Student Journal: summer dispatches from the field The Olympics of Ancient Nemea: excavating the way they were
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The Dispatches

1- A taxicab driver's introduction to Nemea and an archaeological jigsaw puzzle

2- The terra cotta jigsaw puzzle and Indiana Jones and his leather coat

3- Connect my 50 bug bites and you have a map of Nemea

4- Pilgrimage to Delphi, the center of the ancient Greek world

5- Upstairs to the Palamidi fortress, eye level with Zeus

6- Goodbye to Nemea, inventorying 5,000 artifacts


A taxicab driver's introduction to Nemea, doing an archaeological jigsaw puzzle upside down, and a gift of flowers

NEMEA, GREECE - I'm finally here in Greece. Four airports, three plane trips and more than 24 hours later, I'm finally here. On the way to Nemea, my crazy taxicab driver rear-ended someone after tailgating the car ahead of us in a way that made Berkeley and San Francisco drivers look courteous.

I haven't started work yet but I know that for the first few weeks, I'm going to be moving some inventory stuff around to make room for more things and also figuring out the sequence of the ancient sima of the temple of Nemean Zeus.

The sima is the edging of the roof of the temple. All of the marble slabs were decorated with curling vine/leaf designs regularly interrupted with lion-head spouts to help direct the water runoff from the roof. Each nearly identical slab is about four or five feet long and about nine or ten inches tall. Many of the pieces are preserved but I have to arrange them in their original order. Imagine trying to do a jigsaw puzzle picture-side down. The only way I can determine if the pieces fit is by lining up the edges and seeing if they fit together rationally in any way, shape, or form.

Today is the last day before I start regular work. We went to a beautiful beach today near the town of Nafplio. The water was clear and shallow and the beach was quiet and secluded in the morning, not touristy at all. We ate lunch in an outdoor cafe and a couple of little local girls, no more than seven or eight years old, eating at the table next to us gave Jini and me a couple of flowers and retreated back to their table smiling shyly at us. Even though I think my work at Nemea will be rewarding and interesting, I really look forward to my weekends here when my friends and I can explore the area and see the sights ...

— Kathy Chou


UC Berkeley
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