Site Visited: American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Leaders: Dan and Saphfire
Hello! Today was technically an off day, but it was so eventful we figured we’d write about it anyway! Thanks to PCC and Tim being well connected, we all were invited to lunch at the American School of Archaeology in Athens. After sleeping late, we had a little secret gift exchange for Easter and then left for lunch. The food was delicious- roast lamb and all sorts of grilled veggies and cheese. We hung out for a while and played some tennis, then headed back to the hotel to hang out and catch up with ourselves for the afternoon.
Tonight was our last night with PCC, so we had a nice couple of hours hanging out with everyone and saying goodbye to him. We’re sad to see him go, but looking forward to learning with Professor Hruby. Tomorrow it’s off to Cyprus, catch you from there!
Dan, Saf, and the Skwad
Sites Visited: National Archaeological Museum
Leaders: Barg and Grace
Today, we got up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for an exciting day at the National Archaeological Museum here in Athens. After a nice 3 kilometer walk to the museum, we started the day looking at stone monumental sculpture. We split up into pairs and each got assigned a stone sculpture. Each group then pretended PCC was a billionaire donor who wanted to buy a piece for the Hood Museum at Dartmouth. We then had to convince PCC to buy our sculpture by proving it was the most historically significant or beautifully carved.
We then got to see some bronze sculpture! Most of the bronze sculptures from ancient Greece have been melted down for military purposes overtime. Only a few remain in the world, and the museum had about a half dozen to study.
We broke for lunch and then spent the afternoon learning about Greek funerary sculptures from our awesome and knowledgeable TA Tim Shea. Tim is writing his dissertation on Attic funerary sculpture, so he was the right man for the job today.
We have tomorrow off for Easter, so we’re going to finish off our work and enjoy the Athenian night.
Gracie & Maxí
Sites Visited: Athenian Agora
Leaders: Michael and Shania
Greece is starting to shut down in advance of Easter and us FSPers are well aware of this fact. Stores are starting to have weird hours; the streets are starting to feel emptier; museums are opening late and closing early. Because of this, we got to sleep in today and we convened at 10AM to do some work on the Athenian Agora. About an hour later we headed to the Agora itself, where we waited for it to open an noon.
While waiting, we had the pleasure of hearing Greek Orthodox chanting and a church bell ring every fifteen seconds for about twenty minutes. Little did we know that that bell would ring constantly for the next five hours.
Tuning out the bell, we entered the Agora with PCC and Dr. Scahill. We explored the Agora, starting with the Stoa of Attalus. Dr. Scahill took us around the stoa and explained various architectural features. Then, we went on to the different buildings of the agora. Before we knew it, it was 3PM.
Dr. Scahill took us to his favorite restaurant and we had amazing food. He answered questions about his article on Corinthian capitals throughout lunch. After lunch, he again took us around the agora. Around 4:45, the agora people kicked us out to head home for the Easter weekend. A quiet weekend awaits.
Let’s go Mets,
Michael and Shania
Sites Visited: Lamia and Thermopylae
Leaders: Victoria and Ben
So today we did nothing but sit on a bus. We got up at 8am to leave Thessaloniki and Macedon forever, but not before a stop in Lamia at a museum with a ton of Bronze Age pottery. We walked around for a while exploring, saw a really cool dedication plaque to Artemis, and then got back on the bus.
After a short while, we stopped at Thermopylae, the fortified hill where Leonidas and his 300 Spartans made their last stand. The mood was somber and reverent, and the mosquitoes that bit us hearkened back to the Spartans attacking the Persians with nothing but their teeth. We heard the legendary story and then headed off the hill to get some lunch at a nice taverna on the side of the road.
Lunch took awhile, we played some pool and sat outside, and then it was back on the road for Athens. The Easter season is starting over here, so we’re gonna have a lot of time off in the coming days. Time to relax for the night!
Vic, Ben, SQAWD.
Artemis Relief (Late 4th/3rd BC)
Sites Visited: Pella, Lefkandia, and Vergina
Group Leaders: Max and Nathalie
Today we went to the ancient Macedonian capitol of Pella. We explored the huge site and found awesome mosaics and a pretty cool bath complex. Then it was back on the bus to go Lefkandia to see painted Macedonian tombs. We went underground and the guard actually let us inside one of the tombs. PCC looked very Indiana Jones-esque but no ostensibly Nazi agents interrupted our experiential learning. After that we headed to Mieze to see were Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great, PCC’s lecture compared. We met the cutest stray-ish dogs ever and were a little distracted throughout PCC’s lecture. We then drove even further to Vergina, the site of the royal Macedonian tombs. We saw more painted tombs and all of the incredible artifacts found inside them. The amount of gold crowns and ivory furniture was mind-blowing. There was also the cheesiest informational video of all time. We then headed home for one last night in Thessaloniki before heading back to Athens the next morning.
Sincerely and irrevocably yours,
Max and Nathalie
Sites Visited: Ancient Thessaloniki (Roman Forum, Acropolis, Rotunda, White Tower, Arch of Galerius, Galerius’ palatial complex), Churches (Agios Dimitrios, Agia Sofia, and the Church of Acheiropoietos), Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum,
Leaders: Tim and Saphfire
Another bright and early day in Thessaloniki. Today was devoted to a walking tour of the city, starting with a stop at the Roman Forum and a discussion of the tumultuous history of the city, which began as a series of scattered settlements that were consolidated by the Macedonian king Cassander in the late 4th century. After poking around the substructure of the forum and its adjoining museum, we bounced between several Byzantine Churches and made our way up to the top of the city’s acropolis, where we took a group shot overlooking the city and the water. From there we hiked downhill to several more Roman sites from the period of the Tetrarchy – first a mysterious, largely unexplained rotunda, and then the Arch of Galerius and Galerius’ sprawling palatial complex.
We split off into small groups for lunch before reconvening at the White Tower along the water and spending the afternoon in the city’s primary archaeological museum. The highlight of this museum was its collection of Macedonian treasures, including the famous Derveni Krater, a huge bronze vessel adorned with incredibly detailed depictions of the god Dionysus, his wedding to Ariadne, and other allusions to his worship. After stopping by the White Tower again to get a good view of the whole city, we went home, wrote up responses to an assignment on the Derveni Krater, and held another discourse for the evening.
Saphfire and Tim
Sites Visited: Osman Shah Mosque, Larisa Diachronic Museum, Dion, Thessaloniki
Leaders: Daniel and Grace
Today was a pretty action-packed day as we bounced around from place to place en route to Thessaloniki. We left the hotel at 7:30 sharp and headed to the nearby town of Trikala to see a mosque designed by a Sinan, the most famous Ottoman architect. Although the decoration was completely bland compared to the Byzantine monasteries we have been visiting, the acoustics and design were spectacular. After that, it was on to Larisa to see the new archaeology museum there. It had just opened up (the driveway wasn’t even paved yet!) and we were the only ones there, so everyone was quite excited to see us. The museum was also incredible- they had a huge collection of material from a large range of time periods. We spent two hours there without even realizing it.
After tearing ourselves away from the museum in Larisa, we headed to the archaeological site of Dion. We only had about an hour and a half there since the site closed at 3PM, so we walked around some ruins and discovered how hard it is to draw a site plan. After we got kicked out of the ruins, we grabbed some lunch and hopped on the bus for Thessaloniki! We had a great celebration dinner for Dan’s birthday and enjoyed hanging out for the night knowing we had the next day to sleep in.
Osman Shah Mosque in Trikala
Some objects in the Larisa Diachronic Museum