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (EPKA) of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport will give a lecture entitled, “Early results from the recent excavations at the shores of the dried Lake Karla, eastern Thessaly.” Dr. Karapanou is well-known to the CIG community as the synergatis with Dr. Margriet Haagsma (University of Alberta) in the excavation of the Hellenistic polis at Kastro Kallithea in southern Thessaly. The Institute’s ties to archaeological research in Thessaly are strong.

Hellenistic country house with rooftile kiln at the Amygdali site
Dr. Karapanou’s lecture will present the results of the rescue excavations conducted recently by the 15th EPKA at four sites located at the shores of the drained Lake Karla. The sites, dated to the Neolithic, Middle Helladic, Late Classical and Hellenistic periods, are located in the route of an under-construction canal built to provide water to fill the dry lake bed with the intention of partially restoring it.

Hellenistic country house at the Tserli site
What was revealed is (a) a portion of a Late Neolithic Settlement encircled by a perimeter wall, (b) a Middle Helladic enclosure wall defining an area perhaps for keeping animals, (c) a late Classical/early Hellenistic kiln for producing rooftiles, and (d) two country houses of the 2nd century B.C. All the above findings supply solid evidence for the character and density of occupation of this border area of the Thessalian plain.

A mold-made relief bowl from the Tserli site
Of particular interest are the mold-made relief bowls found in the country house excavated at the Tserli site, many of them with mythological scenes, imports from various Hellenistic production centers. The Central Archaeological Council has recommended the creation of an archaeological park for the preservation of the rich antiquities uncovered in this area.

What Price Renewable Energy and Development in Greece?
Greece, with its abundant exposure to the sun and its need to develop its economy to help it climb up out of the financial debt pit it dug itself into, certainly is an ideal place for energy production from the sun’s rays. At the same time, however, the General Secretary of Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, Dr. Lina Mendoni, said this week, that the archaeological heritage of Greece is one of the prime attractors for tourists, and that tourism is a significant means for the Greek economy to provide much needed jobs and essential tax revenues. If the latter is true and the former is sought, it would be self-evident that renewable energy production schemes, especially large scale projects, would be situated in places that would not have an adverse effect on the country’s archaeological heritage and the landscapes in which they are located. After all, such traditional landscapes are part of the attraction for tourists visiting the country. While there must be tradeoffs between the two important objectives, and the proper mitigation of archaeological remains that might be threatened by development, any proposal to insert a huge energy project into a known, rich archaeological landscape seems both perverse and counterproductive.

Proposed sun-powered electrical energy plant at Palaikastro
Such a possibility, more likely a reality, is on the planning board for the Palaikastro area of eastern Crete. As a resident of this part of the island and an excavator at sites near the locality I know of its wealth of archaeological remains, mostly unexcavated though well-documented. The hill in the background of the photograph above is Kastri where there is a Late Minoan IIIC settlement. To the left of the hill is the Late Minoan IIIA/B site of Kouremenos. At the upper right corner of the image is the Bronze Age town of Palaikastro, partially excavated by teams from the British School at Athens. Their geophysical work in the plain toward the center of the image has revealed indications of buried features in many locations. Two years ago Prof. Carl Knappett (University of Toronto) began a new phase of geophysical prospecting and excavation at the site under the aegis of the British School at Athens. As this whole broader area was an unexploited traditional coastal landscape, due to the fact that it had protected “Zone A” status for decades from the Central Archaeological Council of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, this is the type of unique Aegean topography that is fast disappearing forever from Greece.

Since there are other places in eastern Crete where the archaeological remains have a much lower density and the landscape is not so significant, such localities should be chosen over an area such as Palaikastro. No doubt the lower costs of constructing such a plant on a flat, coastal plain versus those in an upland valley is the prime factor in such a misguided, counterproductive decision for the granting of a permit by the government. Short-term thinking when dealing with non-renewable archaeological heritage will mean degraded or worse archaeological attractions for tourists in the future. Eleos!!!

