view of Nemea Valley  

FROM THE DIRT TO THE MUSEUM

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the National Endowment for the Humanities
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WEEK 5

 

Hello!  It has been a very exciting week at the excavation.

At the end of last week, we began to excavate in one of the tombs that we dug last year.  Over the winter, some people came and broke open the stone wall that blocked up the doorway (called a stomion).   Angela worked with a team of students to clear out the stones that had been moved and to see if there were any artifacts in the doorway. Although they did not find any artifacts, they did find many bugs, a family of mice, and a three  toads!

In the chamber of this year's tomb, we finished the excavation of the dromos, and are now beginning to draw the soil that is near one wall (called a baulk).  We do this to see if we can figure out  how many times the tomb was opened by looking at the different layers of soil. 

On Tuesday, we began to excavate a pit that is near the western wall of  the chamber.  It was covered by stone slabs, and is about 3 feet long and 1.5 feet wide.  Watch the movie to see what it looked like, and also to hear some Greek!

 

In the soil there, we found a bowl and a small feeding vessel, which had a spout for a child or baby to drink from.  Also in the pit was a figurine about 5 inches long.  The figurine is of a woman with her arms outstretched at her sides.  Archaeologists call it a "psi figurine" because it makes the shape of the Greek letter "ψ" (psi).  We also found about 100 beads made of stone and glass.  There were no bones in the pit.

The group has been taking field trips to nearby sites.  Today, we drove to Nauplion to see how a museum curator puts together an exhibition.  We also have been spending a lot of time in the Nemea Archaeological Museum learning about pottery from the Mycenaean period.

On the site today, we uncovered a few goblets, as well as a jar with two handles next to a small spout (this is called a stirrup jar).  These artifacts were in a small pit on the eastern side of the tomb's chamber. Tomorrow, the bone specialist will come and help with the excavation of this pit.

broken stomionBROKEN STOMION OF TOMB 4
Angela and Robbie get ready to dig the stomion of Tomb 4, which we dug last year.
Angela digsDIGGING THE STOMION
Angela is digging out the soil and rocks in the stomion.  She collects all the dirt in the red bucket, so that it can be sieved.
DROMOS OF TOMB 4
With the stomion gone, you can see down the dromos into the chamber of Tomb 4.
chamber week 5EXCAVATING TOMB 5
You can see what is happening in the tomb during week 5   The chamber is about a meter deep.
BAULKS
The upper arrow points to the baulk on the north side.  The lower one points to the baulk on the east side.
"Team Art" draws the north baulkSARAH AND KATIE DRAW THE NORTH BAULK
Sarah measures the different layers of dirt, while Katie draws them to scale.

jar closeup

DIMITRI DIGS A JAR
Dimitri is carefully digging a jar that we found in the chamber.

figurine 1

PSI FIGURINE
In the top photo, you can see the figurine covered with dirt. After we cleaned it, we could tell that the arms formed a "psi" shape.

beadsBEADS
With the figurine, we found over 100 beads made of stone and glass.  Here are the first 4 that we found.

 

 
 
Copyright © 2007 Johanna Best