First U.S. Archaelogical Dig in Thebes Approved by Ministry of Culture

First U.S. Archaelogical Dig in Thebes Approved by Ministry of Culture

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Stephanie Larson and Kevin Daly

A rare opportunity for a comprehensive excavation in the ancient city of Thebes, Greece and the Ismenion Hill, a site of historic, literary and cultural interest for centuries from the second millennium BC onward.  It will be given to Bucknell classics professors Stephanie Larson and Kevin Daly, together with Vassilis Aravantinos, ephor of prehistoric and classical antiquities for the Greek region of Boiotia and director of the Thebes Archaeological Museum. Recently, the Greek Ministry of Culture approved their proposal, swarming the members of the Greek-American project with excitement and impatience. The project could not be feasible without a three-year sponsorship from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, and contributions from equally important bodies, foundations and institutions. Selected Professors, Mr. Aravantinos, archaeologists, excellent and experienced students, like Brazinski and Brogan, and scholars will work hard on geophysical tests to oversee the whole project in the next months and will use various techniques to map and probe anthropogenic features under the soil. Thebes was a dominant power in the ancient world and the sanctuary of Ismenian Apollo was of great significance. Nevertheless, there has been no full exploration of the Ismenion hill. According to Mr. Daly, the project will present a rare chance to expand their knowledge of the city and restore Thebes to its proper place on the cultural map. They do not know exactly how the process will take place but “they know for sure that they will let archaeology dictate where they dig and how they proceed”.