Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Fred Winter Collection

Soluntum, view of decumanus in section with preserved pavement (Professor Fred Winter, 1978)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fact or Factoid? The "Granary" at Mycenae

Archaeologists often uncover features and structures which at first defy easy attribution of use or probable functions. The material culture and bioarchaeological remains found in association with such enigmas are employed to infer the possible use(s) that a structure might have had. From such educated guesses evolve a “label” to succinctly encapsulate the presumed purpose. These simple, tentative labels frequently take on a life of their own and often become persistent “factoids” in the archeological literature.

On Wednesday, February 22nd Trevor Van Damme, a Ph.D. candidate at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, will give a lecture entitled “Food for Thought: The Granary at Mycenae Revisited” that addresses such a conundrum.

The so-called “Granary” at Mycenae was one of the first structures excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876, even before his discovery of rich Early Mycenaean shaft graves in Grave Circle A. Although clearly an important and well-preserved structure, its function remained unclear. Its excavation was completed by Alan Wace in 1920, who, on account of abundant charred remains of cereals and vetches, suggested a public storage function for the structure and named it the Granary.

This lecture will re-examine the excavation records of both Schliemann and Wace and compare the recovered assemblage of finds to typical post-palatial households elsewhere. The presence of a large number of undecorated three-handled goblets in particular suggests ritualized drinking may have been integral to its function and offers tantalizing links between the LH IIIC Granary and the early Mycenaean Grave Circle A.

So you are invited to come to the Library of the Institute this coming Wednesday at 19:30 to see if Trevor will confirm or debunk as a factoid Wace’s assertion that the Granary was a public food storage structure! Be sure to come early as we have had standing room only attendance for our lectures this winter!

David Rupp

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Fred Winter Collection

Soluntum, middle section of panorama of streets ascending hill (Professor Fred Winter, 1978)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ancient Eleon at CYA; Stylianos Alexiou in his Cretan context

An educational program is always proud when one of its alumni/ae follows the chosen professional career and later achieves recognition for his/her accomplishments. The long-running College Year in Athens has many such success stories over the past decades. One alumnus (from 1989) that CYA can be especially proud of is Professor Brendan Burke (University of Victoria). He is in Athens this winter leading a semester abroad program for undergraduate students from his Department of Greek and Roman Studies.

CYA/DIKEMES has taken this opportunity to invite him to give a public lecture on his ongoing archaeological excavations at ancient Eleon in eastern Boeotia, under the aegis of the Canadian Institute. On Tuesday, February 14th at 19:00 Prof. Burke will give a lecture entitled “Bronze Age and Archaic Boeotia: New Research at Ancient Eleon”. The venue is the DIKEMES Auditorium at Plateia Stadiou 5 – Kallimarmaro. This an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments at this important site!

Stylianos Alexiou in his Cretan Context

The challenges of serving in the Hellenic Archaeological Service are many. The commitment by its archaeologists to preserving the rich cultural heritage of Greece is palpable. In areas with touristic development potential, such efforts are not always seen in a positive light by the local residents and land owners, and even less so by developers. This is especially true for the “Big Island”, Crete, over the past fifty years.

On Monday, February 13th at 19:00 Dr. Metaxia Tsipopoulou (Director Emerita, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport) will give a lecture entitled «Ο Στυλιανός Αλεξίου ως Έφορος Αρχαιοτήτων. Στοιχεία από το Ιστορικό Αρχείο της Αρχαιολογικής Υπηρεσίας». In her lecture she will explore some of the memorable experiences of the multifaceted Stylianos Alexiou while he was a member of the Hellenic Archaeological Service, from 1947 to 1977, especially as an Epimelete, Ephor and Ephor General on Crete, and the Director of the Herakleion Museum. The materials in the Historical Archive of the Hellenic Archaeological Service are the sources upon which this insightful lecture is based.

The lecture is part of the 2016/17 Lecture Program of the Σύλλογος Φίλων του Ιστορικού Αρχείου της Αρχαιολογικής Υπηρεσίας. It will be held in the Library of the Canadian Institute in Ilissia. The public is most welcome to attend.

David Rupp

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Fred Winter Collection

Soluntum, sections of painted wall in house (Professor Fred Winter, 1978)

Friday, February 3, 2017

What did happen after the Late Bronze Age meta-eruption of Thera???

The mega-eruption of the volcano on the island of Thera (modern Santorini) in the Late Cycladic I period which buried the settlement of Akrotiri on the south coast has produced spectacular architectural and material culture remains as well as generated many hard-fought controversies. The two most prominent revolve around the absolute date of the eruption (“high chronology” = later 17th century BC vs “low chronology” = late 16th century BC) and the nature and the effect of the tsunami caused by the collapse of the caldera. The resurrection of the myth about the destruction of the lost continent of Atlantis has also muddied the waters for many ancient history buffs.

On Crete the evidence of destruction deposits and/or layers of pumice at some sites on the northern and northeastern coasts of the island, dating to early in the Late Minoan IA period, have led to speculation on the natural phenomena that could have caused this archaeological evidence. The mega-eruption of Thera to the north and a resulting tsunami are the usual suspects in most narratives.

On Wednesday, February 8th at 19:30 in the Library of the Canadian Institute in Greece Prof. Floyd McCoy (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Dr. Tatyana Novikova (National Observatory of Athens) will give a lecture entitled, Tsunami and the LBA Eruption of Thera”.

As they will argue, the tsunami generated by the Late Bronze Age mega-eruption of Thera has served as a foundation for fanciful descriptions of enormous waves, illusory sedimentary deposits, extravagant cultural impacts, and more. A better understanding on the formation, magnitude, and impact of seismic sea-waves comes from an awareness of tsunamigenic mechanisms associated with mega-eruptions, of oceanic wave dynamics, in addition to historic observations of tsunami. These factors combined with the latest computer modelling provide an improved foundation for estimating tsunami wave characteristics generated by the Late Bronze Age mega-eruption within the Aegean Sea. With these related sources of data in hand there are ample grounds for a better basis for understanding potential impacts on Minoan cultural activities at the time of the eruption and immediately afterwards. The takeaway here: the “truth” is not as fun as we once fantasized, but the reality is very enlightening.

As this is a very popular topic, one should come early to get a seat!

David Rupp