NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
4 Jun 2004
- 37.7166667 22.75
Decoded MS Stereo and Split Track
Log of DAT: Tape 5 Clone
Engineer: Josh Rogusin
Date: June 2004
SM = Stephen Miller
CJ = Chris Joyce
00:48: (birds chirping)
00:57 JR: Ok¿It¿s June 4, 2004. It¿s almost 9am wanna get those bells from the church in the small town of Mikewese¿just outside of Argose, ten minute drive from ancient Nemea, where we spent the past two nights this is MS Stereo.
01:18: (car driving by¿.birds chirping)
01:24: (bell chiming)
01:46: (bird crowing)
02:15: (strange bird noises)
03:05: (car driving up¿birds chirping)
05:00: (church bell rings)
06:00: (cooing noise)
06:30 JG: So he doesn¿t eat breakfast
06:31 SM: Nothing
06:32 CJ: Oh¿that¿s right. I forgot.
06:33 SM: Would you like for me to give you the level?... No, I know.
06:35 JG: We had very good cheese pies.
06:36 CJ: What was your favorite wine last night?
06:38 SM: My favorite wine was the Rosea¿.I still really like that. It¿s¿it¿s, not as good as the some of the later wines we had in sequence and I can taste that but those other ones I feel guilty about drinking. The Rosea I can drink and feel good about it.
07:04 CJ: Well we took our wine last night and went up to Misene at midnight took all clothes off, knocked the tops off the bottles and drank ¿em. Ran around naked.
07:12 JG: We did drive up there.
07:13 SM: Did you?
07:14 CJ: Yea but it was locked up.
07:15 SM: Oh, sure.
07:16 CJ: We thought at midnight it might be an interesting place to be.
07:19 SM: There¿s a little hotel in the town that is not nearly as nice as the one you¿re staying at called the Bellelaine. And it was a hotel that was there when Slimone was digging.
07:29 CJ: It was his house, right?
07:30 SM: Yes¿and uh, it has a huge guest book. I haven¿t been there in a long time but I assume that the guest book is still there. But you turn through and you see a lot of names that you recognize¿.and what have you.
07:40 CJ: Virginia Wolf?
07:42 SM: Ginsberg¿Alan Ginsberg.
07:43 CJ: Oh¿.Alan Ginsberg.
07:44 SM: And there¿s this wonderful little poem that he¿s written about the ghost of Abegimnom(sp) and coming out of the blocks and blah, blah, blah¿.
07:50 CJ: Oh really?!
07:52 SM: ¿And he goes on and on and on and he says, the two last lines are, ¿Misene(sp) with moonlight. And my feet ache.¿
08:06 SM: They are working after all. I told you a lie.
08:07 CJ: That¿s great!
08:09 CJ: Oh, that¿s okay. I don¿t think it¿s too loud
08:10 SM: I thought it had stopped.
08:11 JR: We¿ll get ambi.
08:13 CJ: You okay?
08:14 JR: Yea¿I¿m rolling..
08:16 CJ: Ok, well let¿s address Josh¿s interesting question which is the role that the temple played for the games because obviously most of this site was aimed at providing for the athletes a venue for what they do. What¿s with the temple?
08:32 SM: The temple¿it¿s difficult I think for us to understand that the games were sacred. They were holy and dedicated to Zeus. The games don¿t exist if there¿s not a divinity protecting them. If the temple is not there, the games won¿t be either. Because it is core, it is critical to the games as a whole. The athletes in some sense are themselves dedicated to the God. Indeed the tradition of the athletes oiling their bodies which has received many interpretations and the final answer is that we don¿t know why that was done.
09:14 SM: But interpretations have ranged from that Greeks like the asthetic of oily bodies to using the oil to warm up the body as a preliminary massage of the muscle to the oil working as a sun guard, or sort of sun tan lotion to the oil being a way of anointing the athletes and making them dedicated to the God.
