Info for Participants

Greetings, archaeologists!

This is the place for those of you who have pre-registered to check in for news and updates, and answers to key questions.

1. What do I pack?
Apart from bringing your passport, there are two governing principles to packing for an excavation abroad:

1) Plan to be dirty all the time, so don’t bring anything nice
2) Bring all prescription meds with you. Do not expect to be able to fill prescriptions  there.

Here is a suggested packing list which covers essential items for in-field and out-of-the-field use.

Do not forget to bring $1216 Euros (ca $1450 US) in cash, in Euros,
to pay for your room and board on site in Desfina. Do factor in the exchange rate: Banks will usually offer the best exchange rates (vs money changers here, at the airport or abroad). As of 6/24/2018 the Bank of America exchange rate is listed at $1.23/Euro.  You should purchase/exchange Euros from a bank before you leave your home country to arrive in Greece. You will NOT be able to casually walk up to an ATM at home or abroad and simply withdraw this amount of money. Be sure to plan ahead!!

2. What’s the Pre-Season Paper assignment? (due on or before July 8)

The goal of the pre-season paper is to help you to understand the Late Bronze Age world in which Kastrouli functioned: how the Mycenaean palace system of which it was part was organized, and what its administrative role might have been; what natural resources were around, and what goods it manufactured, bought and traded; what we know about daily life in the Mycenaean cities and towns, the deities they worshipped and how they buried their dead. Having a sense of this Mycenaean world will help you to understand the research questions that our archaeological team has about Kastrouli, and prepare you to contribute to answering them over the course of the excavation.

The paper is an expository paper, 6-8 pages, making use of at least three sources.

Details of the assignment are here: Kastrouli Pre Season Paper; the resources you will need can be found here. The paper can be emailed to Dr. Birney or Dr. Koh anytime between now and your arrival in Desfina on July 8.

3. What is the overall academic program for the summer?

The Kastrouli field school will be action-packed and intensive. It offers an opportunity to be part of a full-scale archaeological research project, and to work alongside and learn from specialists in the discipline.

A preliminary syllabus can be found here, although expect on-the-ground changes as we may need to adapt according to research needs. Note that the syllabus requirements apply to ALL PARTICIPANTS, regardless of whether you are taking the excavation for official university credit. These requirements are designed to make sure that you get the most out of the archaeological experience.

You will receive a certificate from the University of the Aegean upon completion of the excavation. This will not be sufficient to receive academic credit at Wesleyan or Brandeis however. For students intending to take this for Wesleyan credit, see below. For those seeking Brandeis credit, contact Dr. Koh.

4. How do I get Wesleyan credit?

Students who want to get credit through Wesleyan will enroll during fall drop-add in one of two courses: the lab course ARCP 425 (for those who want Archaeology credit) or the tutorial CCIV 401 (for those who want Classics credit). In both cases, you will request Prof. C. Parslow as your faculty advisor. (Although Dr. Birney will be overseeing these classes, she is technically on sabbatical next year and so will not show up as an option in the system. Prof. Parslow has kindly agreed to be the nominal faculty member).

Credit within these courses will be achieved through the completion of a research project, designed in coordination with Dr. Birney, on some aspect of material culture or data set recovered from the Kastrouli excavation.  Details can be found on the last page of the Kastrouli syllabus. Speak to Dr. Birney for details if you are interested in this option.

5. I’m arriving in Greece a day early. What should I do?

We are planning an unofficial excursion around Athens on Sunday, July 8 before the U of A bus picks us up at the airport at 5pm that day. We are planning to hit the Acropolis right when it opens at 8am before it gets too crowded and hot. After a couple hours on the Acropolis, we will head to the National Museum by metro followed by lunch either around the museum or back at the airport, where we will wait for the U of A bus. If you wish to participate, you will likely have to arrive in Athens the day before (July 7) to make the Acropolis by 8am. We recommend that you prepare a daypack for this purpose and leave your main suitcase in baggage storage at the airport ( You can then easily grab the metro to the city where a plethora of accommodations await you (airbnb is quite cost effective; we recommend staying very close to the Plaka – the touristy part of town closest to the Acropolis). We’ll be meeting at the Acropolis entrance ticket booth at 8am.

Entrance fees: Acropolis is 10 Euros with student ID, 20 without. The National Museum should be free with student ID, or 10 without.

6. What can I read to learn more about Kastrouli and life in Greece?

We have started a field school Google Drive folder at You can access an English-Greek phrasebook and Survival Greek document there. We have also added some readings in a Bibliography folder. We recommend that you start with Sideris 2017, the preliminary excavation report from previous seasons. 2018 Levy et al. provides a comprehensive glance at the site. For those who want a more general background study of Phocis, the region in which the city of Kastrouli is located, you can also purchase this inexpensive volume written by Dr. Koh’s PhD advisor:

Note that everyone, regardless of whether you’re taking the project for credit, will be required to have written a short background paper by the time they arrive (See # 2, above).