Archive for the ‘Study Abroad’ Category

New perspectives after a month in & around Greece

September 25th, 2017 by tjoseph

By Zach Sowerby ’19

Zach and Julia on a hill overlooking Athens. Mount Lycabettus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Aegean Sea are in the background.

It’s been nearly one month since my arrival in Athens, and Julia Spiegel has been here three weeks longer than I. We are both juniors, of the graduating class of 2019, spending this semester abroad as part of our Classics majors. We have spent our time here learning Greek, taking classes on a range of topics, exploring Athens and the local culture, and visiting the great historical and cultural centers of Greece.

The rate at which new information has been colliding with my brain has been so enormous that it sometimes can be tough to take a break to process everything. Over the last few weeks, our program has taken us to Delphi and Crete on extended trips, packed with professor-guided visits to cultural centers, archaeological sites, museums, and towns. A full review of even these two trips would consume countless pages of text, so I will allow the included pictures and their captions to tell some of the story. Classes themselves also often are held on site, out of the classroom, as professors introduce us to the topography of Athens or lecture on objects in one of Athens’ many museums.

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi and Mount Parnassus.

It has been most efficacious towards a well-rounded liberal arts education to immerse myself in the Greek way of viewing the world. From the day-to-day interactions with my professors and the people in my neighborhood, as well as from observing the manner in which Athens operates, I have gained a perspective distinct from my experiences in the US.

The Island of Spinalonga, off of Crete.

Nick Guarracino ’18 blogs from around the Roman world

December 9th, 2016 by tjoseph
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Nick at the Temple of Hera in Paestum in southern Italy.

Nicholas Guarracino ’18, a double-major in Classics and Italian, is spending the academic year studying at Loyola University’s John Felice Center in Rome. He is also finding time to travel around Italy and Europe — and documenting it all (or a lot of it, at least) on his blog.

Click here to read and see much more on Nick’s blog.

Discoveries in the Dirt at Poggio del Molino

October 18th, 2016 by tjoseph

By Allyn Waller ’18

This past summer, I had the privilege and the pleasure of working on an archaeological excavation at Poggio del Molino in central Italy. Along with two other Holy Cross students, Amanda Kondek ’17 and Eric Fox ’18, I spent several weeks kneeling on rocks, scraping dirt off of other dirt, discovering how much rock looks like pottery, and vice-versa.

A Day in the Life

On a typical day, we would get up early in the morning, eat breakfast, pack lunches and head to the dig site. Five minutes down a dirt road in between fields of grapes and we arrived at the site. After digging for a few hours, painstakingly scraping the dirt up one layer at a time, checking each object for archeological significance and brushing up the dust, we took a coffee break. After half an hour or so sitting in the shade, it was back to work again.

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Preparing to dig are (L to R) Alena, a graduate student in archaeology at the University of Arizona; Allyn Waller ’18 (the author of this piece); Martina, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bologna; and Amber Groves, who recently completed her Master’s in Archaeology at the University of Indiana. (Photo by Amanda Kondek ’17)

When we found something in the layer we were removing, we would carefully remove the dirt around it to determine if it was fully contained in the layer. If it was, we removed it and placed it in a bag for later cleaning and labeling. Unless, of course, it was actually a rock. Determining whether something was a rock or pottery sherd, however, was not always easy. “Is this rock or pottery?” was a constant refrain for the first few days, at least until one of the grad students at the site explained that we could always lick it and find out. (Apparently, since pottery is porous, it will stick to your tongue if you lick it.)

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Probably not rocks. (Photo by Allyn Waller ’18)

Eventually, it was time for lunch. (That is, if you weren’t full from licking rocks all morning.) During lunch, we had the opportunity to talk to the other people who were working on the site with us. Each week, there was a different group working with us on the dig. One week, it was a group of Italian high school students who were spending their summer trying out different jobs a week at a time, getting a feel for what they wanted to do. Another, it was a group of students from all over Europe and North America as part of a summer program in archaeology. For two weeks, we had a group of restoration experts working on the mosaics of the baths and bedrooms.

