March 30th, 2018

Presenting the Work of CYA at Aixonidai Halai

Professor Karavas supervising Voula Field School students on-site

Voula Field School
is the latest incarnation of CYA's longstanding intensive two-week winter intersession excavation at Aixonidai Halai, located on the outskirts of Athens, in the seaside town of Voula.

Since CYA students first excavated the site in January 2008, we haven't looked back. Attesting to the success of the program, CYA has now developed it into a fully-fledged 3-week course, combining both practical hands-on excavation experience and theory.

Inaugurated in January of this year, the Voula Field School has already been lauded as a breakthrough, monumental for not only being one of the finest excavation seasons but also for the overall number and diversity of participants.

While the 2018 season attracted its mainstay full year and semester CYA students, and a team of local Greek archaeology students, it also expanded its reaches to Australia for the very first time, welcoming eighteen students from the University of Sydney and two from the University of Melbourne, and The University of New England.

CYA was delighted to commence this exciting new collaborative venture with the University of Sydney’s Department of Archaeology, spearheaded by Dr. Lesley Beaumont (Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology). It was also a great benefit for the Australian, Greek and U.S. participants at Voula to be able to collaborate, develop friendships, and network with future international colleagues.

CYA Voula Field School students out in force

This year's excavation focused on the ruins of a large Agora, and its architectural remains. CYA students helped uncover more information about the area and presented the results of their findings at the Annual Voula Field School Conference, which took place at the CYA Academic Centre on the 27th of March, 2018.

Students, faculty, staff came out to support the students including Eftychia Lygouri (Site Director), and her colleague Maria Giamalidi of the Piraeus Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Theoni Scourta (V.P. of Academic Affairs), Professors John Karavas and Angelos Papadopoulos (Excavation Supervisors) gave an opening address introducing the history of the excavation and summing up the overall success of the course.

Voula Field School students, Rebecca Bowles (Emory University) , Allison Davis (College of Charleston), Carolyn Dorey  (College of Charleston) , Abigail Ferguson (University of Notre Dame) Will Feuer (University of Michigan), Winston Klapper (Lawrence University), John McLaughlin (Harvard University) and Alexandra O'Connor (University of Notre Dame), enthusiastically presented their findings and shared their drawings, examples of their context and bag register sheets and even an on-site time-lapse video of all three-weeks of the excavation.

In was engaging to hear the students share funny personal accounts and reflections of their experience excavating at the Voula Field School. Some students recalled memories of painstakingly excavating small stones, others described their surprise to learn that dirt can be analyzed to unveil important details about the context of the site. 

Allison Davis' 3D model of the site

Some of the highlights:

Allison Davis (College of Charleston) presented her 3D model of the site, which she created independently using the skills she learned in the fall semester Digital Archaeology course taught by Professor Hüseyin Öztürk and utilizing the GIS software available at CYA.

The most significant discoveries included a bronze mid-3rd-century coin and a sea-shell ( Bolinus Brandaris) traditionally boiled to extract an imperial purple or porphyra natural dye used for clothing. The findings fit in with the context and activities of the area of the Agora at Aixonidai Halai and reaffirm its long-standing and uninterrupted occupation throughout antiquity.

JoseJosephine Tran (University of Sydney) with Bolinus Brandaris shell

Students highlighted the benefits of working in ceramics, metallurgy and bone labs in addition to their classes which exposed them to information about the most up-to-date archaeology methodology. They learned about non-invasive GIS archaeology, aspects of stratigraphic excavation, material culture, artifact processing and cataloging, dating techniques and how to illustrate findings.

Voula Field School Presenters with their Greek colleagues, CYA Professors and Eftychia Lygouri (Site Director), and Maria Giamalidi of the Piraeus Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.

It was eye-opening to discover that some of the participants in the CYA Voula Field School had very little or no background in archaeology before coming to CYA, and how upon reflection they have a better understanding of the role that archaeology plays in interpreting history in its context.

CYA is proud that its program -from very humble beginnings almost ten years ago- has now expanded into an international field school. It gives students the opportunity to obtain full credit towards their degree and participate in a hands-on excavation. Voula Field School provides excellent exposure to the field combining on-site practice with follow-up lessons and workshops consolidating their learning.

We look forward to continuing the legacy of the Voula Dig for future generations of students globally.

Click here to find out more!

See the  2018 Voula Field School Brochure
Go to the  Voula Field School Course page

Attention Voula Diggers Past and Present!

 Join our newly created  Voula Dig Facebook Group to network and reconnect with your fellow excavation colleagues! 

Become an Alumni Class Agent today!

Class Agent volunteers are one of our greatest assets and they are a critical link between alumni and CYA. If you are interested in keeping up with the latest at CYA and in serving as the connecting hub between your classmates, let us know. Class agents spend a few hours each month connecting with classmates and touching base with the Director of Alumni Relations.

To learn more visit the Alumni & Friends section online.

Upcoming Alumni Event

Join Nadia Meliniotis (Executive Director of Student Affairs) and other CYA Alumni for an informal gathering at the Greek Restaurant "Mykonos in Miami". 

Date & Time: April 7th 2018, 11:30 AM  
Location: Mykonos in Miami Restaurant  
Address: 1201 Coral Way Miami, FL 33145  

Please RSVP to 

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