Posts Tagged With: ASCSA

The Winter in Retrospect – Another pilfered Blog Post!

Mellon Professor Margie Miles’ update on the Winter Term, which ran from December 2013 – March 2014.  The last line is great in retrospect since, of course, the term has ended and we have all gone our separate ways. Many are digging in Ancient Corinth, others are traveling with friends and family, some are off doing their own research, and a few of us are here in Athens working away in the library (or, procrastinating by posting other people’s blogs on their own blogs…). This is a great overview of what we did this year after the trips ended. Here is the text, copied from the original post, which can be found here, and there are some great photos there, too!


Winter Term Well Underway!

Margaret M. Miles, Andrew W. Mellon Professor

 Spring seemed to come early in January and February as we enjoyed beautiful weather during our outings in Athens and Attica. When everyone returned after the Winter Break, we went to Thorikos and Lavrion, and resumed our visits within the city, with a focus on the Akropolis over multiple visits.  This year we were able to go beneath the Nike Bastion to see the Mycenaean walls, the inscribed altar and naiskos, and Tasos Tanoulas talked to us on the Propylaia and its restoration, and even showed us the Justinianic cistern beneath the northwest work area.  Leda Costaki led us on a Wall Walk around 80% of the ancient circuit, always exciting as we dash into parking garages, under malls and banks, into museums and hotels, and peer into basements to see the remains of the walls.

As a part of our three visits to the Athenian Agora, NEH Fellow Ann Steiner arranged for our group to be photographed in the Tholos as we filled the spaces where the men serving as Prytaneis could have dined while seated as they consulted over Athenian policy.  We realized, with some 23 of us inside, that the building really is remarkably spacious for the purpose as long as there is not lots of furniture.  Director John Camp showed the students the current excavations and some of the finds from last summer, including a new inscription honoring an ancestor of Herodes Atticus.

Out in Attica, we went to the Piraeus and saw the Eetonian Gate, the foundations of Philo’s Arsenal, shipsheds and theOlympias trireme, now in dock under restoration. We had a particularly beautiful day for Sounion, Cape Zoster and the Vari Farmhouse, and yet again for Rhamnous, Oropos and Aulis. Extensive conservation work is being undertaken at Oropos, but we were still able to see most of the site and its stunning series of Roman inscriptions, a veritable Who’s Who of the late Republic.

Whitehead Professors Jeremy McInerney and Richard Janko held a joint meeting of their seminars on the Attic Stelai. Everyone met in the Agora, and we braved the exceedingly chilly basement and upper floor of the Stoa to look at a large selection of fragments of the stelai, and hear about them from Regular Members Hilary Bouxsein and Morgan Condell.  We had intense and fruitful discussions that probably could have gone on all day, but for the chill drafts and inevitable call of lunch.

In February, Regular Members had a very stimulating trip to Crete, led by Assistant Director Nick Blackwell, Director Jim Wright, and Dr. Thomas Brogan of the INSTAP center.  Once everyone was back in Athens, we resumed our study of Athens with the promontories:  first we gathered on the Philopappos Hill, where Regular Member Chelsea Gardner reported on its monument, and then we walked over to the Pnyx, where Robert Pitt, of the BSA, talked to us about its history.  This concluded with a climb up the Areopagos and a report on it from Regular Member Aaron Beck-Schachter.

Our recent day trip to Megara and Salamis included a visit to the Tomb of Kar outside Megara, as well as the famous fountainhouse, elucidated by Regular Member Dylan Rogers. We heard about the Battle of Salamis from Regular Member Jennifer LaFleur while we sat on the commemorative mound, looking out over the strait toward the presumed site of Xerxes’ throne.  We ended the day by hiking up to the Cave of Euripides, where Aulus Gellius had preceded us long ago during his student days in Athens.

Other highlights of the past weeks include a talk on Hellenistic sculpture from Prof. Olga Palagia, and the beginning of a series of excellent reports by Regular Members on Roman Athens, including the Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds as well as Hadrian’s Library and Forum. The Olympieion and the Panathenaic Stadium will follow next week.  Earlier this month we also packed in a special tour of the modern quarry at Dionysos on Mt. Pentele, as well as the ancient quarry (an extension of the Wiener Lab seminar on “Stones”).  One remarkable evening, we had a special performance of Plato’s Apology, given by Emmy Award winner Yannis Simonides as Socrates.  And we still have full weeks ahead!


