April 30, 2009
Wednesday April 29th
Sites Visited: Numismatic Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Athenian Agora
Where did we stay tonight?: Athens
Leaders: Ally Begly and Jerry Guo
This morning the group awoke bright and early, enlivened by the scent of fresh Tang wafting down the steps from the 10th floor breakfast buffet. After getting our monthly intake of fresh fruit at breakfast, Professor Christesen bestowed upon us a special welcome back gift: an assignment on the Agora, Athens’ ancient market place and civic center. There is nothing like writing in the morning or drawing dozens of (extremely) rough building plans to get the day started off right. After finishing our assignment, we went to the Numismatics Museum, also known as Heinrich Schliemann’s fabulous Athenian mansion, modeled after a Minoan palace and/or a Pompeiian villa (he had to spend that Crimean War money somehow). Jason enlightened us with a SPELLbinding tale (get it?) about Septimius Severus’ coinage. He gave a dramatic and inspiring lecture, despite the lack of actual Septimius Severus coinage. After bidding farewell to the Museum and Schliemann’s abode, we mounted an expedition to the National Museum. Following the FSP vow of “No Man Left Behind” Jerry and Professor Christesen scoured the city for CJ (who was actually left behind). Everything turned out well in the end as we all met up at the National Museum at the exact right moment. Ally and Jerry sat with the bags as the rest of the group went in to look at pottery for their upcoming presentations. After the National Museum, we hopped on the subway and ate a quick gyro at Monastiraki. Then it was on to the Agora to meet Dr. David Scahill once again, who was unfortunately sans his trademark hat. Dr. Scahill gave us a great lecture on the various buildings in the Agora and also allowed us access to the top-secret basement pottery stores of the excavations. We looked at billions of transport amphorae, and also saw the old excavation notebooks. Then we ventured out into the Agora itself and saw the remains of a number of virtually all of the major ancient buildings, including the Stoa of Attalos (the Hellenistic shopping mall) and the Hephaisteon. After a quick look in the museum, we negotiated a wake up time for tomorrow and headed back to the Astor for dinner, or into the welcoming if slightly Euro-techno atmosphere of Chroma to use the internet. Back to the National Museum tomorrow to finish up our student presentations.
We used Wikipedia to come up with this joke, so you will probably need Wikipedia to understand it.
Lecture in the Agora:
Day 39 Photo Gallery:
Jason presents on the African issues of Septimius Severus at the Numismatic museum in Athens.
Presenter action pose.
The splendour of Schliemann's mansion/the Numismatic museum, all decked out in Pompeiian third style fresco.
Charlie decides he likes the Dupondius the best.
A bust of Lucius Verrus surveys the scene.
Alex M., Jason, and Kate explore the upper story of the Stoa of Attalos at the Athenian Agora.
Perennial FSP favorite David Scahill explains a model of the Athenian Agora to the group.
The Hephaisteion looms behind the Agora model.
Kathryn, Alex A., Jerry, and Ben inside the conservation lab in the Stoa of Attalos.
In amongst the study collection in the Stoa.
Transport amphorae aplenty in the basement storerooms of the Stoa of Attalos.
The cavernous depths of the Agora storerooms.
David Scahill points out an interesting inscription to the students.
Joe, Jerry, and Dallis examine the remains of the ballot box and courtroom in the basement of the Stoa.
A reproduction of a juror's ballot hangs near the courtroom remains in the basement of the Stoa.
Jerry observes a group of Greek children in the Agora.
Lecture at the Tholos in the agora, with the Acropolis looming overhead.
Acanthus plant growing in the Agora.
Urban archaeology rears its rebar-crested head in the Agora.
David Scahill explains the history of the temple of Mars in the Agora.
Faunal residua at the temple of Mars
At the Hephaisteion
Kaineus gets it at the Hephaisteion.
Marvelling at the impressive masonry at the well-preserved Hephaisteion.
Ben enjoys the vistas of Lykavittos hill and the Stoa of Attalos from the Hephaisteion.
Jason connects with his inner aristocrat via a Geometric horse pyxis at the Agora museum.
Kathryn and Joe in the Agora museum.
Meta-pottery at the Agora museum.
April 29, 2009
Tuesday April 28th
Sites Visited: None/Various (Free day)
Where did we stay tonight?: Athens
Leaders: Alex Maceda and Katie Holroyd
There once was a battlefield paper
That the FSP put off ‘til later.
So on their free day,
In cafes they did stay,
Writing of theoretical capers.
Today was our day off. We had a paper due at 5pm. Many of us picked up our laundry. Many stayed in internet cafes. Some ate delicious pasta for dinner. PCC returned.
KT gets her laundry!
