Friday, July 29, 2016

Annual summer recess; CIG website improvements; more Cretan adventures

It is hard to believe that the summer is half over! Just six weeks ago we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a very successful Colloquium. Our four fieldwork projects and one study season endeavor have all wrapped up their research (their guest blogs will be uploaded in August). Our two interns for the spring/summer have completed their work on the Archives and the Library (their guest blogs will also be uploaded in August). With the end of July comes our annual summer recess for the month of August. As of 13:00 today Friday, the 29th, the Institute will be closed until Thursday, September 1st at 09:00. Jonathan and Amelie will be vacationing in the UK and the southern Peloponessos. We will be in eastern Crete digging (see below) and recovering from the long demanding field season.

CIG Website improvements

One area that our CIG website [] was deficient in was a feature to allow people to pay for individual memberships (new and renewal) and to make charitable donations online. Now one can do both through our updated website. In addition, members can request and pay for a Museum and Site Entrance Pass through one’s membership account. The Institute’s monographs are available for purchase as well.

The Institute seeks, indeed welcomes, charitable donations to support various aspects of our work. Under the heading “Giving” on the Homepage there is a list of the areas where contributions will make the Institute both stronger and more productive. A new general category is “Targeted Giving”. Here for the “Archive”, “Accommodations” and “Improvements” are lists with specific urgent needs where a donation of say $100-150 can assist us in taking immediate action to resolve the issue. The new online payment system allows individuals to make such a donation securely online. For those seeking an official charitable donation receipt the CIG Treasurer, Jeff Banks, will send it without delay.

More Cretan Adventures

For the past month I have been in Siteia in eastern Crete excavating at Dr. Metaxia Tsipopoulou’s ongoing project uncovering the Pre- and Proto-Palatial House Tomb Cemetery at Petras on a hill overlooking the eastern side of the narrow coastal plain where the city is located. Tsipopoulou (Director Emerita, Hellenic Ministry of Culture) has been digging at the Minoan palace, settlement and cemetery for 32 years. I am getting hot and dirty here for the third summer in a row excavating trenches. This year’s six-week field season has archaeologists hailing from Greece, Canada, Spain and the United States. International, eh! Further, a local documentary film producer is documenting our work at the cemetery for a “film” he is creating. We’ll be almost famous!

Broadly speaking the primary objects of this year’s investigations were to determine the northern extent of the house tombs, to complete the excavation of various tombs discovered in previous field seasons and to date more securely the EM IIA burial structures. A secondary goal was to learn more about the re-use of the general area of the cemetery in the 13th and 12th centuries BC as a settlement and as an area possibly for ancestor worship. This year the digging has produced more walls – some suspected and others unexpected – that both clarify the plans of a number of the house tombs as well as indicating that some were larger than previously thought. Another characteristic of this year is the encountering of secondary burials in new areas, as well as two more primary burials. Now at the two-thirds point, the northern limit of the cemetery is clearly defined, most of the house tombs are scheduled to be fully excavated in the next two weeks and there is good evidence for assigning burials to the EM IIA period.

The later occupation of the plateau where the cemetery is located has increased attention now as it appears as if considerable effort and resources were given to the structures and walls erected mostly around the edges of the earlier cemetery. They appear to be related to attempts to use the burial place of their “ancestors” to support their claim to the hinterland of the ancient settlement in a period of uncertainty. These stimulating topics have been the focus of most of my digging efforts this year as well as last year.

If you have an Instagram account you can follow my postings of the work and people of the Petras excavation by going to: #petras2016 under the “grubbyminoan” account. On most weekdays I upload 1-5 images of activities that have caught my attention, if not amusement. I have around 50 posts so far that will give you the true flavor of the dig and the diverse personalities involved. I look forward to seeing you follow this string of images.

Well, we look forward to seeing you again at the Institute this coming fall after a restful and enjoyable summer. Jonathan and I are organizing the fall Institute lecture program and the events for our Athens Friends’ Association. Both will be interesting and diverse as always!

Kalo Kalokairi!!!
David Rupp

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Fred Winter Collection

Terracina, interior vaulting under temple platform (Professor Fred Winter, 1975)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Fred Winter Collection

La Turbie, end-on view of reconstructed columns of the tholos (Professor Fred Winter, 1975)

Friday, July 15, 2016

A flying visit to ancient Argilos

It is hard to believe that it has been three years since I last visited the Greek/Canadian excavations at ancient Argilos on the shore of the northern Aegean Sea. Last Friday I flew from Herakleio to Thessaloniki and then drove eastward on the Egnata autostrada towards Asprovalta, the nearest town to the site, and then on the old National Highway along the coast. My efforts were well-rewarded when Zisis Bonias (Director Emeritus, Hellenic Ministry of Culture) and Jacques Perreault (Université de Montréal) greeted me at the excavations on the Koutloudis’ plots which are along the northern side of the road. When I was last at the site they had just uncovered Building H. Since then they have completely excavated Building L and this year parts of Buildings P and Q. What is most impressive is the large size of each building which are made up of a long line of rooms (12 in the case of Building L) with common walls dividing them. The buildings are separated by a narrow paved alleys on each long side and apparently on each end. Based on present evidence there were three parallel lines of these buildings on the lower slope of the main hill of the ancient city. It is quite possible that the ancient east/west road ran in front of Buildings L and P, under the present road.

Zizis and Jacques showed me various rooms where the excavations had revealed evidence for the dating of the construction, use and destruction of the buildings. The various built-in features such as terracotta bathtubs, an oil press base and other installations provide evidence for how these rooms were used. The crew was hard at work with only a week to go before the end of the field season.

We then went to Amphipolis where the regional Archaeological Museum is located and where the team stores and studies their finds. The study crew was hard at work conserving the artifacts and studying the pottery. This is particularly important as they are preparing material for an exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki to open late next spring as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of their research at Argilos. They are organizing as well a two-day conference in Thessaloniki on the site and its wider interconnections to coincide with the opening of the exhibition. Over lunch we discussed these plans and their importance for both the Argilos project and for the Institute. This will be the first such conference focused on the research at a site excavated under the aegis of the Institute. Along with the exhibition catalogue the papers of the conference will be published. We very much look forward to both! We also discussed the possibilities for developing the site so that it could be visited by the public.

After the flying visit I drove back to Thessaloniki and then flew back to Herakleio. By evening I was back in Siteia, tired but very enthusiastic about what I saw and learned at Argilos. In August there will be a guest blog on the project by Jacques. In the course of three weeks I was able to visit our four current fieldwork projects and to see firsthand what they are accomplishing. You will have a chance to learn about all of this at our next annual Open Meeting in Athens in mid-May 2017.

David Rupp

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Fred Winter Collection

Cilicia; Uzuncaburc, Roman moulded members, sima block and garland sarcophagus in temple area (Professor Fred Winter, 1971)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Fred Winter Collection

Cilicia; Uzuncaburc, Roman moulded members, sima block and garland sarcophagus in temple area (Professor Fred Winter, 1971)