And here is our last group picture, taken on our last trip of the semester (Aegina):

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The Holidays at Loring Hall

As the semester wears down (ha! not likely…) people around here are getting ready for the Christmas break: most will fly home to North America, others are adventuring elsewhere in Europe, and some are staying put and eagerly awaiting family members to arrive here in Athens. Since our final trip we have been stationed here at Loring Hall and on top of our already-packed schedule we have definitely crammed in quite the line-up of celebrations. While we are here, our schedule looks a little something like this:

Mondays: Seminar on the Derveni Papyrus with Richard Janko 2-5pm; Greek lessons 5-7pm

Tuesdays: Athens/Attica seminar in the morning (this usually involves a museum or a site – for example, we have done three sessions at the National Museum, one at the Acropolis museum, and three on the Acropolis so far); and then we usually have something additional in the afternoon – last week we had a Wiener Laboratory workshop on pottery. After this there is almost always a lecture or some other event to attend – there is ALWAYS something to attend!

Wednesdays: These are our ‘day trip’ days. We’ve been on two of these so far, the first to Marathon and Ikaria, the second to Eleusis, Acharnes, and Dekeleia.

Thursdays: Athens/Attica seminar in the morning (see above) and then Jeremy McInerney’s seminar on Greek Epigraphy in the afternoon (2-5), followed by Greek lessons (5-7) and then almost always a lecture at 7 or 7:30!

Fridays: Athens/Attica seminar in the morning and then (relative) freedom until Monday!

Among this hectic schedule, we have managed to squeeze in some pretty incredible non-academic festivities. First there was American Thanksgiving, where something like 116 people squeezed around tables set up in the Saloni and the Dining room. I’ve never seen so much food in one place in my entire life.

Sorry for the bad phone camera pictures – on the left is Colin cutting the turkey, and on the right is a mini-reunion. Neither of these really showcase how many people were there, or how much food was actually consumed, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

The sunday after Thanksgiving we celebrated Hanukah (my first ever!) – Morgan and Marya cooked a latke feast for everyone, lit a makeshift menorah and sang a beautiful song. Here is the menorah with the pilgrims (Thankshanukah, once in 7000 years, naturally):


The weekend after this we threw a bachelor/bachelorette party for a wonderful couple here who are getting married over the Christmas break (talk about busy…) – these pictures are definitely SFW, don’t worry…

On December 10th we had a Christmas tree-trimming, which I’ve recently learned is a term Americans use. I’m used to calling it Christmas tree-decorating…you know, what it actually is…but to each their own, and we definitely all spoke the same mulled wine language that night!


Finally, this past Saturday we held a Sinterklass Secret Santa – so, we all drew names and had to buy someone a present AND compose a poem. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a group of extremely smart, well-educated overachievers would blow my mind when it came to poetry composition. There were songs, beat poetry, Latin metrical verses, haikus, and limericks. It really reinforced how funny, sweet, and thoughtful everyone here is, and how much we are like a weird, dysfunctional little family.

And with that, I’m off to sing classics- and archaeology-inspired Christmas carols before packing up and leaving for the airport at 3am. I can’t wait to get home and see my friends and family (and to hug Rex and Rocky for about 6 hours straight) but the holidays here warm and homey and wonderful and, true to ASCSA spirit, nonstop!

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Catching Up

We arrived in Athens on Friday evening, exhausted but in high spirits after Trip 4. Two months of almost straight travelling interspersed with marathon library sessions ended on a high note, with a sunny, 20-degree November day at Perachora. I couldn’t have asked for a happier, more uplifting way to bring this Fall semester to an end.

This weekend was spent doing NOTHING and it was glorious! Yesterday a few of us did some shopping, made dinner, drank wine, and played board games. I didn’t even change out of my pyjamas today, let alone go outside. The rainy weather in Athens actually makes Loring Hall incredibly cozy and I finally started catching up on updating photos, notes, emails, work, etc.

