Learning in Greece
This is a project blog communicating with students about my trip.
Janice Friesen
Information Technologist (IT)
Austin, TX

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Isthmea and Volunteering at a Dig
By Janice Friesen    July 20, 2007 -- 01:24 AM

Isthmea was the one of four sites that held athletic games, like the Olympic Games that are every four years.  It is the town that is right next to what is now the canal, but there wasnít a canal back then (isthmus means a narrow land-bridge connecting two continents or land masses).  People came all over to compete and to watch the competition. On the archaeological site is a huge temple for Poseidon who the games were dedicated to. I have decided not to write a lot of facts about the games because I would just be looking on the Internet (and in books) and you can do that yourself from wherever you are.  I will just tell you my impressions from visiting the site with Tim Gregory, the archaeologist who is working there from the Ohio State University.

First of all, Tim was lecturing some students who were working at the site with him for the last 4-6 weeks and so I asked them how a student gets to go on a dig like this.  They said that the best way is to go to a University that offers that sort of thing and to get to know the person in the Classics or History department who does archaeological digs and show your interest.  Tim said that there are fewer and fewer places in the mediterranian where you can volunteer to be a part of a dig, but there are many opportunities in North America and in other places.
for more info
He said that the American School of Classical Studies and Antiquities (
ASCSA summer program) advertises, so sometimes you can just keep your eyes out for opportunities online, but the best way is to know someone who digs.

About the Dig
McAlester Study Abroad

The archaeological site at Isthmea is huge and there are several parts to it.  Tim showed us what he has been working on and explained it to us.  I learned that sometimes digging brings up more questions than answers.  Tim showed us an area where he found very different things than he was expecting to find.  Before he dug he thought he would find monumental buildings because it was very nearby a huge temple and also the site of the games, but instead what he found were walls made from inferior materials that created a bunch of small rooms.  He has been analyzing how the walls join each other as well as looking at the potshards and other things found at the site in order to figure out what these buildings were used for.  

The second thing he showed us was the Roman Baths.  This was very impressive.  Here I saw the largest mosaic floor that I have seen.  It was impressive.  He also explained the very complicated water system that was in place that provided different temperatures of water and heated the rooms.  Under the floors there were piles of tile that held up the floor to create space for hot air.  Then there were vents in the walls and a whole system so that the heat would travel from a fireplace under the floor to heat water and also heat the rooms.  There was also a place where the water would drain out.  

Today is my last day here in Corinth. It has been SOOOOOooooo hot that I will be glad to go somewhere that I hope is cooler.  We will be in Vienna for a week.  Unless I get requests I will not be blogging from there, so tomorrow morning will be my last blog posting.  

p.s.  While looking for links with information about going on a dig I came across this
awesome site which is a tour of the Athenean Agora.  If you donít think you will get a chance to come, or you donít want to endure the Greek heat, this is one pretty cool way to see what is there!

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Comments: Add New Comments
By Sister Susie      July 22, 2007 -- 02:48 PM
I may be one of the only one interested, but if you have any good pictures from Vienna, I think you should post them.

By Ken      July 20, 2007 -- 04:59 PM
It sounds like your are having a wonderful trip! The technology that they had was certainly limited, but look at what they did! Sally and I hope to visit Greece someday.