Study Abroad archaeology Aegean Sea

Archaeology in the Aegean Sea

Course Details, Dates and Costs for this intensive field course to be held in the summer of 2010:

3 Week Course – €3,600       
Sunday, June 20th to Sunday, July 11th, 2010.

During this 3-week intensive field course, weekends are free so participants may visit other sites of great archaeological, historicall and geological importance in the area: Santorini (Thera), Delos, Naxos, Antiparos and Mykonos.

Enrolling in a variety of diving activities, not included in the price, is also an option for weekends. Paros is an ideal base for further ventures in the south Aegean archipelago due to its central location and frequent boat or flight connections.

Price includes tuition fees, field sessions, site visits, diving and snorkelling equipment during the course, welcome and farewell meals as well as accommodation on Paros in single occupancy private studios starting from Monday, June 21st, to Saturday, July10th 2010.

Study Abroad Maritime Courses - Despotiko, South Bay
An ancient well in very shallow water, off Antiparos.

Course Schedule:
the schedule offered below is a rough guide to daily activities; the actual daily programme may be often modified due to weather or other local conditions. The day typically starts at 09:30 and ends at 16:30, Monday to Friday, with a short break at noon for a snack or a light meal. All studios provided have a veranda overlooking fields, gardens or the sea, a fridge, a/c and cooking facilities as well as easy access to shops in the village of Drios, so evening meals and breakfast can be prepared. Participants may also eat at local taverns that provide excellent locally produced tasty food at about 8-15 Euros per meal. Our base on Golden Beach is 1km away from the studios which makes for a pleasant 10 min. seaside walk.

Week I:  Sunday, June 20th to Friday June 25th, 2010

  • Sunday, June 20th: Latest arrivals in Athens, overnight accommodation may be arranged in the older, quaint part of Athens, the Plaka, right under the Acropolis –participants may choose to arrive a few days earlier should they wish to visit very important museums and sites in Athens, like the New Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, Corinth, Mycenae or Delphi- please let us know in advance, so we can offer help and suggestions.

  • Monday, June 21st: Participants may also arrive in the very early hours on this day and travel directly to Piraeus and board the ferry to Paros, departing from Piraeus, 07:25 - Arrival in Parikia, port of Paros, at 11:45. Meeting of students and staff, walk around Parikia, visit the excellent Paros Museum: one of few displaying original Neolithic, Cycladic, Archaic and Classical sculptures, then travel to Drios / Golden Beach. Accommodation arrangements. Early evening welcome meal on the beach in Drios. Visit nearby structures carved out on foreshore bedrock.

  • Tuesday, June 22nd: Course overview and highlights. Local orientation; basic information about social activities, festivals, the environmental park of Naoussa, libraries, walks, shops, maps and nautical charts of Paros, Antiparos, Naxos and surrounding islands. Introduction to theoretical and practical basics of free-diving/snorkelling, scuba diving and Aegean marine life, its significance in ancient cultures. Reference to ancient marine and maritime practices. Short basic course in shallow-water diving for beginners, afternoon checkout and refresher dives for those already certified.

  • Wednesday, June 23rd: Marine Archaeology in the Mediterranean Sea: A review covering early ventures to contemporary underwater archaeological methods. Snorkelling session over controversial ancient foreshore structures. Underwater photography for beginners. Results. Discussion.

  • Thursday, June 24th: Physical and physiological limitations on archaeology underwater: pressure, temperature, density, refractive index, waves, winds, tides, decompression sickness, hypothermia, nitrogen narcosis, vision, communication restrictions, data recording. Short boat trip, with guided underwater tour, dive in small nearby cove. Site survey theory and practice on contemporary wreck remains or on mock, reconstructed “ancient site” in shallow water. Definition of a site; dating methods; fixed structures submerged by chance or purpose. Sea level changes, shoreline migration and alluvial deposits significant in locating settlements and harbours. Introduction to theory and methods used for large scale underwater search and survey: archive, map and chart study; seafloor search; side-scan sonar, GPS, plotter, sub-bottom profiler, proton magnetometer, echo-sounder, remotely operated cameras and vehicles. Site survey tools and methods we get to use: pre-disturbance survey; compass, sextant, theodolite, transects and grids; measuring tapes; rules; plumb-line; spirit level; depth gauge; metal detector, video and stills recording, photo mosaics construction.

