Friday, November 20, 2009

'Diazoma' Association

Source: Diazoma

‘DIAZOMA’ is a movement of active citizens from all over Greece, who are determined to put our esteem for the country’s monuments and cultural heritage into practice.

Ancient theatres are the focus of our interest and our aim is to enhance them, to find funding and, wherever feasible, to include these monuments in the daily life of Greece.
‘DIAZOMA’ introduces to Greece a new pro-active approach to achieving its aims, which relies on citizens and their actions.

Open to all citizens of Greece, ‘DIAZOMA’ seeks to take ancient theatres, this culminating achievement of ancient Greek architecture, under its wing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Έξωση στο Κέντρο Νεολιθικών Μελετών Διρού

Source: Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες Online

Υπό έξωση βρίσκεται το Κέντρο Νεολιθικών Μελετών Διρού, το οποίο έχει δημιουργηθεί για τη μελέτη των ευρημάτων από τις ανασκαφές στα ονομαστά σπήλαια της περιοχής. Αιτία είναι η καθυστέρηση καταβολής ενοικίων ύψους 11.600 ευρώ στον ιδιοκτήτη του ακινήτου στο οποίο στεγάζεται το κέντρο. Η αγωγή εξώσεως εκδικάζεται στο Πρωτοδικείο Γυθείου στις 9 Δεκεμβρίου και σε περίπτωση που η πολιτεία δεν ευαισθητοποιηθεί εγκαίρως κινδυνεύει να βρεθεί στον δρόμο επιστημονικός εξοπλισμός πολλών χιλιάδων ευρώ, μια βιβλιοθήκη με 4.000 εξειδικευμένα συγγράμματα και πολύτιμα ντοκουμέντα του ανασκαφικού έργου. Το Κέντρο Νεολιθικών Μελετών Διρού στεγάστηκε σε ένα παραδοσιακό μανιάτικο πυργόσπιτο στον Πύργο Διρού Λακωνίας. Όταν όμως το 2006 ο τότε γενικός γραμματέας του ΥΠΠΟ, Χρ. Ζαχόπουλος διέκοψε τα κονδύλια για τις ανασκαφές που γίνονταν στην Αλεπότρυπα, το μέλλον του κατέστη επισφαλές.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

British School at Athens: New Website Launch

Source: The British School at Athens

The British School at Athens is proud to announce the launch of its new website. We have redesigned the site from the ground-up to facilitate public access to the latest information about the School from current events, to available awards, to the on-going projects and research taking place at the School. Whether you are a long-time user or a new visitor, we encourage you to explore our reconceived site in order to learn more about our research and activities and the many ways in which you can get involved. Please check back often: the new site is an active directory of our activities in all domains and will be updated regularly.

History In 3-D: Digitally Archived Works Of Art

Source: ScienceDaily

ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009) — If you don't have the time to travel to Florence, you can still see Michelangelo's statue of David on the Internet, revolving in true-to-life 3D around its own axis.

This is a preview of what scientists are developing in the European joint project 3D-COFORM. The project aims to digitize the heritage in museums and provide a virtual archive for works of art from all over the world. Vases, ancient spears and even complete temples will be reproduced three-dimensionally.

In a few years' time museum visitors will be able to revolve Roman amphorae through 360 degrees on screen, or take off on a virtual flight around a temple. The virtual collection will be especially useful to researchers seeking comparable works by the same artist, or related anthropological artifacts otherwise forgotten in some remote archive.

The digital archive will be intelligent, searching for and linking objects stored in its database. For instance, a search for Greek vases from the sixth century BC with at least two handles will retrieve corresponding objects from collections all over the world.

3D documentation provides a major advance over the current printed catalogs containing pictures of objects, or written descriptions. A set of 3D data presents the object from all angles, providing information of value to conservators, such as the condition of the surface or a particular color. As the statue of David shows, impressive 3D animations of art objects already exist.

"But we are still a long way from being able to sensibly correlate 3D data between different objects," says Dr. André Stork, Head of Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD in Darmstadt and a partner in the 3D-COFORM consortium.

Stork and his team are generating 3D models and processing them for the digital archive.

"A 3D scan is basically a cloud of measured points. Further processing is required to map the object properly," Stork explains.

