10 July 2011

Cute dogs and old rocks

Hey all, we are currently in Naufplion, a Venetian city in the Peloponnese. We're about halfway through our Peloponnese trip, and internet has been and continues to be sketchy, so I will run through a few of the places we've been so far. I'll break it up into a few separate posts so you don't feel like you're reading a novel.

cute dog at Corinth

We were shown around Corinth by the director there, Guy Sanders. He is one of the many characters in archaeology. I fear I love archaeologists as much as I love archaeology. He is very British and very engaging and is one of the few tour guides we've had that I actually was enraptured by. The best guides give you stories and the tone of a place, without a bunch of facts with no context, and remind you that we don't know everything and that there's always the chance we don't actually know anything. He showed us a sacred spring, a secret passageway. He made plant life evoke specific goddesses and prompted us to think about who is Helen, really?

Corinth with a view of Acrocorinth

He talked about the Turkish cemetery and hospital on the site and all the gruesome awesome ailments/causes of death they have found evidence of, including: anemia, arthritis, childbirth, brucellosis (from eating feta that hasn't been aged enough, "if you're lucky it kills you in five days), trepanation, a spine missing either the axis (C2) vertebrae or the axis's odontoid process (it was unclear from his explanation), a man that has been identified as a horseback-riding Mongolian bowman, a man who died from not going to the dentist (an untreated abscess led to blood poisoning), a cut achilles tendon (my greatest fear next to being buried alive), and evidence of a frontal attack with a sharp implement (sliced skull, cut off fingers from the victim defending their head with their hands). For this last death he amused himself by describing it in vivid detail, to the extent that he discussed the pooling blood rippling from the still-twitching fingers. At this point I was muffling my mouth with my hand because I was hysterically laughing. A student warily asked, "How...do we know about the puddle of blood?" To which Guy replied, "We don't! But isn't it gruesome?" He's my kind of archaeologist.

a tiny vessel depicting the bibasis (athletic competition where you jump and kick your butt)

votive arms left at the Asklepion (healing shrine of the cult of the healer Asklepius)

Then we hiked up Acro-Corinth. WOOF. Slippery cobblestones up to the sky. Of course the burning muscles were worth it once we reached a peak housing the ruins of a temple to Aphrodite and had a 360 view.

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