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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 August 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 AUGUST 2016 21 CYPRUS GREECE Careful stratigraphic excavation, detailed architectural study, and chronological investigation of ceramics and other finds, now give us a clear picture of a building constructed at the very foundation of the town in the late fourth century BCE. It was used as a venue for performance and entertainment for more than six and a half centuries. The theatre underwent at least five phases of reconstruction and alteration before its eventual destruction in the earthquakes around AD365 that destroyed the south coast of the island. The fact that the theatre was one of the first public buildings in the city demonstrates the important role of the dramatic arts in creating the new cultural koine (common identity) of the Hellenistic world. This is in the wake of Alexander the Great's conquests: an aspiration to adopt Greek cultural practices. The study of each subsequent Hellenistic and Roman phase has revealed significant new information on architectural practices and the way communities engaged with performance. The archaeology of Nea Paphos provides an excellent case study for the history of urban town planning, performance history and public infrastructure building. THE CHANGING NATURE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION All academic disciplines change over two decades, but archaeology has undergone a revolution in the time since we began digging. The first seasons of excavations took place before even digital photography was available. Today, digital recording and modern surveying techniques utilising GPR, GPS and 3D recording are regular components of our investigations. This provides a challenge to the archiving of our research and the publication of materials, dealing with both analogue and digital files. Technological and methodological changes have brought some exciting new approaches to the way we think of the Classical past. Although the pressures of funding and publication favours shorter-term work, long-term fieldwork projects do have another advantage. They allow the types of questions asked to evolve, and new evidence creates a deeper knowledge of the site each season. As we continue to work around the ancient theatre in recent years, we have revealed a Roman nymphaeum (water fountain) and Roman road. As a result, our investigative focus has changed from the theatre itself to the But it also enables far greater qualitative analysis and far subtler examination of particular questions. The key is a good team of researchers committed to the project. Sorting of ceramic finds. Aerial view of the cavea and orchestra of the theatre, and the remains of the so-called ‘Charion stairs’ (tunnel) running underneath the ancient orchestra. OUR SECOND HOME One of the by-products of field projects working in the same area over a prolonged period of time is the realisation that the team makes an enduring contribution to the local community. We are always very conscious that we are making a significant injection to the local economy each season. We have attempted to contribute to local cultural life by participating (where appropriate) in local community events and hosting artistic exhibitions, talks and public guided tours of the site while we work. In 2017 Paphos will serve as European Cultural Capital and the ruins of the ancient theatre will be showcased. Over the years we have built up a support network of friends, colleagues and supporters among the local community. Although Paphos is now largely a tourist town that is used to visitors coming and going, there is core support from the local community. Over the years, their attitudes have changed from bewilderment (as to why Australians would travel around the globe to study their history) to pride that we would make the commitment and effort in recovering ‘their’ story. It is an honour to have become part of their community. Fragment of a marble imperial statue that would have adorned the stage building during the middle-second century AD. THE FUTURE OF THE PAST The Australian excavations at Paphos will continue into the future while ever there is funding and willingness by our Cypriot collaborators and colleagues to have us work there. We, of course, have future publications to add to the project's library. But as someone who was there as a student on the very first season - and now working as a co-director – I believe that the longlifespan of those fieldwork projects enables investigators to ask intergenerational questions, and can provide a far more holistic understanding of the nuanced evidence uncovered by prolonged excavation and study. Third century AD pavers of a Roman road in front of the nymphaeum build near the theatre. urban context of the theatre's precinct: the location of ancient gates, the nature of street colonnades and the way the Roman city was laid out for pedestrian and animaldrawn traffic. None of these types of questions would have been possi- ble several years ago, before we understood the chronological framework of the development of the theatre. A long-term project can create a mass of data (excavated finds, in our case) requiring study and publication. So it can be a struggle to keep up. * Holder of a doctorate in Classical Archaeology and the co-director of the University of Sydney's archaeological project at Paphos in Cyprus, Craig Barker works at the Manager of Education & Public Programs for Sydney University Museums. The article above was originally published in The Conversation (www.theconversation.com). The Smile of the Child launches Canadian campaign Thanks to Canadian generosity, the Greek NGO is establishing a much-needed facility on the island of Lesvos The Athens-based non governmental organisation (NGO) The Smile of the Child has launched its Canadian campaign to raise funds for the establishment of a new centre on Lesvos. A leader in child care and protection in Greece, the plans are to base the facility out of a formerly-donated mansion. Currently in a decrepit state, once renovated, the organisation expects to accommodate upwards of 25 children known to be vulnerable to exploitation, especially refugee minors arriving unaccompanied to the island. The current fundraising target now stands at CAD$140,000 (AU$142,000) to cover basic repairs and renovations. Once fully operational, the cost of running the facility and providing children with adequate shelter, food and health care is expected to be CAD$700,000 (AU$711,000) per annum. Thanks to initial donations from Canada, however, namely from the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society of Ottawa and a significant contribution from Philhellene and former ambassador of Canada to the Hellen- ic Republic (2011-2015), Robert Peck, initial renovations are soon expected to commence. In recognition of the generosity and leadership shown, the NGO has decided to name the new facility The House of Canada and the Americas (HOCATA). To help ensure the facility's ongoing success, a number of fundraising initiatives are in the works, along with plans to reach out to potential donors in both the United States and Americas. Founded in 1996, The Smile of the Child currently runs 11 homes across Greece, where more than 800 children are provided with a safe haven. Since opening its doors, more than 52,000 children have received its support and assistance. The organisation also continues to play a key role in search and rescue missions to find missing children, along with helping to provide widespread health and social services for children in need. All contributions to the HOCATA project, big or small, will make a difference. If you are interested in making a contribution, visit www.hamogelo. gr/46.2/Support-us Swimming for peace and friendship As the Olympics drew to a close, there was another swimming event attracting people’s attention on Sunday on the straight between Turkey and Lesvos. Turkish long-distance swimmer Seda Kansuk covered the 11 kilometers between Assos, Turkey, and Eftalou on Lesvos as a symbol of peace and friendship among nations, reports Kathimerini. Organised with the help of Greece’s Coexistence citizens’ group, the 45-year-old was accompanied by a number of volunteers, who, taken by the initiative, swam the final 150 metres alongside her. The island has proven particularly popular with those wishing to send a strong humanitarian message around the world. Aside from Kansuk’s efforts, on Friday 19 August, Turkish activist Hussein Urkmez rowed the distance from Ayvalik, Turkey to Lesvos in praise of the island’s stance towards refugees and migrants. It took the 50-year-old seven hours to complete, but he’s not stopping there; Urkmez is currently circumnavigating the island, which could take up to two weeks.
20 August 2016
3 September 2016