Researchers are developing calculation specifications to derive the actual object from the measured data. The software must be able to identify specific structures, such as the arms on a statue or columns on a building, as well as recognizing recurring patterns on vases. A virtual presentation also needs to include a true visual image -- a picture of a temple would not be realistic if the shadows cast by its columns were not properly depicted. The research group in Darmstadt is therefore combining various techniques to simulate light effects.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Remains of a Minoan-style painting discovered during excavations of the Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri

Source: University of Haifa Communications and Media Relations

The remains of a Minoan-style wall painting, characterized by a blue background, the first of its kind to be found in Israel, was discovered in the course of the recent excavation season at Tel Kabri. This fresco joins others of Aegean style that have been uncovered during earlier seasons at the Canaanite palace in Kabri. “It was, without doubt, a conscious decision made by the city’s rulers who wished to associate with Mediterranean culture and not adopt Syrian and Mesopotamian styles of art like other cities in Canaan did. The Canaanites were living in the Levant and wanted to feel European,” explains Dr. Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa, who directed the excavations. READ FULL STORY

Aegeus – Society of Aegean Prehistory

A new society devoted to Aegean prehistory.

Description from the official website and Facebook group.

Aegeus - Society of Aegean Prehistory was officially established on 30 April 2009 as a non-profit organization with research, cultural and educational objectives.

Some of the aims of the Society are:

1. The study, research and dissemination of prehistoric archaeology of the Aegean and the neighboring regions; from the Paleolithic until the Early Iron Age, and comparatively with the subsequent eras.

2. The strengthening of multidisciplinary collaborations and specializations of archaeology, e.g. bioarchaeology, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, etc.

3. The promotion of collaborations with other social sciences and humanities (e.g. philology, social anthropology, etc.).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thera tsunamis once again...

Source: The New York Times

In the Mediterranean, Killer Tsunamis From an Ancient Eruption

Published: November 2, 2009

The massive eruption of the Thera volcano in the Aegean Sea more than 3,000 years ago produced killer waves that raced across hundreds of miles of the Eastern Mediterranean to inundate the area that is now Israel and probably other coastal sites, a team of scientists has found.

The team, writing in the October issue of Geology, said the new evidence suggested that giant tsunamis from the catastrophic eruption hit “coastal sites across the Eastern Mediterranean littoral.” Tsunamis are giant waves that can crash into shore, rearrange the seabed, inundate vast areas of land and carry terrestrial material out to sea.

The region at the time was home to rising civilizations in Crete, Cyprus, Egypt, Phoenicia and Turkey.

For decades, scholars have suggested that the giant eruption, just 70 miles from Crete, might have brought about the mysterious collapse of Minoan civilization at the peak of its glory. The remnants of Thera’s eruption today make up a circular archipelago of volcanic Greek isles known as Santorini.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens

The next Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens is entitled "Imitation in Archaeology".

The Seminar is taking place at 6.30pm, 6th November 2009 at the Irish
Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens (51a Notara Street, Exarcheia).

If interested in participating, please email the IIHSA ( to
request the suggested and recommended reading list.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Museum of Nauplion Reopens

After five years of renovation works and a 880,000 Euro bill, the Nauplion Museum opens today its doors to the public.

The 2,000 exhibits, amongst them the famous 'Dendra Cuirass', are displayed on the two floors of the building which used to be a Venetian armoury.

For more information, take a look here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens

I would like to draw your attention to the blog of the Theoretical Archaeology Seminar at Athens (TASA) (formerly known as the British-Irish Theory Seminars).

TASA was founded by a group of young scholars based at Athens, Greece. Its aim is to promote debate and discussion of issues in theoretical archaeology. Each seminar is dedicated to a specific theme and participants are encouraged to do some background reading prior to each meeting.

TASA is managed by an organising committee consisting of international scholars and students residing in Athens under the auspices of the British School at Athens and the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens.

Friday, January 30, 2009

An interview with Stephen G Miller

Source: Athens News

A foreign archaeologist in Athens

Stephen G Miller, ex-director of excavations at Ancient Nemea, talks to theAthens News about his craft on the occasion of his newly-published children'sbook 'Plato at Olympia'

By Heinrich Hall

"I CAN'T tell you how gratifying it is to sit in my office, look down at Ancient Nemea and see the busloads coming in, knowing I excavated the site, planted the trees, built the museum..."

It is with unconcealed pleasure that Stephen G Miller looks back on his career, 40 years spent between the US and Greece. Former professor of archaeology at Berkeley (1973-2004) and ex-director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (1982-1987), Miller is among the most distinguished foreign archaeologists in Greece. During three decades of excavations, he transformed the site of Ancient Nemea from a rarely visited, poorly understood backwater into a major attraction featuring a partially re-erected temple, well-preserved stadium and excellent museum. In 1996, he revived the Nemean Games. The Modern Games, which trace the footprints of antiquity (in costume), took place for the fourth time last summer.

Although Miller has authored dozens of academic publications, his new book Plato at Olympia (Bragiotti Editions, 13 euros) is not one of them. It is a children's book about the famous philosopher Plato as a child striving to become an Olympic athlete. Illustrated with lovely watercolours by the Greek artist Athena Stamatis and told in an accessible, erudite but light-hearted manner, it introduces the reader to ancient Greece and the site of Olympia.