So, after a long wait, I present both the map from Trip 3 (Central Greece) here.  The absolute best part is that I illustrated our insanely long hike down from the Corycean Cave with a little guy icon who walks a route (not the exact trail we hiked, but that’s because such a trail doesn’t ACTUALLY exist and we were just off-roading in the hopes that we would one day find Delphi again…)

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Also, it wouldn’t be the American School Petting Zoo without my favourite pictures of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Trip 2.

And finally, to end with a video – we spent a couple nights in the beach town of Methoni, on the western coast of the Peloponnesos. This spot was intended to be a ‘swimming opportunity’ but the skies opened up on us in Pylos that day, the temperature dropped, and the thunder exploded above us. By evening, the storm had moved further out into the ocean, leaving us with a view of the most spectacular lightning show I have ever seen. I added music to the video so no one would be subjected to hearing me yell “WOW!” constantly. Enjoy!

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Trip #2 Map is Up!

We rolled back in to Athens last night from Trip 3, tumbled out of the bus exhausted and stir-crazy. I have one day in Athens before heading to Naxos for some island fun with some pals from the Agora excavations. In keeping with the tradition, I’m posting maps a trip behind, so here is our crazy jumbled Trip #2 (Deep Peloponnese) map.

Check it out here

Fun things to look out for:1) The proximity between #9 and #14, but how long it took to get from one to the other; and 2) how hard our little car had to work between Kalamata (20) and Mystras (21).


Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 12.21.25 AM

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Re-posted-blog-post-pilfering: Trip 1 in retrospect

Last night we returned from Trip #2 (the Deep Peloponnese) but before I post about that trip – and I am working on my little interactive map right now – here is a link to Mellon Professor Margie Miles’ post about our first trip (pictures too):

And one more picture, some of us exploring Stageira (Aristotle’s birthplace):


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Post-Trip 1, Post #1!

Well, we did it! 29 people, 12 days on the road, 41+ destinations, and at least 2340 kilometres.

I made a little interactive map that shows you exactly where we went and when:

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 11.55.28 PM

Click here to see the map and video!

I’m still trying to figure out how to embed the code into this blog, but for now click on the link and hit the ‘play’ button in the top right corner!

At each site, one of the members of the trip gave a short 20-minute report about the history/archaeology, etc. – this was an incredible way to learn an overwhelming amount of awesome information in a short period of time. I’ll be following this post shortly with another featuring pictures of my favourite spots, but for now a sort-of ‘meet the team’ overview of who presented, and where (the pictures are all taken from where I’m sitting…because I’m lazy, not because I really wanted you to get the full experience):

The last two presentations are sadly not immortalized in this blog (sorry Jen and Dylan) as my camera card seems to be kaputt and I’m not sure how to reformat it without recovering my pictures first. Ah, technology!

That’s all for now – more pictures to come, including one featuring cute animals we met along the way!

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Μενω στην Αθηνα!

Ahh the first attempt at a blog post. Always awkward. Always trying too hard.

We leave tomorrow for our first trip (to Northern and Western Greece) so I thought I should post something about my first week in Athens.  It’s mostly going to be a highlights tour, since no one wants to read about the many (MANY) hours I spent on my computer looking at destination wedding places (a big shout out to Aisling and Kaz for helping me so so so so very much so far…even though we still really have nothing set in stone).

So I arrived at 3:10 am, which was extremely thrilling and full of happiness! I got to the American School around 4:00 am and the lovely guard helped me lug my 3  bags up the same number of stairs and find my room by flashlight.

Here it is before and after:



As you can see (kind of), the bulletin board is empty, so if you’re reading this you should write down my address and send me a postcard:

American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 54 Souidias Street, GR-106 76, Athens, Greece.


The regular members (which is what I am) and some of the associate members live in Loring Hall, which is across the street from the main building of the American School (where the library and the seminar room are located). Everything is located in the suburb of Kolonaki, on the slopes of Mt. Lykavettos. I lived in this neighbourhood for two years while digging at the Athenian Agora (2011-2012) – it’s an affluent neighbourhood and one of my professors referred to it as being  “not Athens and barely Greece”. There will be lots more time to explore Athens in the winter term, but the last week has been packed full of various orientations, greek lessons, and TWO visits to the hospital for routine TB tests/chest xrays.

