Day 35: Sunday, April 30

Sites Visited: Phaistos, Agia Triada, Kamalari Tholos Tomb

Leaders: Tim Connor and Shania

Today was jam–packed with Minoan architecture! Our first stop was at Phaistos, a Middle Minoan 1B palatial complex contemporaneous with the palace at Knossos we visited yesterday but without Sir Arthur Evans’ heavy, imaginative reconstruction everywhere. This site was positively bristling with polythyra, also known as pier–and–door partitions, a distinctly Minoan style of double doors on pylons that seems very effective – more ancient civilizations should have adopted this approach! The palace was destroyed around 1750 BCE by earthquakes and later rebuilt on a smaller scale, and what survives is very similar to the palace we saw yesterday. We made a quick pit stop at the snack bar on the site for lunch before hopping back on the bus.

We visited two sites after lunch, the first of which was Ayia Triada, a settlement that was used in various capacities from the Neolithic period through the 13th century CE. This site is noteworthy for the Late Minoan 1 villa that stands here, where the famous Harvester Vase was found alongside over 130 seals and several tablets with Linear A script. A set of storefronts stand in a row on the north side of the site as well. Our second stop of the afternoon was at Kamilari, where we checked out one of the tholos tombs built there during the Middle Minoan 1B period and used through the Late Minoan IIIA2 period. This is extremely late for a tomb like this to be constructed and even later for it to still be in active use, so it’s possible that these tombs were constructed as an expression of local traditions and a sign of resistance against palatial authority. After we wrapped up at Kamilari, we returned to the bus and arrived in Agios Nikolaos for the night.


Mortise and Tenon (Tim and Shania)


Day 34: Saturday, April 29

Sites Visited: Knossos

Leaders: Dan and Victoria

This morning, we had an incredible tour of the Minoan Palace at Knossos. We were fortunate enough to be guided by the head of the British excavation team at the site, who was extremely knowledgeable. He gave us a 2.5 hour tour that included highlights such as the palace’s throne room, king’s and queen’s megara and living quarters, and storage space underneath the western wing of the palace, after which he said, “So, that’s a brief overview of the site.” We then got a quick tour of his workshop, where we were able to handle pottery from about 3500 years ago!
During the afternoon, everyone split up to explore the city of Heraklion. Most of us went the Museum of Natural History, which featured an earthquake simulation machine. A couple others went to the internet provider store to try to get our data sticks working- another hour and a half later we were successful! We celebrated our triumph with a nice afternoon nap.

Happy Minotaur day,

Dan, Vic, and the children who will hopefully not be consumed in the Labyrinth because Theseus is supposed to show up any time now. Theseus? Is that you? AHHHHHH!!

Day 33: Friday, April 28


Sites Visited: Heraklion Museum

Group Leaders: Nat and Barg

Dear family, fans, friends, and haters,

Today we woke up in beautiful Heraklion, Crete. We had the morning off so most people slept in, with the exception of a few sickos who found a local gym. Said sickos also returned to the gym in the afternoon. After waking up late, we headed to a craft coffee shop recommended by TA DA Future Dr. Tim Shea and then to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The museum has material from the Neolithic through the Roman period, but the most interesting stuff by far was from the Minoan palaces on Crete. We spent all afternoon learning about Minoan material culture. Some notable finds in the museum included a boardgame from 3000 years ago, examples of early writing, and wonderful wall paintings.

After the museum, we had our third quiz, which covered material from the past few days. After that, we were free to enjoy the city and get ahead on our Crete projects.

See ya when I see ya,

NAF + AMB + other people

Happy to be at the museum

Day 31: Wednesday, April 26; Day 32: Thursday, April 27

**Tuesday, April 25 was a day off in Athens: NO BLOG**

DAY 31: Wednesday, April 26

Sites Visited: Piraeus Museum and Shipsheds

Leaders: Ben and Grace

Today was quite an eventful and full day. First off, we were down one student and Professor Hruby due to a medical situation (don’t worry, everyone is okay). That didn’t stop our plans, though; just made us modify them.
We began with a trip to see the Piraeus museum and a ship shed under the guidance of Tim Shea, and saw a ton of really cool stuff including a massive bronze Athena.