History

But Poggio del Molino was more than just a rich Roman’s mosaicked country retreat. It began, in fact, with pirates. The earliest structures we have evidence of at Poggio del Molino are three towers designed for defending the nearby Etruscan settlement of Populonia from pirates. Later, after the Roman republic controlled the area and mitigated the threat of piracy, the site became a factory for producing garum, a sauce made from pickling fish intestines.

During the Empire, as it became cheaper to produce garum in newly-acquired territories like North Africa, it was turned into a country villa for some wealthy Roman family. Sometime in Late Antiquity, the bedrooms of the villa were reconstructed into a small church by knocking all interior walls down and walling up the doorways.

Cool Finds

Due to this varied history, there were lots of really interesting things to be found at our site. Several bronze coins, ranging in size and preservation from a small speck just half the size of a pinky nail up to an inch-wide disc with legible writing and a clear profile were found in and around the area we worked in. We found evidence of iron-mongering operations, including leftover iron slag, hematite ore, and the burns left by furnaces on the floor. I found a small block of lead, which I thankfully recognized before anyone licked it. We found both bronze and iron nails, as well as some larger, but mostly unrecognizable, iron pieces.

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When the same site is used for hundreds of years, sometimes you get walls in between other walls. (Photo by Allyn Waller ’18)

We found pottery, of course. Most of it was fairly coarse cooking ware or simple dining or storage pottery, but I did find a fancy painted black-slipware piece from the fourth century BCE. Of course, the excitement from finding it was slightly marred by the fact that it should not have been there. I found it in the uppermost layer of soil, the humus, under the roots of a big pine tree. Chronologically, we should have been finding cassette tapes and floppy disks, not pottery pushing 2500 years.

That strangely located piece, however, has to contend with another for the best find of the summer: The Italian high school students working the room next to ours found a completely intact clay lamp! It looked as if it had just been pulled out from behind the glass in a museum display. It was absolutely incredible, although my expectations might have been slightly lowered by 87,492 things I had found that day that weren’t pottery, much less intact.

Of course, it wasn’t all kneeling on rocks and scraping dirt out of tree roots. On weekends we were free to take trips to various cities around Italy, so we saw a lot of museums (and gelaterias). To me, though, the most exciting museum was the one in the modern-day town of Populonia, where most of the collection came from Poggio del Molino. I like knowing that the things I excavated could end up in a museum someday, informing future Classicists. Increasing our knowledge about the world of around two thousand years ago is worth a little dirt-scraping and root-kneeling. But maybe not rock-licking.

Allyn, from Atlanta, Georgia, is a Classics major with a minor in Computer Science. He is also completing the Teacher Education Program at Holy Cross.

ICYMI: Holy Cross Classics links from Summer 2016

September 3rd, 2016 by tjoseph

Click on the hyperlinks in bold to proceed to the pieces:

*In May Gabe Weaver ’04 was named the first-ever Herman M. Dieckamp Post-Doctoral Fellow by the Information Trust Institute (ITI) at the University of Illinois.

*In June the new crime novel Brighton by Michael Harvey ’84 was published by HarperCollins.

*In June Kevin Spinale ’00 was ordained into the Society of Jesus.

*Luis Perez ’17 reflected on his experience in the Maymester program “Rome in History and Imagination.”

*Daniel Cavoli ’80, Latin teacher at St. Edward’s High School in Rocky River, OH, was honored with the Kraft Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching for 2015-16, given out by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS).

*In July Brian Clark ’15, Claude Hanley ’18, Stephanie Lindeborg ’13, Melody Wauke ’17, and Prof. Neel Smith presented research at the Digital Humanities 2016 conference in Krakow, Poland.

*In July Prof. Tom Martin’s new book Pericles: A Biography in Context was published by Cambridge University Press.

*In August Christine Bannan ’14, a third-year student at the University of Notre Dame Law School, wrote about the threat of the “Internet of Things” for the journal Tech Crunch. Christine is the winner of the 2016 Edelson PC Consumer Privacy Scholarship.

*In August Prof. Martin spoke with Quartz.com about the “Games of Hera,” a series of footraces among female athletes described by Pausanias.

