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Day ‘Tripping’ Up to Site by Alisha Karim and Iliana Pappas


We quickly understood why the village is called “beautiful view”! Pictured: Alisha Karim (L) and Karl Racine (R) at Kastro Kallithea.

During our first week of field school, we took a field trip up to Kastro Kallithea to see the site for ourselves. For most of us, the biggest challenges were the scorching sun and the vicious pounari thorns that cover the hilltop, but for some of us, the difficulties were a little longer lasting. On the way down from site, Alisha tripped, fell, and sprained her ankle. We made sure the damage wasn’t too serious (and the doctors let her keep the X-rays!), but the past few weeks have involved copious amounts of ibuprofen and icepacks. Walking up the hill to the Kastro Kallithea site certainly proved to be a challenge for many of us, so it’s hard to imagine doing it every day like the original occupants would have had to do.


Alisha’s ankle X-Ray (no breaks!)

Being anthropology students, we began thinking about how the walk up the hill might have impacted the lives of people and animals living on site. Although the people of Kastro Kallithea were probably used to going up and down the hill, it would still put a lot of strain on the body, especially if they had their animals grazing at the base of the hill – they would have had to climb up and down to move them. If there was any trade done in the area, which is highly plausible, they would be going up and down the hill frequently and most likely with fairly heavy loads. Studying bones can tell us a lot about the lifestyle that the inhabitants of Kastro Kallithea would have led; we can see what they ate, where they spent most of their lives, and even what sorts of activities they did on a daily basis. Climbing up the hill once gave us an insider view of what the inhabitants of Kastro Kallithea probably did every day.


Iliana Pappas (L) and Alisha Karim (R) learning about bones.




Kastro Kallithea Fieldschool 2016 Excursion to the archaeological museum in Volos


Archaeological Field Schools 2016. Info Session

Information Session

Kastro Kallithea 2015 Field School Blog nr. 7: Waste not, want not: reuse at Building 10 by Chelsee Newman and Kristen Millions

During our short time at Narthaki working on the Kastro Kallithea archaeological project, it has come to our attention that the Greek people have a particular penchant for two of the “three Rs”: reuse and recycle. In our study of building 10 we have seen the reflection of a culture that places value on materials and gives them new life after their primary use has expired.

Kristen 1

Drawing of an Unguentarium

The uguentaria, for example, are pieces that the authors, Chelsee and Kristen, worked with on numerous occasions. Uguentaria were used in Thessalian antiquity as vessels for storing perfume, and had very thin necks, large bodies, and thin bases. In Building 10, third-five were found in Unit D alone. Though these vessels are identified in the archaeological record as perfume bottles, analyses from Building 10 suggested that they may have been used as spice holders as well. Thus, we see evidence that something that may have lost its primary use could be reimagined into something with equal use-ability.

Building 10 itself was even reused and given new life after its first building phase had run its course. A second building phase is evidenced in the wall structure that was built over top of an existing basin in the courtyard area. Perhaps the inhabitants realized that the amount of pre-existing space wasn’t necessary and they closed off the southern quadrant of the home. A Hopper-Rubber mill grinding stone was found, and it’s thought to have been converted into a saddle quern. This is not only suggestive of a smaller household (with not as much grain needing to be produced) but also another example of item rejuvenation in Greek antiquity.

Kristen 2    Kristen 3








From a North American perspective, we’re entrenched in a life of materialism with an attitude of “why have old when you can have brand new?” Our attitude is so different from that of the Greek people, both in antiquity and modernity, and it’s fascinating to be privy to such a different cultural perspective.

Kastro Kallithea 2015 Field School Blog nr. 6: Footsteps into the Past by Torri Hanson, Jessica Patras and Lindsay Chisholm

Learning at the University of Alberta is an amazing experience! The classes are interesting and the professors are knowledgeable but neither can truly compare to the understanding and experience a student can acquire while at field school. It is one thing to have a professor lecture about ancient civilizations and artefacts. However, it is an unfathomable difference to be able to see those settlements in person and touch pieces of history with your hands.

Torri 1

On our tour of the excavated site, Kastro Kallithea, we learned that the name of the site in Greek translated to “beautiful view” and that statement could not be truer. The site rests on the top of a mountain from which we could see Mount Olympus and the Pagasitic Gulf on the horizon. Although a local prickly bush (called punari) has completely taken over it was almost overwhelming to be able to walk through the actual streets and avenues of the once inhabited settlement.

Kastro Kallithea was not the only site we have the privilege of seeing while here. As students of the field school we were taken on weekly excursions to other locations around Thessaly. This allowed us to compare and contrast Kastro Kallithea with other regional sites and to experience the abundant culture around us.

Torri 2

Our first excursion was spent in the current city of Farsala, which was built over the ancient city of Pharsalos. The idea of newer settlements being reoccupied is a familiar cultural phenomenon in the area. It is seen on a small scale within a house to the rebuilding of an entire structure such as the wall fortification at the Acropolis of Pharsalos.

