The inaugural running of the Athens-Nafplio program was a huge success! Ten W&M students participated in the program, some of them Classical Studies majors, while others came from concentrations as diverse as Marketing, History, Pre-med and Computer Science. Aside from the guidance of Program Director Professor Bill Hutton, our students had the opportunity to come to contact with some excellent guest speakers: Guy Sanders, director of the Corinth Excavations, and John Camp, director of excavations in the Athenian Agora, both took time from their busy schedules to give students a personal tour of their sites, and Professor Maria Liston of Waterloo University spoke to students in the bowels of the Agora storerooms about what we can learn about ancient citizens of Athens from their bones.
Other W&M faculty who happened to be in Greece for their own purposes also joined the students at various points and shared their expertise: John Oakley gave a tour of the vase collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Barbette Spaeth led students around the shrine of Demeter at Eleusis and stayed with the group as it went on to visit Delphi. Jessica Paga came along for the trip to Marathon, Brauron and Sounion, and Lily Panoussi also joined the group at Brauron. In addition to many smaller excursions on foot, the program included trips to Sparta, Mystra, Messene, Olympia, Eleusis, and Delphi.
Research was a big part of our program. The projects that students embarked on dealt with antiquity, such as the Asclepius and the Hippocratics, Depiction of Hephaestus in Vase Painting, Mycenaean Burial Practices, Consulting the Oracle at Delphi, The Cult of Iphigeneia, Architecture and Cult in the Erechtheion, and The Parthenon Frieze. But several had to do with post -classical and even modern Greece: The Parthenon in the Middle Ages, Immigration to Greece after WW I, and The Dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, among others.
One of the participants, Caroline Lower writes:
"This summer I spent a month in Greece with nine other students as a part of the maiden voyage of the William and Mary Athens/Nafplio program. The program involved traveling all around Greece and visiting many of the most famous cities from antiquity such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Olympia, and Delphi. We spent the first half of the month based in Nafplio, taking day trips to visit the ancient sites around the Peloponnese and the second half in Athens, visiting sites around Attica. I learned so much this summer and had plenty of fun while doing it since most of our class time was spent either on location or in museums. This is not only a great program for learning about ancient history, culture, and religion, but I enjoyed experiencing Modern Greek culture as well."
Here at the Department we’re very excited with this new opportunity available to our students and we look forward to offering the Program again in the summer of 2015. Meanwhile, next summer the Rome/Pompeii Program will resume with Professor Swetnam-Burland at the helm. Stay tuned for more information on that front!