An intense printing and discussion session in room 309
April 28, 2009
Monday April 27th
Sites Visited: Eretria (Archaic/Classical/Hellenistic city-state), Marathon (Persian War battlefield)
Where did we stay tonight?: Athens
Leaders: Charles Clark and Kait Barber
Today was the grand finale in our whirlwind tour of Central Greece. Our scheduled visit to the site and museum at Eretria evolved into a series of fencehoppings, when our Swiss guide failed to appear. At the site, we were divided into pairs and commissioned to read and present on some of the well-preserved Classical and Hellenistic buildings including houses, a theater, a gymnasium, and the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros. Having completed our tour of Eretria, we traveled back to Attica from Euboea via a short ferry ride.
The next stage of our day’s festivities was a lecture at the site of Marathon, where a combined force of Athenians and Plateans defeated the forces of Darius in the First Persian Invasion. We were able to see a large tumulus where the fallen Athenians had been buried. Unfortunately a large fence made it difficult to explore the area. After another dramatic reading by Assaf we climbed on the bus and headed back to Athens.
Back in Athens we all relaxed and did various things. After napping and catching up on the internet, some of us headed out to a noodle place for dinner. With tummies full everyone headed off to bed.
Day 37 Photo Gallery:
Prof. Faro explains the morning's assignment shortly after arrival at Eretria.
Dallis and Alex M. head for the theater, while Jason and Kathryn focus on the "human drama" of Eretrian domestic architecture.
Flora a-plenty at the overgrown site of Eretria.
An old wagon, overgrown like everything else at Eretria.
Charlie consults his notes while Dallis, Kait, Joe, and Chris look on with bemusement.
Waiting for Eretria presentation inspiration.
Prof. Faro provides a visual aid while Ben and KT present on a Hellenistic house at Eretria.
Kathryn explains the phasing of one of the houses at Eretria.
KT presents while Kate and Joe listen at Eretria.
Dallis admire's Ben's "graceful" fence-jumping technique.
Alex goes for the fence-hopping gold...
...he sticks the landing! And the crowd goes wild.
Scenic vista at Marathon Lake.
Group photo at Marathon lake.
Alex A. brings the past to life with a semi-dramatic reading of Herodotus at Marathon.
Unfortunately, Marathon had a case of the Mondays.
If the FSP had an Homeric epithet, this might be it.
April 27, 2009
Sunday April 26th
Sites Visited: Volos Museum, Lefkandi (Early Iron Age “Heroon”)
Where did we stay tonight?: Halkida
Leaders: Kathryn Mammel and Kate Ginsberg
It takes a lot to get us excited about an archaeological museum any more, but the Athanaskeio Museum in Volos managed to do just that. Perhaps it was merely because we had the morning off and there was real filter coffee at breakfast (and—as if that weren’t enough—a Starbucks two buildings down the block from the hotel), but the group really came alive at the museum. The museum’s extensive collection of Neolithic finds from all of Thessaly were tastefully and engagingly displayed (see “Inside the Volos Museum” below), and the diachronically arranged, reconstructed graves in the final room of the museum made for one of the best museum displays we’ve seen yet.
We left the museum around 12:30 and proceeded to drive south for the next four hours. We stopped briefly at a rest stop along the way in order that the group might have the important life experiences which are peanut flavored Cheetos and so-called “Turkish toilets” (stalls with large drainage holes in the center rather than toilets).
We reached the modern town of Lefkandi on the island of Euboea shortly before 5:00 and—in what has become a recurring theme of the FSP—walked up to the settlement of Xeropolis, only to stare through the fence. A rousing lecture by Sarah outside the heroon at Toumba, an Early Iron Age cemetery at Lefkandi, then captivated us, even after a long day, and we were all momentarily tempted to become Early Iron Age archaeologists.
Around 7:20 we arrived in Chalkis, where we’ll stay for the night. We were pleasantly surprised by the large rooms and by the presence of a shower curtain, which, along with reliable internet access and real orange juice, is a rare commodity in Greece.
Tomorrow: Eretria, Marathon, and back to Athens. Get excited. We are.
Inside the Volos Museum:
Impressions of Lefkandi:
Day 36 Photo Gallery:
A jaunty graffito provides a welcome morning pick-me-up across from the hotel in Volos.
Neolithic house reconstructions outside of the museum at Volos.
Dimitra Rousioti explains the effect that the construction of the Ethniki Odos (National Road) has had on Thessalian archaeology.
Dallis, Alex A. and Kait listen thoughtfully to discussion of the miniature tholos tombs discovered around Volos.
A Neolithic cup in the Volos museum.
Jerry and Alex A. learn about stratigraphy with the aid of the helpful displays in the Volos museum.
Anthropomorphic potsherds from the Early Helladic period.
Charlie dutifully obeys the photographer's instructions to look fascinated.
Neolithic female figurines and pregnant bellies.
A particularly bizarre Neolithic figurine in the Volos museum.
The old man of the FSP comes face to face with death.
Exploring the Classical and Hellenistic remains from Demetrias and Pagasae in the Volos museum.
Jerry, Alex M., and Kate check out a display of funerary practices through the ages.
Freshly caught fish advertise the night's menu at a taverna at Lefkandi beach.
Charlie, Chris, Alex M. & co. savor a brief and windy perambulation 'round the settlement site (Xeropolis) at Lefkandi after several hours on the bus.
Dallis, Kait, KT, and Kate pose outside Xeropolis.
Sarah lectures outside the Heroon at Toumba, one of the cemeteries at Lefkandi..
April 26, 2009
Saturday April 25
Sites Visited: Thermopylae (Persian War battle site), Dimini (Neolithic and Mycenaean settlement), beach!
Where did we stay tonight?: Volos
Leaders: Ally Begly and Chris Johnson
After a delicious spread at breakfast of miscellaneous starches and tang, we bid goodbye to Hotel Philippos and the wonderful bowling alley (sigh) of Levadhia. We boarded the bus and headed to Thermopylae. Having just watched a recent adaptation of the battle, 300, we were all excited to see the site of the famous Greek and Persian clash of 480 BCE. After looking around and confirming the lack of mutant rhinoceri and/or giant trolls, Professor Faro gave us a lecture in front of the modern monument to the battle. There wasn’t much to see, because the coastline had receded back about 5km from ancient times, and what was once was a narrow pass was now just a road in the middle of a plain. However, it was still exciting to see the site of such a famous battle, and the Spar-Students announced their profession to the other visitors at the site (see video 1). Back on the bus, we stopped at an oasis of overpriced snacks, German tourists, and fascinating arcade games for a brief lunch. We continued on to Dimini, an ancient Neolithic and Mycenaean settlement, where we met Dimitra Rousioti, who told us about the settlement. After an informative lecture, Dimitra suggested we all take a trip to the beach and save the museum for the morning. No one protested. At the beach, we relaxed, played basketball, and had an intense FSP volleyball face off. After much (valiant) flailing, rolling in the sand, and ducking out of the way of the ball, we called a day and went to our hotel in Volos. Tomorrow morning we have off, and then we head to Chalcis, our last stop before returning to Athens. For a more creative take on today, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dimini lecture highlights:
Day 35 Photo Gallery:
Admiring the American-funded roadside monument at Thermopylae
Charlie, Jerry, Jason, Ally, Dallis, and KT puzzle out the Spartan epitaph at Thermopylae.
Basking in the glory of times gone by.
Soldiers of the FSP army brave the existential threat of modern Thermopylae: oncoming traffic.
Archaeologist Dimitra Rousioti lectures to the group at Dimini.
Heading into the Mycenaean tholos tomb that is built into the side of the magoula at Dimini.
Alex A. examines the masonry techniques in use at Mycenaean Dimini.
Joe, Alex A. and Kate consider the early evidence for sociopolitical complexity at Dimini.
After some hasty calculations regarding domesticable crop yields, They share their conclusions with their compatriots.
Beach volleyball near Volos.
Jason serving: 15-love
Alex A. in action.
Chris and Joe vye for access to volleyball glory.
April 26, 2009
Friday April 24
Sites Visited: Gla (Mycenaean citadel), Orchomenos (Mycenaean tholos tomb and Classical polis), Chaeronea (Classical battlefield)
Where did we stay tonight?: Livadhia
Leaders: KT Holroyd and Jerry Guo
Today, the FSP group continued its tour of Greek sites with place names that are difficult or interesting to pronounce. We bid adieu to the chic Hotel Niobe and the bustling market town of Thebes early in the morning, with many group members dawdling at the breakfast buffet for just one more fried egg and filtered coffee. Some would say it is depressing that such simple things now excite us so much. We would respond through a mouthful of fried eggs.
Sites in Central Greece are mercifully close together, so we had only a short bus ride to the Mycenaean site of Gla. A massive fortified rock sitting in the middle of an agricultural plain, Gla sat in the center of the Kopais Basin, which was drained by the Mycenaeans in a massive engineering feat. The remains of Gla are overgrown now, and after a short lecture, Professor Faro sent the group off to explore the ruins (and write an assignment).
The group returned to the bus for a short hop to the next site, Orchomenos. After a visit to the Treasury of Minyas and the Hellenistic theater, we undertook a hike to the acropolis, ascending an ancient staircase to finally reach the top. Lunch was on top of the surviving fortification tower on the peak, and it ranged from salami and mustard sandwiches to canned dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice).