  • Friday, June 25th: Sea excursion to Saliagos, a small island with one of the oldest known Aegean Neolithic settlements ~4,300 - 3,700 BC
  • Short lecture and Paros Museum visit: The Neolithic sequence in the Cyclades; the "Saliagos Culture"; the Saliagos excavation and results; the Lady of Saliagos; the very significant "marine" element of the culture; dive or snorkel over underwater sea-wall connecting Paros to Antiparos, a bridge perhaps and fish weir? Walk on island and snorkel in surrounding shallows; location of sea-walls and structures by use of aerial photography, marine charts, GPS, echo-sounder and visual search of surrounding shallows.
  • Importance of aerial photography and Google Earth satellite images.
  • Weekend: Saturday, June 26th & Sunday, June 27th: Free for diving excursions on unique wrecks and underwater caves around Paros or visits to Thera, Delos, Naxos, Antiparos, e.g. visit the famous Akrotiri site on Santorini (Thera), explore the ancient city of Akrotiri with amazing frescoes, sanitation systems and three storey buildings, breathtaking view of the pyroclastic cone-caldera which erupted ~ 1600 B.C. and preserved the Akrotiri site by covering it in volcanic ash.
  • Study Abroad Maritime Courses - Despotiko, South Bay
    Amphorae, the crate of antiquit - invaluable tool for dating wrecks.

    Week II : Monday, June 29th to Friday, July 2nd, 2010

    • Monday, June 28th: Ancient shipbuilding and searching for wrecks. Shipbuilding methods; shell first; keel first; tenon and mortise joints; nails; ballast; anchors; warships and cargo ships.Visit to traditional boatyard. Formation and interpretation of shipwreck sites; silting and scouring; length of immersion; timber deterioration; organic degradation; marine growth. Searching for wrecks: The quest for time capsules of history. Dive on local reef, in the Paros – Naxos channel on an early 1980’s wreck.
    • Tuesday, June 29th: Theoretical and practical in situ mock search for shipwreck sites or jetsam; data recording and application of methods covered during dry sessions: site position; grid; underwater photography; sketching, drawing, GIS recording. Marine Archaeology Expeditions in the Aegean Sea: A personal account of expeditions and experiences in the Aegean Sea; a presentation with slides, charts and videos of work with Peter Throckmorton, National Geographic, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and several research institutions and universities.

    • Wednesday, June 30th: Legal aspects of u/w archaeology in Greece :The new law passed by the Greek Parliament on Oct.18th 2005, regarding diving; the significance of amphorae; maritime transport and traditional boat hulls still in use. The importance of amphora typology in dating; indestructible crates of antiquity; survival of neck/handle and bottom portions; stamps; typological dating for wrecks; maritime routes inference. Snorkel and dive over caique remains that bear resemblance to ancient wrecks .

    • Thursday, July 1st: Wreck site exploration, hazards to navigation: Visits by boat and snorkelling around rock outcrops and reefs surrounded by wreck-remains of different periods. Position fixing, site recording, underwater photography and wreck site database creation. The highly important role of the Department of Underwater Antiquities in Greece. Marine protected areas with cultural and archaeological remains.

    • Friday, July 2nd: Sea excursion to Pandieronissia, a group of small islands, off Paros, with Neolithic and Archaic findings.Account of discovery of the site; artefacts; reports to authorities involved; Neolithic and Archaic findings on the shoreline and in the shallows; eustatic sea level changes and tectonic movement in the area. The value of aerial photography in coastal and marine archaeology; pre-disturbance survey and photo mosaic construction; discussion and evaluation of survey; comparison with Saliagos.

    • Weekend Saturday July 3rd & Sunday July 4th: Free for extra diving excursions, visits to Thera, Delos, Naxos and Antiparos e.g. weekend day trip by boat to Delos: Unique archaeological site on uninhabited island in the centre of the Cyclades. Visit the exceptional museum on Delos and walk through the city streets and remains that once housed 30,000 people, open for exploring on foot. Hike up Mount Kynthos. By fast commercial boat,usually 3 hours on Delos, and 3 hours on Mykonos.
    Study Abroad Maritime Courses - Despotiko, South Bay
    Aerial photo of shallows showing structure foundations we visit by snorkeling.

    Week III: Monday, July 5th to Friday, July 9th 2010

    • Monday, July 5th: The rock-channels controversy: ancient ship slipways or constructed for viticulture? In any case, very impressive structures of pharaonic dimensions
      • Basic survey of these intriguing parallel and perpendicular to the coastline channels carved out on limestone foreshores.
      • Locality, dimensions, slope and direction. Photography, correlation to surrounding topography. Discussion of possible functions and sea-level changes.
      • Human presence in the Cyclades, marble quarrying and export throughout the years.
      • Visit to the ancient marble quarries both underground and on the surface.

