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 7

 

The final week of excavation has arrived.  So much has happened in only 7 days.

Late on Friday afternoon, the workmen found the remains of a skeleton in the chamber of the tomb.  The bones were hard to see, especially since they had been entirely covered by small roots.  We could see that the skeleton was of an adult.  Right near the head was a jug.  Everyone was very excited and came over to see.  We called the bone specialist, Sevi, and she worked with her student to clear off the dirt.  We took measurements and photographs of everything.  Since it was time to go home, we carefully covered the bones and the jug, and made sure that guards would be there all weekend.  Everyone was very excited to excavate it on Monday morning.

When we arrived at the site on Monday, we discovered that, sometime over the weekend, robbers had come and destroyed the skeleton and the jug.  We do not think that they took anything from the site except some tools, but they ruined the artifacts and a skeleton.  Everyone was sad, angry, and disappointed.  The directors called officials in the government, the museum guards, and the police.  Many people came to get evidence, but we are not sure who did this terrible thing.  It was sad, not only because we lost a lot of important information, but also because the tomb was treated so disrespectfully.

As we continued excavation in the  entrance corridor, we began to clear a small chamber cut into the side of it--something we had noticed earlier in the summer but could not excavate  until now.   It is carved into the west side of the dromos, and is about 2 feet high and 4 feet wide.  There were 3 large stones covering the opening.  We were all hoping that it would contain a skeleton.  When we removed the dirt, it looked empty.  But, today we had some good news.  In the water sieve, the students found small red and green beads!  This suggests that there probably was a burial there, but the bones have not survived.

We are now making sure we know exactly the shape of the chamber and dromos, so that I can draw plans of them.  Next week, we will be working on finishing up our work and cleaning up the site. 

Some people on our team are beginning to leave for home. The group has been trying to spend lots of time together before everyone goes home. We have been playing soccer, going out to dinner, talking about the new Harry Potter book, and going on trips to the beach.

 

EXCAVATING THE SKELETON
Click here to see Sevi, the bone specialist, and her student, Eleutheria, excavate the skeleton carefully. [Under construction]

students watchingWATCHING THE EXCAVATION
Team members watch the excavation of the chamber. 

DROMOS SIDE CHAMBER
This small chamber was cut into the side of the dromos. Yanni is beginning to remove the blocking stone slabs. 

DROMOS SIDE CHAMBER
Stella shows how big the side chamber is.
DISCUSSION
Making decisions on the excavation takes lots of people.  Here are Stella, Dan, Angus, and Mary talking about the stomion.

CHAMBER
You can see that the chamber is getting very deep. At the end, it measured to about 3 meters deep.


 

 
 
Copyright © 2007 Johanna Best