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Out of the classroom and into the (ancient) world, by Imaan Jeraj

When I applied to field school at Kallithea for the 2014 research season I was unsure of what to expect as I have never been to a field school before! After two weeks here I can definitely say I am very happy with my decision and feel very enriched in my studies of classical archaeology. More specifically, my favourite activity in the last two weeks has been our trip on June 8th that consisted of visiting three exciting locations in one day.

At Dimini, in the ‘dromos’ of a Mycenaean tholos tombs of the 13th century BCE

We began with a drive down to Nea Anchialos where we had breakfast of pastries (the spanakopita can’t compare to what we eat at home!) before heading to our first stop, the archaeological site at Dimini. It was an unbelievable experience to see in person the things I have been studying for the past three years! It was surreal stepping into the Tholos tomb built in Thessaly by Myceneans in the late Helladic iii A period around 1300 BC when the Mycenean civilization flourished. What I have seen in textbooks and slide shows did not capture what I saw when inside the incredibly well preserved tomb. The experience was enriched by Dr. Haagsma and our teaching assistants being there to explain what we were seeing and explain to us details that would have been missed or unknown to a regular tourist. It was any student of classics dream lesson, actually being inside the tomb you were learning about!

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The ‘tomb room’ at the archaeological museum in Volos.

Our second stop was at the Volos Museum. As someone who really enjoys visiting museums, this was one of my favourite archeological museums I have visited! It was not overwhelmingly large and the artefacts were all laid out in a clear and elegant manner that made the walk through the museum very exciting! There were amazing reconstructions of graves of various types. What captured my attention the most in the museum was the room full of grave stelae. They were wonderfully preserved and an amazing example of ancient paintings unlike anything I have seen before in person! Accompanied with this display were the translations of the inscriptions on the stelae. The poetry of the statements made my imagination run wild with thoughts of these people and their lives in the ancient world!

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Hellenistic painted grave stelae from Demetrias

We finished this perfect day with some time at the beach! We enjoyed the gorgeous view of the ocean and hills around it while eating the mini ice cream bars found everywhere in Greece and which I shamefully struggle to resist daily! My time at Kallithea has taken my love for classics outside of the classroom and into sites and museums which gave me first hand access to the artefacts I have been studying. I can’t wait for what I will learn in my remaining time at field school!

Imaan Jeraj

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