Torri 3

The second excursion day was spent at the archaeological site of Dimini! Here we toured a Neolithic settlement as well as an amazing Tholos Tomb that was constructed during the Mycenaean time. Being able to see something previously learned about in textbooks was eye opening. It was stunning and awe inspiring to stand in something so ancient and sacred.

But the excursions aren’t just learning about ancient civilizations, they’re also about enjoying the local flavours and having fun!

Torri 5

Kastro Kallithea Field School 2015 Blog nr 5: Kaitlyn Skinner and Morgan Kostiuk’s blog

In this field school we are learning how the post-excavation process of a site unfolds. When artefacts are discovered during a dig, they are put in bags with find numbers to reference back to later, and it is our job to analyze those finds to make sense of what was going on during antiquity at Kallithea.

We are learning how to interpret the small pieces that make up the big picture and how to put that into context. For example, one fragment of pottery can help us deduce what type of vessel it came from, and then we might gain some insight into what the room it was found in was used for. One minuscule seed has to be floated and picked out of residue with tweezers and a magnifying glass so that we can guess what a diet or environment may have consisted of. Even after careful analysis with hands in the dirt, pottery-covered fingers, permanently crossed eyes after staring into the eyes of faces on coins, we still may never know what was going on for sure. Such is the life of archaeology – that is one thing we know for sure. We always have to assume that there is more information to chase, and more dirt to sort through. All kinds of variables can confuse the data that we have – like animals, natural disaster, roots, and even the excavation process itself.

Kaitlyn Morgan 1

Morgan: I am an anthropology major, and archaeology is a huge part of that. Now that I have seen the finds, I’m motivated to pursue archaeology further and experience where the finds actually come from, before they get put in a bag. If I wasn’t interested in faunal remains before, I am now – because I got to dissect a whole sheep head here.


Kaitlyn Morgan 2    Kaitlyn Morgan 4   Kaitlyn Morgan 3


Kaitlyn: I am a history major, and had next to zero archaeology experience before coming here. Learning about everything that goes into a post-excavation process has been so inspiring for me because I see that there are so many more options than to just dig. There is a place here for a little ‘ol history major.

Kaitlyn: I am a history major, and had next to zero archaeology experience before coming here. Learning about everything that goes into a post-excavation process has been so inspiring for me because I see that there are so many more options than to just dig. There is a place here for a little ‘ol history major.

We both feel that we will now have an advantage in any workplace because we have had this amazing hands-on experience. Seeing and experiencing the culture while studying it in an apothiki puts everything into perspective that we’ve learned in university to date. Now, if only we had a time machine to go back and see what exactly was going on in building 10. A big magnifying glass will have to do.

Kaitlyn Morgan 5                     Kaitlyn Morgan 6

The Kastro Kallithea Field School Blog no. 4. The Necessity of Documentation Through Photography in an Archaeological Setting. By: Alexandria Garcia and Rashmani Chakrabarty.

Alex Rashmani 1

Pictured above is Alexandria Garcia photographing a lamp fragment.

Photography is a key aspect in the documentation process of classical archeological sites and personally, it was one of our favourite modules to learn at the Kastro Kallithea Field School. Archeology is about preserving the past, but unfortunately, it is a destructive practice. Despite our best attempts the handling of excavated artifacts increasingly damages them. Photography allows us to preserve these artifacts digitally, so that we can have an image to refer to when studying them. Furthermore, often artifacts are excavated in certain countries where they cannot be legally removed; this is the case for the Kastro Kallithea site. In these situations, photography becomes essential in the study of artifacts abroad.

Alex Rashmani 2

Pictured above is Gino Canlas demonstrating a technique in which to photograph artifacts from an areal viewpoint.

It is not enough to only photograph artifacts, as there are thousands of finds per site. Imagine trying to find one lamp nozzle image in the numerous images taken of each item. In short, a rather difficult and time consuming task. For this reason, we further document every image into two logs. There is a written log, where we summarize the total number of images taken for each profile of an artifact. Additionally, there is a digital log where every image is documented. As a student, we filled out the summarized log, while our instructor was responsible for the upkeep of the digital log. It is crucial to not only document images of artifacts on the camera in question but also ones that have been deleted. This is done to avoid confusion over a jump in the numbers on the camera’s memory card. Therefore, images whether deleted or kept are still accounted for within both the written and digital photo logs.

Alex Rashmani 3

Pictured above is Rashmani Chakrabarty using plasticine to arrange the artefact for capturing different profiles.

In addition to the many other methods of preservation, photography is essential in the preservation and studying of artifacts as well as an interesting and informative module. We had a great teacher, Gino Canlas, who taught us to think outside the box when photographing, as you can in the second picture.

Alex Rashmani 4

Pictured above is the summarized written photo log.