For the next five days there are many tasty intellectual treats to tantalize the discerning archaeologists and fellow travellers residing in Athens. The themes of these events range from Minoan Crete, to Hellenistic Miletos, to the conservation of old photographs in the Historical Archive of the Hellenic Archaeological Service

The Harbor and Agora of Hellenistic Miletos

Let’s start with the Institute’s Lecture on Wednesday, the 18th at 7:30 pm in the Library of the Institute. Lana Radloff, this year’s Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow at CIG, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During her fellowship in Athens she is undertaking research for her doctoral dissertation. Her lecture entitled Ideology, Identity and Power: Harbor-Agora Connectivity at Hellenistic Miletos” will examine one aspect of this study.

Sacked by the Persians in 494 BC, Miletos was rebuilt on a regular orthogonal grid, prospering once again in the 4th century BCE and Hellenistic period, when extensive building took place around the Lion Harbor and North and South Markets. Coinciding with the rise of the Macedonian kingdoms after the death of Alexander the Great, the fact that building focused on harbors and marketplaces demonstrates their fundamental role as physical spaces. In order to establish Asiatic cities as military and economic power bases, Alexander’s successors exchanged royal patronage for civic goodwill at cities such as Miletos. Consequently, urban environments became a mechanism for negotiating socio-political relationships between the Hellenistic kings and the local inhabitants. In terms of connectivity, Radloff views the agora and the harbor as liminal spaces that function as nodes within the ‘maritime cultural landscape,’ connected with each other, the broader settlement, sea, and outside world. Drawing on scholarship from urbanism, the maritime environment, and social space theory, she will examine the harbor-city matrix of Hellenistic Miletos in order to explore the physical relationship between the agoras at Miletos and the role its harbors played as nodes of connectivity and separation in the negotiation of socio-political relationships within the city and between the city and the outside world.

And you thought that you knew everything about Miletos!

Prepalatial and Protopalatial Petras Revealed

This weekend at the Danish Institute in Athens will be the Second International Symposium on the excavations and study at the archaeological site of Petras outside of Siteia in eastern Crete. Those of you who follow this blog religiously will know that this is where I spend a part of summer digging. The excavations and this Symposium are organized by Dr. Metaxia Tsipopoulou, Director Emerita of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. The Symposium’s subject is “Petras – Siteia. The Pre- and Proto-palatial Cemetery in Context.” There will be 24 papers given by international experts in Minoan studies. These papers will discuss both the different classes of evidence recovered during the excavations of the Petras cemetery as well as similar evidence from contemporary cemeteries in eastern Greek. In this way important comparisons will be made as well as to highlight the contrasting differences among the Minoan settlements.

Besides papers by Dr. Tsipopoulou one can hear Professors Philip Betancourt, Carl Knappett, Yiannis Papadatos, Efteris Planton, Ilse Schoep. Sevi Triantaphillou, James Muhly, Heidi Dierckx and Giorgos Vavouranakis; not to mention Gerald Cadogan, Anna Simanddiraki-Grimshaw, Thomas Brogan, Eleni Nodarou, Efi Nikita, Olga Krzyszkowska, Alesandra Giumlia-Mair, Evi Margaritis and David Rupp.

The lectures will begin on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th at 09:30 and end around 19:30 each day. The Danish Institute is located in the Plaka District on Plateia Ayias Aikaterinis at Herefondas 14.

Conserving Old Photographs

The 2014/15 Lecture Program of the Syllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiologikis Yperesias continues this coming Monday, the 16th. There will be a lecture by Manto Soteropoulou, an archaeological conservator in the Directorate of Conservation in the Ministry of Culture. In her lecture in Greek entitled «Η συντήρηση των φωτογραφιών στο Ιστορικό Αρχείο της Αρχαιολογικής Υπηρεσίας στη Διεύθυνση Εθνικού Αρχείου Μνημείων κατα το ετος 2009» she will explore the process of the conservation of old black and white photographs that have been damage in various ways. She under took this work at the Historical Archive in 2009. A collection of photographs taken in the 1970s of the neoclassical style houses of Athens had been damaged while in storage before the Historical Archive was set in its present specialized building at Psaromylingou 22. The lecture is at 18:30 at the Historical Archive on the cusp between the Kerameikos and Psyrri Districts. The Thesion Train Station is the closest Metro. Come and learn more about what happens at an archive!

So, if the harsh Athenian winter is getting you down and you have done your Carnaval thing, then warm up your mind by attending these lectures and the symposium.

David Rupp