The final site of the day was Chaeronea, the site of the Battle of Chaeronea where Philip II and Alexander of Macedon eliminated the Athenian and Theban hoplites arrayed against them, thus ensuring Macedonian supremacy over Greece. A massive stone lion marks the burial site of the Sacred Band of Thebes, the crack troops of the Theban army who were all but annihilated at the battle.
With an early end to the day, the group took the opportunity to enjoy some much needed time off and watch 300. Tomorrow: Thermopylae. Prepare for glory!!!!
Glad to be at Gla:
Figuring out the remains at Gla:
Tholos tomb at Orchomenos:
Kings/Queens of the mountain at Orchomenos:
Alex A. gives a (melo)dramatic reading of Diodorus Siculus at Chaeronea:
Day 34 Photo Gallery:
Morning scenery about Thebes.
Thebes, new and old.
One of many entertainment options in the bustling market town of Thebes.
Troops sally forth amongst the snakes and overgrown ruins of the Mycenaean stronghold at Gla.
Charlie does his best poppy impression amongst the greenery at Gla.
Jason perches atop a geological marker in order to survey the Mycenaean "palace" at Gla.
Charlie tries to make sense of the architectural remains atop the citadel.
Jason, Jerry, Joe, Chris, and Alex A. work on their assignment.
Circuit wall atop the rocky outcropping at Gla.
KT and Kait practice their psychometry at the tholos tomb in Orchomenos.
Alex A. cuts a striking profile within the side chamber of the tholos tomb.
Jason and Alex A. summit the acropolis at Orchomenos, as the rest of the group follows on behind.
Chris and Joe clamber up to the top of the keep at Orchomenos.
Scenic view of Orchomenos and the Kopaic basin from the heights.
Joe savors the view from a prime spot on the tower at Orchomenos.
Picnic on the watchtower at Orchomenos.
Group on the tower at Orchomenos.
April 25, 2009
Thursday April 23
Sites Visited: Perachora (Archaic and Classical sanctuary), Aigosthena (Classical fortifications), Plataia (Persian War battlefield)
Where did we stay tonight?: Thebes
Leaders: Alex Maceda and Dallis Fox
Kalimera, FSP insiders!
Gossip Greek here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of the FSP elite.
When April 23rd rolls around, that can only mean one thing: Perachora. With its private cove and multiphase Heraion, this ancient site is anything but ruined. But with the best panoramic views of the Corinthian gulf, will anyone remember A. and C.J.’s big day? Or will it be discarded like the Roman period remains? Well, C.J. sure made a big splash…
Spotted: Our two group leaders carrying a nutella-covered pound cake. Could it be to the birthday two? Maybe A. and C.J. weren’t forgotten after all. Did our two fearless leaders delay the celebration of the birthday for the next scenic cove, Alkionias that is? And we hear that the best preserved Classical tower at Aegosthena is the perfect backdrop for turning another year older…
Every FSPer fantasizes about finding her perfect battlefield. But since when did one of the most decisive battles of the Persian war occur in an inconsequential polis’ backyard? Not much to see here at Plataia, archaeologically that is. But the real story is always what’s happening in private. Perhaps the professor has a paper is in store…
Until next time,
You know you love me,
Group, meet Perachora:
Chris’s 23rd birthday plunge:
Day 33 Photo Album:
Alex M. conducts leaderly duties at Perachora.
Charlie captures the spirit of Perachora on film.
Prof. Faro lectures in the birthday drizzle at Perachora.
Ally benefits from the informative signage at Perachora.
Early remains at Perachora.
Alex A. dwells in darkness amongst the chthonic deities of Perachora.
A happy group enjoys the sights and beach at Perachora.
Dear sir, it's a mollusk I've found!
Chris shows the group the meaning of birthday arete, braving the cold and shark-infested waters at Perachora
Taking in the fine view of the Corinthian Gulf and Mts. Helikon and Parnassos from the lighthouse at Perachora.
Picnic lunch on the beach at Aigosthena
What happens when you get chocolate cake in the gears of your professor's leatherman.
Jerry presents on the Pentaskouphia plaques at the beach at Aigosthena.
Going to check out the well-preserved fortification circuit at Aigosthena.
Taking notes at Aigosthena.
Group at Aigosthena
Kait peers through an opening in a Byzantine structure built into the fortifications.
Dallis and Alex A. explore Aigosthena.
Charlie, KT, Kait, and Kate luxuriate in the ashlar isodomic masonry at Aigosthena.
The battlefield of Plataia, site of many shenanigans.
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