After a short lunch and coffee break, we got back on the train and headed to the Alexandros to get our bags and move them to professor Hruby’s apartment for the duration of our stay in Crete. Then we left for the airport, with Professor Hruby but sans Tim Shea. A very brief flight later, we were on the island of Santorini, where we stayed in an absolutely gorgeous hotel in which most of us fell asleep immediately.

Akrotir-ya later,
Ben and Grace

DAY 32: Thursday, April 27

Sites Visited: Akrotiri Excavations, Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Leaders: Michael Bodek and Saphfire

We woke up bright and early to maximize our few hours in Santorini. After eating the best breakfast of the FSP, we boarded a swanky bus to Akrotiri, a Bronze age settlement that was destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 17th century BCE, and is incredibly well preserved. The settlement was advanced for its time, and it was the first Cycladic settlement we had seen. The water systems were well developed, and several buildings were multi-story skyscrapers. Wall paintings were found in situ, and the site was quite large. When the site was destroyed by a volcano, the people there were in the process of evacuating, so the site had things like furniture left outdoors. If we learned one thing from the site, it is that the Minoans are awesome!

We took a quick walk to the red sand beaches then headed back on the tour bus quality public bus to the prehistoric museum. Many wall paintings from Akrotiri were on display, as well as incredible Minoan pottery. We also saw a gold ibex at the museum.

After getting a short break during which we explored Santorini, we headed to the port to partake in the ritualistic ancient Greek tradition of boarding a ferry. Since ships pay per minute they are docked, they try to get people on and off the boats in as short a time as possible. In the span of five minutes several hundred people and a few dozen cars came off the ferry, and a similar amount of people and vehicles got on. We made our way onto the ferry, and two hours later we arrived in Crete, where we are now.

Timotheos Anesti!!!

Mike, Saph and nine other scrubs

Day 29: Monday, April 24

Sites Visited: Center for the Study of Traditional Pottery


Today, we returned to home base aka Athens via a flight. We had left early and once back from Cyprus, we attended a pottery workshop at the Center for the Study of Traditional Pottery. There, we learned about clay and were able to make our pots and figurines. The curator awarded the best pot to DA TA Future Doctor Tim Shea. We cleaned up and headed back to our hotel to rest up for our day off tomorrow.


Shania, Frankel, & everyone else.

Day 28: Sunday, April 23

Sites Visited: Kyrenia Castle, Bellapais Monastery, Salamis, St. Barnabas’s chapel


Today was our last day in Cyprus! We ventured over to the North side occupied by Turkey to see some stuff and things, but not without picking up our tour guide. Gradually throughout the day, we gave up trying to understand each other’s English, and instead we opted to have Frankel step in and translate the guide’s German. He should probably get paid or something for his services. Or not.

Our first stop was the harbor, where we got some picturesque views of the ocean. We then made our way to Kyrenia Castle a short drive away, and got some really pretty views of the harbor we just left. We peeked into the harbor’s museum to see a remarkably well-preserved and well-excavated Hellenistic shipwreck dating from 300 BC. They dated it with the almonds still on board, and we’re not sure how that works, but we’re nuts about it!

Bellapais Monastery was the next stop. There was a concert hall with great acoustics, so we all participated in the ancient ritual chant, “Heeeeeey, Miiiichael Bodek!” as is custom for our peoples. We took a little time to explore after that, and it was VERY windy and we all almost DIED falling off the Frankish fortification walls and into the sea, but we didn’t.

It was good we didn’t die, because we got some AWESOME food at a Popeye restaurant. Not Popeye’s, it was a Turkish restaurant with Popeye as their mascot. Weird. Anyway, it was soooo gooooood and we wanna go back already.

But we had to go to Salamis next, the legendary site that Teucer (the brother of Ajax) founded when he couldn’t go home after he failed to avenge his brother’s death. Or something. Anyway, it was time for site parkour! We went exploring the ancient Hellenistic and Roman bath complex, and saw some ancient bathrooms and mosaic domes. Pretty dope. It was a lot of people’s favorite site today, because we get really excited about baths now. They’re so cool.

