Introduction

SUMMER 2024: June 30-July 13

“If you get the chance to go on this program, please don’t hesitate! You definitely won’t regret it and you will discover so much about yourself and Greece itself” Ellie Clark, Royal Holloway, University of London

A favorite of students from around the world, the Thouria Excavation Program started in 2011.

Thouria was the Homeric Antheia according to Pausanias or Aipeia according to Strabo. Excavations have revealed an impressive Mycenean necropolis consisting of at least fifteen tholos tombs. Since the 8th c. BCE, when the Lacedaemonians dominated Messenia, the area acquired the name Thouria and it became the most important “perioikos polis” of western Messenia.

Thouria is mentioned by Thucydides in his account of the dramatic revolt of the Messenian helots against Sparta in 464 BCE. The inhabitants of Thouria sided with the helots and suffered the consequences. After the foundation of Messene in 369 BCE, Thouria gained her independence from Sparta and in later times, she was given back to the Spartans by Augustus.

The excavations at the Classical-Hellenistic site begun in 2007 under the Director Emerita of the Ephorate of Antiquities Dr. Xeni Arapogianni. The excavations so far have brought to light significant remains of public and sacred buildings, including a sanctuary of Asclepius and a large-scale theater (https://anaskafesthourias.gr/en/).

Students will work at the excavation and learn about archaeological method, practice and drawing, excavation techniques and pottery cleaning. Classes will include the reading of selected literary texts and inscriptions on the history of Messenia.