    • Tuesday, July 6th: Excavation and conservation techniques. Guest lecturers.
      • Excavation tools and techniques: familiarization with some hardware and methods: hand fanning, airlift, water-dredge, water-jet and lifting methods. Dry and wet classes practice.
      • Conservation and reconstruction of artefacts: Natural preservation; effects of: water movement; scouring; Teredo worm; oxygen; sulphate reducing bacteria; marine growth; temperature; deterioration of organic and inorganic materials; electrolysis; corrosion; pitting.
      • Treating waterlogged wood and artefacts of differing materials; x-rays and other non-destructive investigative methods; desalination; chemical cleaning; reduction; polyethylene glycol treatment.
      • The fight against entropy; cost; duration; conservation and storage responsibilities.

    • Wednesday, July 7th: Boat excursion to Antiparos and Despotiko.
      • Boat excursion to coastal sanctuary site under excavation on Despotiko Island, off the south coast of Antiparos. Presentation of the excavation project. Ancient coastline.
      • Exploration by snorkelling of an ancient well, tombs, walls, structures and the mysterious parallel channels carved out in adjacent shallows.

    • Thursday, July 8th: Further survey theory and practice on sunken vessel (caique) in shallow water.
      • Survey tools and methods: aqua level; chain transects; primary survey framework; grids; datum; direct survey system (DSM); triangulation / trilateration; sketching; drawing; topside and underwater photography: lenses, film, lighting, photo mosaic construction, merging of underwater photos and video techniques.
      • Surveying in teams, integration of results, debriefing. Discussion and evaluation of observations and practical problems encountered during the survey.

    • Friday, July 9th: Ancient port construction; field work on submerged structures, port and harbour construction; breakwaters; reinforced reefs; the work carried out by the Danish Institute in Piraeus; Delos; the ancient Corinthian ports of Lechaion and Kenchreai.
      • Site surveying and mapping of several channels and structures carved out on the coastline of a bay: compass, sextant, theodolite, transects, grids and photography. Open forum, tutorials and short exam if required by college /university for credits, based on curriculum covered and contact hours. Presentation of team projects.
      • Course review
      • Tutorials
      • Films on underwater archaeology
      • Farewell meal
    Study Abroad Maritime Courses - Despotiko, South Bay
    Ancient foreshore and submerged quarry site on nearby islands discovered by our team a few years ago.

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    • Participants should arrive in Athens, Greece, at the very latest, in the early hours of Monday, June 21st. Accommodation on Paros is included, starting from Saturday morning, June 20th and ending on Saturday, 10th of July, 2010. If you choose to arrive on an earlier date to explore Athens, Corinth, Delphi or Mycenae, please contact us and we will help with the inexpensive, centrally located hotel we use in Athens and provide more useful information and tips.

    • Diving certification is recommended for the course but we have designed it so, that one could easily attend and complete the course by simply snorkelling. If you are not a certified diver and wish to become an Open Water Diver we can offer a 5 day PADI Open Water Diver course at an extra cost of 500 euros which can be completed before the beginning of the program on Paros.

    Required equipment:

    • mask
    • snorkel
    • fins
    • land camera
    • three waterproof (to 10m depth) disposable cameras or even better an Olympus Stylus 1030  which does not require a housing, down to 10 meters and has excellent capabilities.
    • tennis shoes or sturdy walking sandals you do not mind getting wet in the shallows, walking over rocky areas.
    • sun-protection
    • bathing suit (Speedo or bikini type please, no baggies, as you have to slip into wetsuit and that is uncomfortable!)
    • windbreaker
    • wide brim hat or cap
    • sunglasses

    Optional (but highly recommended) equipment:

    • well fitting wetsuit
    • depth gauge
    • compass
    • regulator
    • buoyancy control device (BCD)
    • laptop (wireless broadband available at your accommodation and our beachside base)
    • underwater digital camera (the Olympus 770/1030 do not need a housing down to 10m or even 15!)
    A mask with optically corrected lenses can easily be purchased at any dive shop.

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    Maritime Courses Study Abroad - Nudibranch

    Obsidian fragments imported from the island of Melos, thousands of years ago.

    The Aegean Institute
    Director: Peter Nicolaides
    Paros 84400, Cyclades, Greece
    tel.: +30 693 228 9649

    tel.: +30 210 922 6510 tel/fax:+30 22840 43347

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