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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


Women in Ancient Greek Literature

by Suha Choi, Michael Ferlisi, Riley Jahnle, Liam Mulvihill, Lauren Tran, Arden Williams, and Arjun Yerabothu

Women in Ancient Greek Literature

Instructor’s Note: During the second and third windows in Greek II, students read two ancient texts that offer a window into the lives of ancient Greek women of the Archaic period: the Hymn to Demeter and fragments of verses by the female poet Sappho. For the assignment on Sappho, students were asked to read, scan, and recite a fragment of Sappho’s poetry and then to imagine the complete poem this fragment might have once lived in, and compose a poem in five Sapphic stanzas in English. For the Hymn to Demeter students were asked to translate and analyze a portion of the hymn and, in a close reading of the text, to show how it contrasted with themes of heroism and masculine forms of agency found in Homer’s Iliad.

Part I: Sapphic Stanzas

Fragment 34
ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν
ἂψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος
ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπη

Suha Choi, Fragment 34:
stars around the beautiful moon
hide back their luminous form
whenever all full she shines
on the earth leaking droplets of

clouds around the beautiful sun
cover up its hazy form
whenever all out she shines
on the earth, bringing drops, oh so

rocks around the beautiful pond
provide a cozy frame 
whenever I pass by she reflects 
my face and holds liquids of

soils around the beautiful lily
gently hug her in warmth
whenever she blossoms
into birth, infusing dues of

bad days around one good one
though mundane and ordinary
whenever it comes to me
I rejoice, thanking even the bad for 
one beauty at last.