Written report required of the Hahn Scholarship winner from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, as reported in the "Notes and News" feature of the Spring 1996 CAAS Newsletter. An illustrated oral report was also delivered at the Friday evening banquet at the Fall 1995 CAAS meeting in Atlantic City.
"Who are we? Summer Session II! And what's our motto? 'Behind the ropes!'" That pretty much sums up our experiences this summer traveling as students with The American School for Classical Studies in Athens. Headquartered in Athens, we road-tripped for three of those weeks through Crete, the Peloponnesus, and northern Greece and Macedonia...and even though we had many a twelve-hour day, it was not nearly enough time to suit us!
Behind the ropes: let me count the times! Because of the American School's privileged status (as liaison between American Universities and the Greek Ministry of Culture), we were granted access to some sites closed to the general public such as: the 4th century Macedonian tomb of Lysos and Kallikles (a Doric temple buried underground, which we entered through the roof), a tour of the behind-the-scenes renovation of the Propylaia, the subterranean remains of the 6th century Temple of Athena Nike (through a trap-door on the Acropolis), and the Cave of Agia Paraskevi in Nirou Chani, Crete, (where we were the first-ever American students to visit!) and a host of temples at such sites as Bassae, Delphi, Aegina, Nemea, and of course, the Parthenon, Hephaesteum, and Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens.
At any site currently being excavated and/or studied by the American School, we were given private and thoroughly captivating tours and lectures by the archaeologists in charge of the site, such as the Greek Agora, Roman Agora and Acropolis (Athens), Corinth, Tegea, Isthmia, Pylos, Nemea (Peloponnesus), and Knossos, Vronda, Mochlos and Kommos (Crete) - where we met the American Ambassador to Greece (and his dog). Invited scholars expert in other sites regaled us at such places as Tiryns, Lerna, Perachora, Marathon, Sounion, Oropos, Mistra, Thebes, Thessaloniki, Dion, and practically everywhere in Athens. Museum tours, especially in Athens and Attica, were also provided by ASCSA lecturers.
The remainder of the reporting was done by us: each participant adopted two sites as his own, and was responsible for the tour of the site, as well as its introductory lecture, which focused on literary and historical references to that particular site or event. Mine were the Minoan site at Phaistos and the Battle of Sphakteria (425 BCE). You gotta love your site! And there's nothing like being There. A classroom lecture cannot compare with standing in the North Court of a palace aligned with the Kamares Cave on Mt. Ida in Crete, or sailing through the Bay of Navarino, site of a Spartan defeat by the Athenians.
Greece was our classroom: monasteries, castles, fortresses, palaces, temples, sanctuaries, stadia, theaters, monuments, and oh! the tombs! - we saw them all. And the museums! The world's greatest art... and every day held a new adventure: a picnic lunch at Aristotle's School in Mieza, a rain-soaked pilgrimage to Schliemann's grave in Athens, a chance to hold a Linear B Tablet in Thebes, late nights in Blegen Library (a scholar's paradise!), a muddy exploration of the Corycian Cave at Delphi, a run at Olympia...and those of us who were really smart took advantage of being in Greece and planned something spectacular for later: another student and I climbed Mt. Olympos, one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of my life.
Four notebooks and 500 slides later, I can only extend my sincerest thanks to our esteemed director, Daniel B. Levine of the University of Arkansas, who made the trip an absolute delight and gave over twenty lectures of his own; to my fellow participants, each of whom contributed something unique to our adventures and studies; to the American School staff and affiliated scholars, for their gracious hospitality, time and expertise, and to CAAS, for a portion of the Hahn which helped to pay for a summer of study that opened up a whole new world for me.