Scenes from the 2016 Rome Maymester Program

June 15th, 2016 by tjoseph
Students explore the inside of the Colosseum.

Students explore the inside of the Colosseum. The Rome Maymester program runs from May 23 to June 16 this year.

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Anna Tanji ’18 and Melissa DeGuglielmo ’18 in the Baths of Diocletian.

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Prof. Aaron Seider talks with students as they sit on the steps of the Gesù, the principal Jesuit church in Rome.

 

Corey Scannell ’18 and Prof. Tom Martin in Trajan’s Market, adorned this spring with tree statues from a contemporary exhibition.

Exploring Rome’s glories … and its gelaterias

March 31st, 2016 by tjoseph

Ciao! I’m Julie Booth, a junior Classics major currently studying in Rome, Italy. When I first arrived in Rome, I was astounded by how immense the city was. With the large, metropolitan streets and busy Italians running here and there, the task of navigating this city was daunting, to say the least.

However, in the couple months that I have been here, I have learned to navigate this bustling city, converse with the locals, connect with the culture, and see the very monuments and sights I have been learning about my entire life. I have also had the opportunity to do so many things I never would have been able to do anywhere else, like attend mass presided by Pope Francis, eat pizza with the Swiss Guards, and enjoy a back room tour of the Vatican Museums with my class.

Julie Booth and Kelsey Littlefield in front of the Temple of Poseidon in Paestum in southern Italy.

Julie Booth and Kelsey Littlefield in front of the Temple of Poseidon in Paestum in southern Italy.

Rome is really a great location for studying abroad. You are never at a loss for something new and exciting to discover, as the city itself offers a rich, tangible history. Whether it is one of the many museums Rome has to offer or stumbling upon your new favorite gelateria, Rome never leaves you bored.

The city, at the heart of the country, also offers you easy access to the beautiful cities and countryside of Italy. Just a short train ride from Rome, you can see the amazingly preserved cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia Antica. You can see Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in Florence. You can explore the wineries of southern Tuscany and the cliff sides of Sorrento and the Almafi coast.

Recently, our program went on a three-day trip to Sicily, during which I got to visit the archaeological sites of Selinunte and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. To end the trip, we visited the ancient Greek theater in Taormina, overlooking Mt. Etna. I got to learn a lot about the island and its immense Greek influence in its early settlement, while also seeing some of the best-preserved temples from the ancient world.

Throughout my time here in Italy, my understanding of the ancient world has grown exponentially by simply being immersed in its history. And I have found that having knowledge of the Classics makes one’s time in Rome all the more richer. I am constantly amazed at the beauty and ambiance of Rome and the rest of Italy, and in my last month here in Rome I’m looking forward to exploring the city more, improving my Italian, and continuing my search for Italy’s best cup of gelato.

Dispatch from our Athenian in Athens

October 5th, 2015 by tjoseph

Hello! I’m Melody Wauke, a Holy Cross Classics major from Athens, Georgia, currently studying in Athens, Greece, for the first semester of my junior year. I arrived here on August 31, just over a month ago. In the short time I have been here, I have already had countless opportunities to learn, explore, and interact closely with my surroundings and the people within them.

Melody in Meteora

Melody on a hike to see some of the monasteries in Meteora, located in the Plain of Thessaly.

A typical day in Athens for me entails the familiar routine of going to class and doing homework, but also the new and exciting prospects of walking around my neighborhood, finding good cafes, riding the metro, and constantly having revelations about the derivation of Modern Greek words.

My adventures thus far have even spanned outside of the city of Athens. Our program recently went on a several-day-long trip to Crete, during which I was able to see several archaeological sites and learn more about the island (which a professor interestingly described as the “Texas” of Greece).

I am constantly amazed and comforted by how welcoming the people I have encountered here are. While most of the people in Athens do speak English (and very well, at that!), they are always very encouraging when I practice my Modern Greek and so excited when I express interest in learning more. As I begin my second month here, I look forward to exploring more both within and outside of the city and learning as much as I can about the people and culture that surround me.