Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The Talking Stones! The Day of Archaeology in the Prehistoric Lab of AUTh

A few years ago, at this time of the year, I used to participate on excavations or salvage with the Ephorate of Antiquities around Greece, or systematic field work with Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. For some time, after I started my PhD at AUTh, and after participating in European projects (first Archaeology in Contemporary Europe, now NEARCH (http://www.nearch.eu/), I have left –temporarily I hope-the field. On hot July days I do some research regarding archaeology and public outreach: how archaeology is perceived by people and how it influences their lives, if at all.

Having as a starting point the idea of Kostas Kotsakis to repeat 23 years after the same survey (which was conducted back in 1992) at the Toumba neighborhood of Thessaloniki very close to the AUTh University excavation,we prepared (himself, Kostas Kasvikis, and I) a questionnaire based upon the old one. The starting point for this survey was the relationship between archaeology and the public and more precisely the social role of archaeology and its connection to social reality.

The particular objective of the survey was to determine and understand the ways the community and common people of the neighborhood have towards general ideas such as cultural heritage, history and archaeology. Another goal was to understand how people’s ideas about public archaeology and public history change through time. The survey took place in May 2015 and it was done with the method of personal interviewing using a questionnaire which consists of different type of questions (multiple choice, yes or no choice, free answer etc) targeting at quantitative and qualitative features. We have compiled 107 questionnaires and we are processing them.

On 24 July Kostas Kasvikis (he also takes part in the NEARCH network) came to the lab, and we had a meeting overviewing the questionnaires and discussing the results of the survey. We have started to prepare our common paper for the EAA conference at Glasgow. We have drawn the key points of the paper and decided the major issues to be highlighted.

After that I was left alone with a few things to do on my PhD. My thesis is on the bronze jewelry from an Iron Age cemetery in Stavroupoli, a site northwest of Thessaloniki. At this point I have had official permits to cut samples from the bronze artifacts in order to prepare metallographic specimen for optical and electron microscopy. With these analytical methods I will probably identify alloys and recognize chemical and material properties as well as different technological features. I am now taking photographs of the samples cut from the artifact on the microscope before sending them to the lab to prepare metallographic sections.

In between I have done all the side work research in a lab always brings…from administrative issues, phonecalls, emails to coffee making!!!