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Digs In Greece: Australia’s Effort

  • July 7th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

rachel-dig-face.jpgDr Stavros Paspalas cannot remember a time when he didn’t want to be an archaeologist, and said there was never really one “pin point moment” that ignited his passion ignited.
He said he has been fortunate in his career trajectory that has followed has allowed him to fulfil his ambitions, as a proud Greek, from Australia; a man who has always been interested in heritage, and the past.

archeol-stavros-p-_2rew.jpgBorn in Sydney, Dr Paspalas went to school in Edgecliff in Sydney; did his first two degrees at Sydney University., then took a doctorate at Oxford University.

From there it was a research fellowship at the Australian Archeological institute at Athens, and, the position of Deputy Director came up.

In the city for the last 16 years, he works under the Director, Professor Alexander Cambitoglou, with one other full-time staff member.

The AAIA was established in 1980, and is officially a department of the University of Sydney.

Other Australian universities pay to take part in its work, as there is no direct, ear-marked government funding.

It is recognised by the Greek State as being one of around 15 foreign archeological research institutes in Greece, the oldest being the French Institute which was established around 160 years ago.

The institutes are restricted to catering for their own nationals and helping them apply to the Greek Ministry of Education and Culture for field work licences and permissions.

Primarily, that involves assisting academics wanting to do research on material that is being held in museums or museum store rooms.

On a grander scale though, if people want to undertake field work in Greece, the Greek government doesn’t want just anyone digging up ancient sites.
The AAIA’s most recent field excavation project was conducted last year in conjunction with a small group of students from Melbourne just outside Sparta.

The AAIA has also excavated, in conjunction with the Archaelogical Society in Athens, a site in the north of Greece called Torone, from around 1974.

Professor Cambitoglou,  excavated another site at Zagora on the island of Andros, during the 1960s and 1970s.1960s.
Dr Paspalas hopes that he and other academics may return there later this year to initiate a second campaign of excavation and research.

The AAIA facilitates efforts by Australians to do studies in archeology and the classics in Greece.