Our last stop of the day was St. Barnabas’ chapel, where the saint is buried and pilgrimage stuff goes on. We marveled at some ancient pottery and some Byzantine icons, and then finally headed home to Nicosia to rest. We leave tomorrow morning for Athens, wish us kalo taxidi!

d o n t t o u c h t h e a n t i q u i t i e s,

Vic, Student Tim, and da squish

Day 27: Saturday, April 22

Sites Visited: Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) and the Cyprus Museum

Leaders: Dan and Nat

Today we spent the day in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. We had a reception at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI), which enticed most if not all of us to work there for a summer or a year or… you get the idea. Afterward, we headed to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum. This museum might have been one of the most impressive so far in terms of contents, running the gamut from prehistoric stonework and pottery to Archaic sculpture to Roman work. One of the most exciting aspects of the museum was that many artifacts came from sites that we had seen this week!

During the afternoon, everyone split up to explore the city. Some of us went to a museum of Cypriot coinage, others went to Turkish baths, and others explored architecture in Northern Cyprus. Walking into the North was a surreal experience because even though crossing the border only took a few steps, the other side was like a whole other world. As the last divided city in Europe, Nicosia has tons to offer! Tomorrow we all head to the North to check out some sites and a monastery.

Nat, Dan and the Fam

Day 26: Friday, April 21

Sites Visited: Agios Ioannis, Troodos Mountains, Nicosia

Leaders: Saphfire and Barg

Hey folks,

Today we traveled from Pafos to Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia. Along the way, we traveled through the Troodos Mountains and saw Cyprus’ copper producing region. These copper mines have been churning out the metal since antiquity, and some mines are still operating today.

Also along the way, we stopped at Agios Iannios, a Byzantine Orthodox monastery, and looked at the well preserved wall paintings there.

We had a long – and super Cypriot – lunch in the town where Agios Iannios is. We arrived to Nicosia around 4:30, and rested up. We then walked as a group to the old city and grabbed dinner. The old city is on the Turkish border, as Nicosia is the last divided capital in Europe.

Until next time,

Saph & Barg

Day 25: Thursday, April 20

Sacred tree at St. Solomon's Catacombs

Sites Visited: St. Solomon’s Catacombs, Ancient Theater of Pafos, 4th/6th C basilica at Agia Kyriaki, Mosaics in the Paphos Archaeological Park

Leaders: Michael and Grace

Today we met our tour guide, Dave, and he took us to a bunch of sites near the water in Paphos. We saw a Hellenistic tomb with a Christian burial, then we were sent to another site and told to figure out what we were looking at. It was a Roman basilica with later churches built on top of it. Next was the highlight of the day, we saw elaborate Roman mosaics that showed mythological scenes. They were part of the floor decoration of the house of an incredibly wealthy Cypriot from the Roman period.

Next, we broke for lunch and we each went our own way, and our task for the afternoon was to find something cool in Paphos. We went to a wide range of locations, from churches to beaches to art galleries. We reconvened for a quiz in the early evening, after which we told each other about our discoveries.

Michael and Grace

Day 24: Wednesday, April 19


Sites Visited: Lemba, Cat Sanctuary, Palaipafos, Souskiou, Mesorotsos

Leaders: Ben and Shania

Today, we had another very long day on the bus, this time all around the area of Pafos. The very first order of business was to stop by The site of Dr. Paul Croft at Lemba and see the reconstructed Chalcolithic roundhouses as well as some artifacts and remains. After this, we went to an abandoned hotel to see a well which had been dug by Dr. Croft.

After thanking him and seeing him off, we embarked on the bus once more with the aim of the Paleopafos site, but took a brief side tour to see a local cat shelter with over 700 cats!

After the cats, we headed towards Paleopafos and the sanctuary of Aphrodite. We met up with Dr. Andrew McCarthy and Dr. Lisa Graham, who took us around the site. There were a lot of amazing things, including some massive Cyclopean blocks and a painted Roman sarcophagus. We then got lunch in kouklia, the modern village near the site at local tavernas.

After lunch, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Graham took us to the site of Souskiou, a middle Bronze Age necropolis. The last site of the day was once again guided by Drs. McCarthy and Graham, after a fun and terrifying series of rides in their Land Rover. This site is their currently active project at Mesorotsos. As a result, we got to see a ton of open trenches and another replica of domestic Chalcolithic technology – this time a pit oven. These open trenches allowed us to learn a lot about the actual process of archaeology and ask questions of the people in charge of the site in person. We then walked back up the valley wall and got back on our bus to head home.

-Ben and Shania


Pre-pottery Neolithic Well


Cat Sanctuary

Palaipafos (Sanctuary of Aphrodite and Museum)

Souskiou and environs