Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.04.35


Yannis Sakellarakis, A)NASKA/PTTONTAS TO PARELQO\N. Athens: Ammos Editions, 1995 . Pp.253. 13,000drs. ISBN 960-202-135-7.


Reviewed by Natalia Vogeikoff, American School of Classical Studies, Athens.

Prof. Sakellarakis, known from his field work and scholarly publications, has written a general book about excavation. He addresses a large audience unfamiliar with the more detailed methods and applications of modern archaeological research. His goal is not to produce a field manual, but rather an overview of work on an excavation.

The book is divided into thirteen chapters, and contains two digressions on the author's recent field work in Crete. Throughout the book the author sprinkles his text with colorful quotations from ancient and modern literature. Chapter I presents a short history of the human interest in older material remains from antiquity to present day. Chapter II discusses the qualities of a good field archaeologist (e.g., responsibility, objectivity, patience, and interdisciplinary approach). Chapters III and IV deal with the selection and survey of the excavation place, while Chapter V comments on the distribution of various tasks among the staff of an excavation. Chapter VI concerns the equipment necessary for both excavation and conservation of artifacts. Between Chapters VI and VII Sakellarakis makes a short presentation with photographic documentation of his excavation at Archanes. Chapters VII and VIII cover field work and emphasize the importance of detailed documentation in the excavation notebooks. Chapter IX deals with the storage of finds, their conservation, study, and publication. The relationship of the excavated archaeological area with its surrounding environment is discussed in Chapter X. The excavations at the Idean Cave and Zominthos are used as examples of archaeological sites accessible and friendly to the visitor, and where the excavator has showed respect to the surrounding environment. Their presentation is accompanied by photographic documentation. In Chapters XI and XII, Prof. Sakellarakis talks about the various feelings which an archaeologist experiences during the excavation; he also discusses "luck" as a factor involved in the archaeological discoveries. In the final chapter, Prof. Sakellarakis reminds us that excavation is a never ending business with an unforeseen continuation. Old excavations are constantly re-opened in order to clarify uncertainties or answer new questions.

With color photographs, and well written text, this book -- autobiographical to a certain degree -- will certainly appeal to a large audience.