Sunday April 12
Sites Visited: Tiryns (Mycenaean Bronze Age citadel), Lerna (Early Helladic corridor house), Mantinea (Classical-Hellenistic city-state)
Where did we stay tonight?: Tripolis
Leaders: KT Holroyd and Ben Kahn
Early this morning we all had to pack up our bags and leave the beautiful town of Nafplion. After arriving at the site of Tiryns, we took a short quiz and began our tour of this Mycenaean palace. We were given a thorough and enthusiastic tour from Dr. Ulrich Thaler, a resident expert on the site. His excitement and interest were thoroughly appreciated by us so early in the morning. Dr. Thaler guided us through numerous gates and to the upper citadel where we entered the megaron; we even acted out the way Mycenaean citizens would have approached their wanax (or king). He got great enjoyment from revealing to us his unpublished theory about how individuals would have experienced the space as they moved through the throne room. We spent almost two more hours walking through the lower citadel and exploring the remains of the settlement before we had to say goodbye to our friendly German guide.
After a brief bus ride we had a beautiful picnic lunch outside of the site of Lerna. Lucky for us, the main attraction of the site—the House of Tiles—was open for exploration (a rare treat). We explored the large building where thousands of tiles were found along with sealings that indicate that it was one of the first examples of a complex, organized administration on mainland Greece. We soon took off for a bus ride through the hilly Peloponnesian landscape, allowing most of us to catch up on some much needed sleep. However, four of the boys took the opportunity to set up a mini-casino at the table in the back of the bus.
We stopped at the town of Mantinea and took a short break to admire a strange church built, oddly enough, in 1972. Although we had all been mourning the loss of the peak sanctuary hikes we had enjoyed in abundance on Crete, our sorrows were soon remedied with a brisk walk up to the top of a hill overlooking the scenic Mantinean plain. From this viewpoint we were able to get a sense of what an average Greek polis would have looked like, set in the midst of mountains in a fertile plain. Sarah gave us a brief lecture on the history of Mantinea and we all walked down the hill to get a look at what little remains on the site.
At the end of the long day we got on the bus one last time and were taken to Tripolis where we slept for the night.
Through the formidable gateway at the citadel of Tiryns:
Impressions of Lerna:
Day 22 Photo Gallery: