Bryan Burns and Current and Former Students Study an Area Important to Ancient Greece

June 20, 2013

Bryan Burns, associate professor of classical studies, recently spoke with the Metrowest Daily News before heading to Greece for a summer of fieldwork. Burns is spending the summer investigating a small region believed to be one of the earliest inhabited regions in ancient times.

Burns is a co-director of the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project, the organization leading this fieldwork, and has been part of this project for several years. He is now working in an area known as Eleon, not far from Athens, looking for signs of human occupation between 500 and 1,200 BCE.

"Since breaking ground in 2011 and completing a surface study," the Metrowest reported, "a mix of professional archaeologists and students have uncovered a stone wall from the Classical Age, a tower, signs of streets, decorated pottery, and tools for cloth production that provide clues to people's lives."

The project site is located on the plain between Thebes, the dominant economic center of the region, and the Eubean Gulf, which was a major conduit for trade with the broader Aegean. Burns and a small group of Wellesley students and alums are working on the project through the Canadian Institute in Greece.

Wellesley women working on site with Burns this summer include Morgan Condell '09, Haley Bertram '13, and Lindsey Menichella '15. They're pictured here at ancient Eleon, with the site's polygonal wall (ca. 500 BCE) and the village of Arma in the background.

This is Bertram's third season in Greece. She is now supervising excavation in an area that preserves part of a house dating to 1,100 BCE, documenting the signs of its use and destruction.

"There’s a lot of hard work. A lot of dirt,’’ Bertram told the Metrowest. "It’s not adventurous like it’s portrayed in movies. But, it’s really fascinating.’’

Bertram will head to the University of British Columbia for a master’s degree program in classic studies this fall. Morgan Condell is now pursuing a Ph.D. in ancient history at the University of Pennsylvania, and will spend next year at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Lindsey Menichella is majoring in classics and art history, and she is the first recipient of Wellesley's Miranda Marvin Award for student travel and study of the ancient Mediterranean.

Burns and Bertram spoke with the Metrowest after a talk given at the Norwood, Mass., public library in May. Read the entire article, Wellesley Professor and Students Excavate Bronze Age Site," in the Metrowest Daily News.