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Jon Frey, archaeologist and assistant professor of art history at Michigan State University, is coming to the College to present “Excavating the Archives at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia.” Isthmia, located in Greece, was an important religious site in the Panhellenic era, and one of four Panhellenic religious centers — the better known ones being Olympia and Delphi. Apart from having religious significance, Isthmia boasts a huge bath complex and was the site of many ancient athletic games. Additionally, the site was visited by historical figures such as Emperor Nero and Alexander the Great.
Frey has worked at the site (located in what was once Corinth) for more than 10 years now, and travels to the sanctuary on a yearly basis. His talk will largely focus on the enormous amount of work that goes into examining and classifying artifacts once they have been excavated. For example, during the medieval era at the Sanctuary of Poseidon, many ancient Greek and Roman buildings at the site were pillaged for their stone. These stones then became part of other structures, meaning it is not uncommon to have a building from the eighth century CE made with material that was initially part of a temple from the second century BCE. Frey is in part focused on classifying this material in order to build a fuller picture of the sanctuary’s initial floor plan.
Frey will also touch on some of the new technologies archaeologists are using to recreate more accurate pictures of a building’s initial appearance and floor plan. Technological advances such as lasers have replaced manual measurements, allowing for a more exact reading of the building’s initial dimensions. Computers have made it possible to then create a digital reconstruction of the building, rather than struggle to make a physical model that accurately represents the building.
Frey will present “Excavating the Archives at the Sanctuary of Poseidon” on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public, and a reception will be held following the talk.