What made you choose Greek archaeology as a career?

As an undergraduate, I studied Ancient Greek because I wanted to read Plato in his own language. Plato turned out to be my nemesis; his philosophical language was beyond me. When George Mylonas, excavator of Mycenae, visited, he mesmerised me. By the time he left, I wanted to be an archaeologist. It seemed a great combination of outdoor and indoor work. I chose it not really knowing what I was in for. It worked out very well.

What was your first experience of Greece?

A cheap dinner of lobster in Palaiokastrita, on Corfu, in 1967. I thought it was paradise.

Has Greek archaeology changed since then?

Then, the basis of classical archaeology was ancient Greek. My Greek has been a tremendous advantage to me: as finds come out of the ground, I can read inscriptions, or graffiti on the stadium tunnel and ancient texts about Nemea. Nowadays, prehistory is a major field, where Ancient Greek is less important.

What should change in Greek archaeology?

I wish there were more funds available so that the time we spend raising money could be used in outreach to the public.

You directed excavations at Nemea for three decades. What were your most important discoveries?

The most important physical discovery was the stadium tunnel. It proved that by the 4th century, the Greeks knew to build arches and vaults. The graffiti in the tunnel add a sense of what Greek athletes did while waiting to compete.

Even more important is the history. We now know that the Nemean Games took place at Nemea, otherwise uninhabited, during two separate periods - from the early 6th to the late 5th and from the late 4th to the early 3rd century BC - and that the site was destroyed at the end of the 5th century, probably during the Peloponnesian War.

What further discoveries at Nemea do you expect?

The hippodrome. No ancient hippodrome has been uncovered. We know roughly where it is. The early stadium also needs work. Unlike any other known stadium, it goes back to the 6th century BC.

How has Nemea changed since you started working there?

In 1973, Ancient Nemea had 400 people, one television set, one automobile, many donkeys and the ubiquitous fresa tilling machine. Now there are 220 people, tractors, cars, telephones and televisions everywhere. In 1973, we had one visitor all summer. The site was three columns, weeds and thistles. Last year, there were over 40,000 visitors.

Why did you launch the Modern Nemean Games?

For me, the Games are educational, a way for people to feel and touch antiquity. A transformation takes place in the stadium tunnel. People enter the locker room, put on a tunic, walk barefoot through the tunnel and come out in the 4th century BC. For the villagers, they promote Nemea. That's OK with me.

In the 1980s, you were director of the ASCSA. Has American archaeology in Greece changed since then?

When I was a student, the ASCSA was quite isolated from the other foreign schools and the Greeks. As director, I tried to change that, inviting Greeks to come and use the library. I see with pleasure and pride that the school is more integrated today.

Today you are launching Plato at Olympia, a children's book. What's it about?

It's about the young Plato, who decides he wants to become an Olympic victor. It follows his development towards that goal and his experience. The basic purpose of the book is to provide an easy way for readers (and not just young readers) to understand Olympia and the Olympic Games, but to do that through the eyes of Plato (at least the Plato I recreated). So, the book's basic purpose is pedagogic. I provide the written sources for all that happens in the book and also pictorial sources. The watercolour drawings that illustrate the book are based, with some exceptions, upon ancient artefacts, vase paintings, statues and reliefs.

You divided your time between Greece and the US for 4 decades. Is it still exciting?

I have a very good life. Travelling is tiring, but I've never been bored.

* Plato at Olympia is available at Eleftheroudakis bookstore in both English and Greek versions

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From the land of the Golden Fleece : Treasures of Ancient Colchis

From the Benaki Museum website

This travelling exhibition is being presented to the Greek public for the first time, and introduces, in an impressive manner, the civilisation that developed on the Eastern shores of the Black Sea from the 5th to the 2nd century B.C. The 140 works in the exhibition - which include 100 pieces of jewellery - were found in excavations that took place at Vani, the religious centre of Ancient Colchis (in the west of present day Republic of Georgia).

The purpose of the exhibition is both to highlight the strong cultural ties that linked Ancient Greece with Colchis, and to acquaint the Greek public with the brilliant world of the East.

The objects in the exhibition belong to the National Museum of Georgia, in Tbilisi.

The exhibition has already been shown in major museums in Europe and the United States, including the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin; the Musée des Arts Asiatiques, Nice; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and is currently hosted by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until January 4th, 2009.

University of Pennsylvania Museum Researchers Petition

There is an online petition concerning the recent firing of the University of Pennsylvania Museum's 18 Research Specialists in Archaeology.

Please DO sign and support the cause and feel free to distribute as widely as possible in the archaeological community.