David Rupp

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Detailed photo of a male warrior from the Amazonomachy frieze of the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. (Professor Fred Winter, 1988)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Kalymnos on my mind and John Pendlebury’s personal papers revealed

David Rupp with the Mayor of Kalymnos, Mr. Demetrios Daikomichalis
A foreign archaeological institute such as ours conducts projects in various parts of Greece for a variety of reasons. Some are located where the Greek colleague of the project director has done previous field work. Others are chosen as the geographical location is dictated by the specific research questions that the director seeks answers for. Some are in the region where one’s dissertation advisor has worked before. A few even are the result of serendipitous invitations by the local authorities to undertake research in their locality or island.

view of the excavated area at ancient Damos
This week I spent three days on the island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. While my family may find it hard to believe, I had never visited the island! My visit was the result of a meeting two years ago at the Institute with the Mayor of the island Mr. Demetrios Diakomichalis that was arranged by the former Canadian ambassador to Greece, Dr. Renata Wielgosz and the former member of the Parliament of Canada John Cannis whose family hails from the island. Mayor Diakomichalis invited me at this meeting to visit the island to learn more about its rich archaeological heritage and to access the potential for an Institute fieldwork project there. With present Canadian Ambassador Robert Peck’s active support and the Demos of Kalymnos’s hospitality I was able to accept this invitation finally. As CIG Board member Professor Maria Papaioannou (University of New Brunswick) is contemplating starting an excavation project that focuses on the domestic architecture of a settlement occupied in the Hellenistic to Roman Imperial periods I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to see if there is a suitable site on the island for such a project.

view of church of the Taxiarch Michaelis on the ruins of the Hellenistic fort at Empolas
In the two days at my disposal I was able to see many things, meet even more people, including John Cannis who is on the island at the moment, and to gain an excellent impression of the island. First, I did not know that the island’s hilly, and often steep, rocky terrain has made it a mecca for rock face climbers from around the world and that the island has over 16,000 inhabitants. Second, the archaeological museum in Pothia which opened in 2009 is one of the best small museums I have visited in Greece. The 2+ m mostly intact bronze statue of a draped woman, “The Lady of Kalymnos”, found in the sea off the island is spectacular. There are parts of other bronze statues, including pieces of an equestrian one, recovered during sponge gathering and fishing activities, in the exhibition as well. The large collection of marble statuary from the sanctuary of Apollo Dalios is impressive too. The island’s occupation goes back to the Neolithic period with evidence of Late Bronze Age activity. The resident archaeologist on the island representing the 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, Mr. Michalis Koutelas, showed me the Museum and discussed the archaeological investigations that had been done on the island since the 19th century.

I visited two archaeological sites dating to the Hellenistic and Roman Imperial periods to learn firsthand the nature of the remains here. The Byzantine period on the island is especially well represented from the evidence of churches, settlements and burials. In fact, the archaeological heritage of Kalymnos is not as well-known as it should be in my opinion. The Nautical Museum has a series of interesting exhibits that tell the story of sponge gathering and those who were involved from the 18th century to present. The Mayor arranged on Wednesday a public presentation of my visit and the possibilities of an excavation on the island under the aegis of the Institute and with permit from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in the near future. There were over 50 people in attendance and it was covered by the two TV stations on the island. The reporters and a number of those in the audience asked many thoughtful questions about such a possibility. Only the future will tell what will come of this exciting initiative. Stay tuned for further developments!!!

If you have the opportunity I recommend highly that you visit the island and sample its many offerings!

Lecture on the personal papers of John Pendlebury at the BSA
On Monday, March 17th at 6:30 PM the Syllogos Philon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiologiskis Yperesias is hosting a lecture by the Archivist of the British School at Athens, Amalia G. Kakissis. The title of her lecture that will be given in English is, “Πατουχιά με πατουχιά”: Exploring the John Pendlebury Personal Papers at the British School at Athens.

John Pendlebury walking in Stavrochori, Crete
John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury (1904-1941) is best-known for his pioneering archaeological work on Crete in the 1920s and 1930s as well as giving his life fighting for its freedom from the invading German forces early in the Second World War. The “Personal Papers of John Pendlebury” held at the British School at Athens are unlike any other collection in the Archive in that they give us rare insight not only into John’s life from childhood until his death but also into the lives of his family members including his wife, Hilda, his parents and his children. A large part of the collection consists of outgoing correspondence written by John and Hilda to family members. It tracks the important events of their personal and working lives and provides an excellent narrative about their travels around Greece, Egypt and Britain. The remainder of the collection contains working materials (a minor part of which are excavation records), notebooks, travel logs, photograph albums, and papers relating to the events around and after John’s death on the 22nd of May, 1941 in Crete.

Cretan hospitality
The aim of Ms. Kakissis' lecture is to show that the personal archive of an archaeologist can be used for much more than simply extracting archaeological data. This unique collection of material offers an insight into the man’s personal development and his multifaceted relationship with Greece that has the potential to illuminate cultural, historical, and social aspects of the country at that time.

The lecture will take place at the Historical Archive at Psaromylingou 22 on the border between the Kerameikos and the Psyrri Districts. The Theseio Train Station is the closest one.

David Rupp

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Fred Winter Collection

Samothrace, view of the island from the ferry. (Professor Fred Winter 1987)