Clearly, I got behind on the photo journaling since it has been a few days since the last post. The number of photos in need of organization is overwhelming. We went to the Kerameikos, the Acropolis Museum (no pictures allowed), the Epigraphy Museum and National Archaeological Museum. Then we travelled home and have been recovering. So far, I have labeled and organized everything up to the Kerameikos and haven't even downloaded the epigraphy and archaeological museum images. But here are some shots from the Kerameikos. I really love that place and I got a wee bit out of hand with the grave stele shots. It is one of the locations, however, where imagining what it must have looked like leaves me awed.

The Kerameikos was the major cemetery for Athens and sat just outside the city walls near the Diplyion gate. It is also where the Sacred Way (the road to Eleusis) began. There also was the Pompeion, where the procession to Eleusis for the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Panathenaic procession to the Acropolis originated. Remains of the Themistoclean wall run through the site (the one rapidly put together after the Persian invasion of 479 BCE with anything they could find, including column pieces, statue fragments, etc.) and then there is the Street of the Tombs. The Street of Tombs was a road into the city lined with spectacular grave monuments. In situ are replicas of some of the original tombs while the originals are housed in the museum on site. It must have been a bit creepy and a bit awe-inspiring to enter the city through the tombs.

Map of the Kerameikos stolen from another website (

A portion of the Themistoclean Wall.

Archaic grave monument destroyed by the Persians found in the Themistoclean Wall.

Ditto above.

The Propylon and portions of the Pompeion of Hadrian (the closer columns) and the earlier Pompeion.

Altar found along the Sacred Way just outside the walls.

The Street of Tombs.

The Dexileos stele.

Stele of Pamphila and Demetria.

Bull that sat atop the tomb of Dionysos of Kollytos.

Curse "tomb" made of lead and inscribed with names followed by "and anyone else who ever is a fellow-accused or witness in favor of them". Buried in the enclosure of Aristion between 420-410 BCE.

There you have some highlights from the Kerameikos trip. Surely you don't want to see the dozens of grave markers I took pictures of. There are so many. One was identifiably a metic husband and wife, which was very cool for my research so I'll show you, though the statues or lekythoi that stood atop it are no longer there.

Leontion Milesia. Interesting.

Photo Overload: Athens & Piraeus

I failed to post the last 2 days in no small part because of the overwhelming number of photos taken. Sunday was the Acropolis & South Slope, today was Piraeus, Agora, Roman Agora and Hadrian's Library. The trip to the Piraeus museum to see an inscription was mildly painful--the stone is broken in just the wrong place so that only the final 2 letters of the word I was looking at remain. And it is a deep break with no recoverable traces of letter carving. I will need to figure out some other way to prove the restoration. On the positive side,the Piraeus Archaeological Museum has some absolutely beautiful pieces and more people should take the metro down to Piraeus to see it. The bronzes (hidden in a storeroom by the harbor when Sulla invaded in 86 BCE) are spectacular. There are also a number of pieces from shipwrecks that are set up with pieces of the same scene from a different workshop where you can compare quality. And, perhaps more importantly, I saw  graves for 2 metic women that have given me much to think about and kind of make up for the broken inscription. Here are some shots from the last 2 days. I will limit the more well-known sites and pieces in favor of the more unique finds.
The Temple of Asklepias on the South Slope. 

The Erechtheion

Temple of Hephaistos from the East/North slope of the Acropolis.

Odeion of Herodes Atticus.

Cave of Aglauros on the East Slope.

Aphrodite with an attitude (at the Stoa of Attalos, Agora).

Herm statue support with a slightly off-center member.

Ancient potty training for children (7th century BCE).

A votive relief showing a cobbler's shop.

The Horologieon of Andronikos (aka the Tower of the Winds) in the Roman agora.

Cat in the ruin of an Muslim school built by the Ottomans.

Wall of the Library of Hadrian.

A cat living in the Library of Hadrian (there are also turtles).

4th century BCE tomb of a metic man and his sons.

Bronze of Artemis (4th century BCE).

Close-up. Note the eyes are still intact.

Me and the Piraeus Athena.

The facial expression is so wonderful.

Bronze tragic mask from the same cache of bronzes.

Theater of Dionysos: the view from the cheap seats.

Theater of Dionysos: me sitting next to honorary seating from across the orchestra.

That is All I'll post for now. After breakfast, we are climbing the Aereopagus and Pnyx, then we head to the Kerameikos where I have another appointment to photograph some ostraka. This afternoon is the Acropolis museum. Tomorrow (our last day), we go to the Archaeological Museum and the Epigraphy Museum. 

Akrokorinth and the Return to Athens

Akrokorinthos is the giant mountain jutting out of the earth above the city of ancient city of Corinth. From the time of the Kypselids (6th century BCE) until the 19th century under the Ottomans, the fortress on the hill was occupied. It is pretty formidable and pretty difficult to ascend. As my friend Alex pointed out, it seems a bit far fetched given the rigorous nature of the ascent that the so-called "temple prostitutes" at the temple of Aphrodite on Akrokorinth were getting much action (my issue with the existence of temple prostitutes in antiquity is a whole afferent post). Here is what I mean:

At the foot of the climb is a remnant of an Ottoman fountain with Arabic. It has been in use for centuries, as one can tell from the worn marble. 

I will admit to cheating on getting up the hill. We were about 5 minutes into the climb when a team of Aussie archaeologist drove by in their work trip and drove us about 3/4 of the way up before they had to turn off to go to their site. Though we were very grateful to get to the top faster, there was little solace at the first of the three walls:

This is me before we started climbing the site. I did not look nearly so chipper afterwards. 

One of the coolest things about the site is that you can see the layers of building over the 2500 years of usage. The large lighter colored blocks in the above shot are the 6th century walls. Above that are then the Venetian walls from the 17th and then the Ottoman walls on top. 

After hours of necessary recovery time, we had one last dinner with the tiny remnant of the excavation team (4 of us) and then proceeded to go to the platia for some cheap table wine (2.50 euro per half liter) and watch the activity--there was a festival for St. Paul yesterday. You may recall (if you ever learned it) that he visited Corinth once and gave a speech from the ancient bema. 

Anyway, we came into Athens today and proceeded to check into our hotel right near the Acropolis museum, then go get lunch. I also needed to invest in a sun hat:

Also, I have purchased the first of what may be many cheap ancient replica souvenirs:

You all know you want one.

Tomorrow, back to the Acropolis for the rest of the site and then the south slope. 

Kenchreai Days 3 & 4

Day 3 was me sorting through boxes of materials from a previous excavation in the basement of the Isthmia museum. On my break, I toured the site. The theater is overgrown by grass and blocked off and the temple of Poseidon is a wee bit in ruins, but the mosaic at the Roman bath is great. Here are some shots.

This morning, there was no work...well, there was work, but it was cleaning trash, so instead, we went swimming off the site (where I climbed around on the submerged ruins) and then went to visit the Ancient Corinth museum and site. It is NICE.
The Peirene Fountain.

The theater of Corinth with Akrokorinthos in the distance.

From the Roman skene of the of the theater--Heracles and the Stymphalian birds.

Athena and Dionysos from an archaic gate.

A Roman soldier's tomb.

An infant dedication to the Askleipion.

Athena holding an owl of wisdom.

A seated donkey statue. Apuleius anyone?

The Muse of Tragedy.

Statue in the remains of the Stoa of Corinth.

The 6th century temple of Apollo with the mountain behind.

Tomorrow, we are climbing the mountain. Wish us luck.