As promised, a ‘greatest hits’ of the last week:

Sunday (Κυριακή = KeeriakEE)

Besides being incredibly jet lagged and exhausted from my journey, apparently I lost the ability to remember events from this say as well. I know there was a pizza party, and I know I ate pizza and met a LOT of people. Then I definitely found some old Agora buddies and had some much-needed beer with them and my fellow regular members.

Monday (Δευτέρα = DehFTEhra)

The majority of the day was orientation – first a general orientation, then a tour of the Blegen library, followed by a tour of the computer room, then of Loring Hall. After lunch we had two jobs: bring our passport over to the administrators for visa purposes and interview with the director of the ASCSA. I opted to take a 4 hour nap instead. I woke up just in time for our group walk up Lykavittos at 6pm for the sunset. It was stormy and beautiful and of course I didn’t bring my camera.

Tuesday (Τρίτη = TREEtee)

A bunch of stuff happened on Tuesday, like our first Greek lessons (with the most wonderful woman on earth, Ourania) and a garden party in the garden of the ASCSA. But none of that matters because I got to go INSIDE the Hephaisteion for the first time. I’ve worked in Athens for 3 years and have never gone inside this temple (and missed the tour of the Heph with John Camp this year because I was in the Mani) and it was as magical and wonderful as I could have hoped for and then some, because one of my favourite stray dogs, Rex – yes, that is actually his name – decided to come along for the tour. Just check out these pictures:


The archaeological highlight of the week (of the year?) to be sure! Okay, moving on…

Wednesday (Τετάρτη = TeTArtee)

Had to be AT the hospital at 8am for TB tests and chest xrays. You know what’s more fun than waking up at 6:30? Waking up at 6:30 to get jabbed with a needle and then have to naked hug an xray machine! Yay Greece!

Afterward we were supposed to go to the Epigraphy museum but there were some strikes, so that was postponed. We had a meeting about the first trip, then Greek lessons, then Ouzo hour (yes, I actually went…).

Thursday (Πέμπτη = PEmptee)

After a quick lecture on Greek architecture, we had a tour of the Gennadius library. Just a library, you say? Oh no. WE SAW THE FIRST PRINTED EDITION OF HOMER. 1425. We saw it. In front of us. Not behind glass. No big deal.

I don’t even really have anything else to say about that day that will even come close to that, except I went to the boy scout store and bought a compass, a thermos, and rechargeable batteries. I am officially unstoppable.

Friday (Παρασκευή = ParaskeVEE)

Woke up early again, back to the hospital again, don’t have TB and got a kickass xray for a souvenir. Nailed it.

After a tour of the Wiener Lab (the BONE lab, ha), we had our tour of the archives. Get ready for this. We saw:

1) A Cycladic “frying-pan” (that we passed around IN OUR HANDS…seemed dangerous, yes.) among other awesome artifacts from their collection.

2) Michael Ventris’ original letter to Carl Blegen saying that he *thought* he had a breakthrough in the decipherment of Linear B. One of the girls in the program read it out and I legitimately got goosebumps.

3) Heinrich Schliemann’s notebooks. We read the page where he describes his finds from Grave Circle A at Mycenae. WHAT. AMAZING. At this point I was at amazement overload and just kept looking around with my jaw on the floor.

Saturday (Σάββατο = SAvatoh)

We had a tour of the Epigraphic museum this morning with Molly Richardson. Speaking of incredible sights, we saw some pretty famous inscriptions, and I will write a longer, more detailed post on the blog for our UBC digitization project. But here are some pictures of some pretty amazing words-on-stone (and amazing people, too!):



Spent the rest of the day in the library/in my room preparing my presentation for the trip. I’m working on Thasos: the Agora and Theagenes, which isn’t until near the end of the trip. Look forward to more about the terrifying experience that is an on-site presentation in future editions of this blog.

And that’s pretty much it! Sunday and today (Monday) were spent working on the report, catching up with friends (some with beer, some with coffee, and even some with celebratory champagne!), and oh yeah, working on the report.

We leave tomorrow (φεύγουμε αύριο) at 7am for trip 1. Beyond excited to explore more of this stunning country.

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