The activities of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) and the British School at Athens (BSA) in the years 1947-1967: their contribution to Prehistoric Archaeology and their relationship with the socio-political life of Greece

Doctoral Dissertation uoadl:2287139 481 Read counter

Department of History and Archaeology
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
Papavasiliou-Balli Ourania-Alexandra
Dissertation committee:
Μαντζουράνη Ελένη, Καθηγήτρια Προϊστορικής Αρχαιολογίας, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Χατζηβασιλείου Ευάνθης, Καθηγητής Ιστορίας του Μεταπολεµικού Κόσµου, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Βαβουρανάκης Γιώργος, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Προϊστορικής Αρχαιολογίας, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Κοπανιάς Κώστας, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Αρχαιολογίας Ανατολικής Μεσογείου, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Παπαδάτος Γιάννης, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Προϊστορικής Αρχαιολογίας, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Πλάτων Λευτέρης, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Προϊστορικής Αρχαιολογίας, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Χασιακού Αφροδίτη, Λέκτορας Προϊστορικής Αρχαιολογίας, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Original Title:
Η δράση της Αμερικανικής Σχολής Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα και της Βρετανικής Αρχαιολογικής Σχολής στην Αθήνα κατά τα έτη 1947-1967: η συμβολή τους στην Προϊστορική Αρχαιολογία και η σχέση τους με το κοινωνικοπολιτικό γίγνεσθαι της Ελλάδας
Translated title:
The activities of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) and the British School at Athens (BSA) in the years 1947-1967: their contribution to Prehistoric Archaeology and their relationship with the socio-political life of Greece
The present dissertation consists of two volumes. The first includes the main text, archival sources and bibliography and the second copies of the original archival material and two interviews.
The dissertation is divided into two parts. The first part includes the Introduction and chapters 1 and 2 while the second part includes chapters 3, 4, 5, and the Conclusions.
The Introduction includes the research question and outlines the methodology followed by the present study.
The first chapter starts with the evolution of archaeology from its very beginning and during the 18th century, when its main objectives were the identification of the ancient monuments with ancient texts, and their aesthetic evaluation. The chapter continues with the presentation of the epistemological model of the Culture Historical Archaeology and continues with a presentation of the basic principles of the New or Processual Archaeology that prevailed in the USA and Great Britain during the 60s. A summary of the positions of Post- Processual Archaeology, the epistemological tendency which was developed after 1980 and succeeded Processual Archaeology, is also presented.
The second chapter focuses on prehistoric research in Greece during the period under consideration.
The third chapter is dedicated to the activities of ASCSA during the period 1947-1967. A very substantial part of this chapter deals with the case of the archaeologist Carl Blegen. His biographical information and academic progress are briefly presented in the first part of this chapter followed by a review of his activities prior to World War II.
During the 20year period considered in this dissertation, Blegen’s most important excavation is the so-called ‘Palace of Nestor’ at Pylos. Through the archival material (excavation diaries, personal correspondence, official documents of the American School etc.), the first excavation in 1939, the difficult takeover procedure of the site immediately after the war, all subsequent excavation periods and, the final publication of the excavation, has been recorded. The analysis of Blegen’s work concludes with a general assessment from a professional and a personal point of view.
The personality of John Caskey is examined next. The analysis starts with his biographical data and concludes with the examination of his two very important excavations, at Lerna in Argolis and at Agia Irini Kea (which was also extended to the Neolithic settlement of Kefala).
In the case of Caskey there is no sufficiently rich archival material in ASCSA such as in the case of Blegen. For this reason, this study relied more on publications by Caskey. Through these it was found that, in broad lines, Caskey followed his teacher Blegen but at the same time, he attempted to improve the ceramic typology of mainland Greece and to create a similar typology for Cyclades.
Chapter 4 refers to the activities of BSA. After introducing some preliminary information for the pre-war activities of the British School, follows a thorough examination of the personality of Alan Wace who, like Blegen, with whom he was associated with a personal friendship, became the connecting link of prewar and postwar archaeological research in Greece.
The case of Sinclair Hood is coming next, with reference to his excavations at Emporios Chios and Knossos. The evaluation and assessment of Hood’s work, was based mainly on his publications, as well as, on information gathered from people who met him and an interview that he had granted to Aegeus Society. Hood was a typical representative of the traditional archaeology of the post-war period. His major contribution was the introduction of modern excavation methods, namely the ‘Grid’ method developed by Wheeler and Kenyon.
Information on other British archaeologists during this 20year period, and more specifically for Taylour, Sackett, Popham, Huxley, Coldstream and finally Renfrew, originated predominantly from the publications related to the sites they have excavated and the archive of the British School at Athens.
All the aforementioned British archaeologists, apart from Renfrew, had classical education. They all abided with traditional archaeological paradigm, with particular emphasis on typology and the dating of archaeological evidence.
By contrast, Colin Renfrew the youngest representative of this 20year period, adopted the archaeological paradigm of Processual Archaeology to his research.
The final chapter 5 places the Americans and British archaeologists in their contemporary Greek political and social perspective. The historical context of this era is outlined. Then, the participation of foreign archaeologists in spy activities during World War II is discussed. And finally, their possible participation in Intelligence after World War II (during Cold War) is examined.
The Conclusions summarize the issues covered in these 5 chapters stating also the main results of the research under review.
Main subject category:
Greek prehistory, ASCSA, BSA, Blegen, Caskey, Wace, Hood, Popham, Sackett, Coldstream, Huxley, Saliagos, Emporios of Chios, excavation of Kythira
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