Monday, March 23
Sites Visited: British Museum: Bassai and Mausoleum sculptures and Greek vase collection
Where did we stay tonight?: London
Leaders: Kate Ginsburg and Jason Spellmire
Day three dawned with a chill east wind, but the arrival of one Jerry Guo was like a warm spring breeze. We broke camp at 6 AM, and were forced to eat the last of our meager rations (read: most of us slept until 8:30 and made our way lazily to the free breakfast). We convened by the friendly lion in the British Museum Great Court and were then led on a brisk tour of some of the galleries. At 11, Dr. Peter Higgs, one of the museum’s Greek and Roman curators, delivered an engaging lecture on the Mausoleum at Helicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, followed by one on the temple of Apollo at Bassae. The Bassae frieze is not open to the public, so we were lucky to have the opportunity to view it. The Mausoleum was a crowd pleaser, though the hordes of uniformed British schoolchildren made for a challenging viewing and listening. Some of us were jealous of said schoolchildren’s field trip, especially those of us whose grade school fieldtrips consisted of half days at the local bowling alley.
After lunch we were led to the fabled Secret Room (also not open to the public), which contains the reserve pottery collection. Dr. Amy Smith, of the University of Reading, discussed the evolution of Greek pottery, with emphasis on painting techniques. She impressed us with her command of the material and her enthusiasm. She was interrupted briefly by the sounding of the intruder alarm, prompting visibly startled security guards to search the room aisle by aisle; as the aisles are all made entirely of glass display cases, hiding spots were few. Some of us were excited at the prospect of finally viewing “in person” the subject material for our Classics 19 project. Others had wrongly assumed that the Secret Room was where they would be initiated into the Order of the Phoenix and were sorely disappointed. We concluded around 4 and enjoyed a leisurely evening in London.
Video Intro to Day 3:
Video wrap-up by the fearless leaders:
Day 3 photo gallery: