Location: Kalamata, Greece
Participation in the excavation of the Ancient city of Thouria near Kalamata in Messenia (Peloponnese-Greece).
A favorite of students from around the world, the Thouria Excavation Program started in 2011 and will be taking place in 2019 for the ninth summer in a row.
Thouria was the Homeric Antheia according to Pausanias or Aipeia according to Strabo. Excavations have revealed an impressive Mycenean necropolis consisting of at least fifteen tholos tombs. Since the eighth century BCE, when the Lacedaemonians dominated Messenia, the area acquired the name Thouria and it became the most important “perioikos polis” of western Messenia. Thouria is mentioned by Thucydides in his account of the dramatic revolt of the Messenian helots against Sparta in 464 BCE. The inhabitants of Thouria sided with the helots and suffered the consequences. After the foundation of Messene in 369 BCE, Thouria gained her independence from Sparta and in later times, she was given back to the Spartans by Augustus. The excavations at the Classical-Hellenistic site begun in 2007 by the 38th Ephorate of Pre-historic and Classical Antiquities under the Director of the Ephorate Dr. Xeni Arapogianni. The excavations so far have brought to light significant remains of public and sacred buildings.
Students will work at the excavation during week days from 7.30 am to 12:30 pm. This will include excavation, archaeological method and practice, pottery cleaning and archaeological drawing. In the afternoon selected literary texts and inscriptions on the history of Messenia will be read. Students who have no knowledge of Ancient Greek will read the texts of inscriptions in translation. If there are enough students enrolled with knowledge of Ancient Greek several Ancient Greek literary texts and inscriptions will be read in the original for those students under the guidance of qualified instructor(s). Also, pottery drawing will take place in the afternoons along with lectures on the history and archaeology of Messenia, as well as on the excavation technique and how historical evidence is extracted from archaeological objects. Scheduled fieldtrips will take students to sites of great archaeological and historical importance such as Ancient Sparta, the archaeological site of Ancient Messene, Ancient Olympia and other sites, including the archaeological museum of Messenia, located in Kalamata.
From Kalamata there is frequent bus connection to all parts of the Peloponnese for weekend travel and it is a 2.5 hours drive from Athens with bus connection several times daily.
Period(s) of Occupation: Mycenean, late Classical, Hellenistic and Roman
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full length of program
Room and Board Arrangements
Students will share furnished apartments or hotel rooms in Kalamata near the beach. The program fee also includes snacks that will be taken to the excavation site for the break that will take place ca. 11am.
Pausanias, Guide to Greece, Book 4
C. Roebuck, 1941. A History of Messenia from 369 to 146 B.C.
N. Luraghi, 2004. Helots and their Masters in Messenia and Lakonia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures.
N. Luraghi, 2008. The Ancient Messenians: Constructions of Ethnicity and Memory.
P. J. Rhodes, 2010. A History of the Classical Greek World.
S. Alcock, 2002. Archaeologies of the Greek Past, Landscape, Monuments, and Memories, 132-175.
P. Cartledge, 2001. Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300-362 B.C.
P. Themelis, 2002. Messene, recent discoveries (sculpture), in Excavating Classical Culture (eds. M. Stamatopoulou, M. Yeroulanou), 229-243.