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Amyklaion Excavation

By Frank S. Ruperto, VI Form

Amyklaion Excavation

Editor’s Note: This project was made possible with the support of the Class of 1968 V Form Fellowship. At their 25th reunion, the Class of 1968 created a fund to provide grants to V Form students for independent study during the school year or, more commonly, during the summer between V and VI Forms. Their intent in establishing this fund was to reward independent thinking, ingenuity, and planning and to encourage the student in exploring non-traditional fields of inquiry or using non-traditional methods of investigation.

My experience at the Amyklaion Excavation program in Sparta, Greece, this past summer enabled me to bring the Classics to life. The Hellenic Education and Research Center offered the program, which consisted of an excavation, archaeological method and practice, on-site documentation and cataloging of artifacts, and Greek epigraphy. 

Amkylaion is located in the southeastern Peloponnese region of Ancient Greece. The site was a ritualistic temple to Apollo and Hyacinthus. Our group sectioned it off into steps for the purposes of excavating and recording our findings in an organized manner. Some of the participants would work on a five-meter wall, using a pickaxe to loosen up the dirt. They would rummage through the loose dirt, shoveling the dirt off the wall. The person sifting through the dirt would separate out any artifacts. Others in our group would clean the newly discovered pieces, using only water and a toothbrush, before separating each piece into different sections by time period, which was determined based on both color and design. These artifacts would eventually go to the laboratory to be marked and recorded. By studying artifacts that were part of daily ancient Greek life, I strengthened my knowledge of Greek culture and my understanding of the ancient world.

Figure 1: Sorting Artifacts Based Off Time Period