09:43 SM: We should remember that the word Christus, Jesus Christ, means the anointed one. It¿s a real connection there. It can¿t be proven that is what was going¿that there was a religious aspect to the oiling but it¿s within the realm of possibility. And given the fact that you don¿t go to participate on the track until you have made your sacrifices¿until you have sworn your oath to Zeus. Until your friends and relatives have all done the same. Until indeed there¿s been a formal procession around the sanctuary to make sure that you sacrifice at all of the alters of all of the Gods that are there. This is critical.
10:23 SM: And at the end of the games when the winners have been determined and they get their crowns of victory they go to the temple at Olympia¿. the gold and ivory table was pulled out of the temple on which the crowns of victory were placed before they were actually presented to the individual athletes. The connection between religion and athletics was very, very deep.
10:53 CJ: And remarkable I suppose also in that this was a site that was only used for athletics. It was not a village, a town, a city and to have spent as much effort and wealth to build a temple of that size that would sit empty.
11:11 SM: But that just makes the point that athletics were not simply for athletics, they weren¿t simply for athletes¿they were for everybody to participate in at one level or another. They¿re great cultural events. They¿re great religious events. They¿re political events. When Phillip of Macedon has beaten the rest of the Greeks at the Battle Kirania in 338, he sets up a league of nations. The league of Corinth we call it today, where each
city/state would send a representative and Phillip was nominally nothing more than one representative of one city/state but he was clearly the first among equals in this league he set up. But the league was to meet in rotation at the games site so that at Nemea when we have our games, we¿re having the league of nations meeting.
12:00 CJ: Another thing that I wanted to talk about a little bit was this relationship¿describe the relationship between Hercules and the games. He was a man of great strength or half man, half god I suppose, and strength of course was a big part of the games but it¿s deeper than that.
12:20 SM: Hercules, you¿re right, was half man, half god. He was the son of Zeus in one of Zeus¿ many philandering episodes by a mortal woman and Zeus¿ wife, Hera, who was never happy at any of Zeus¿ little affairs, was so unhappy with this one that she, through a mortal agent, made Hercules¿ life as miserable as she possibly could. And he was set out to perform a number of impossible deeds and the first of the traditional twelve labors of Hercules took place here. It was against a lion, a monster whose skin could not be penetrated. Arrows shot at him bounced off; spears thrown at him bent over and doubled. Swords broke. There was no way to kill this animal. But Hercules¿
13:10 CJ: ¿hold on a second. Thank you. Sorry.
13:24 CJ: So the arrows were bouncing off of him.
13:26 SM: Arrows would bounce off of this lion. Swords directed against his head, would bend in the middle. There was no way to kill him. But Hercules having been set the task of getting rid of this monster, ultimately was reduced to wrestling with him and strangling him. And it was by Hercules¿ super strength that he overcame the lion. He then, using the lion¿s own claws as the only thing that could penetrate the lions skin, skinned the monster and used the skin of the Nemean lion as a sort of shield of armor. A bullet proof vest that he would wear for the rest of his labors. He¿s always shown with the skin of the Nemean lion over his shoulder or under his arm some place.
14:16 CJ: Do you want to get some rain in the clear? In case the rain stops?
14:20 JR: You want to get it now?...Yea.
14:22 CJ: We need a bed of this rain cause if it stops¿I¿ll explain.
14:25: (rain pouring)
15:30 JR: That¿s a minute.
15:31 CJ: Ok. So that¿s the original event that fuels the myth so how do you tie that to the games?
15:39 SM: Well we don¿t actually. At least the ancient Greeks did not. Hercules and the Nemean lion are a very venerable myth and from the beginning of Greek art it¿s one of the favorites of Greek artists showing Hercules wrestling with the lion but the causal relationship that is Hercules kills the lion and founds the games because he is grateful for his victory is an association that was only made for the first time in the third century after Christ by a roman period scholar. It sounds right.
16:15 CJ: Who was the scholar?
16:16 SM: The scholar was actually¿we don¿t know. He was a scholiast to a author named Sirvious, who was writing a commentary on Virgil¿s Georgics. A very convoluted literature tradition.
16:29 CJ: Ah¿we¿ll skip that.
16:31 SM: But we¿re talking about a scholarly construction.
16:34 CJ: But the idea was that Hercules was the person was the person who started the games.
16:39 SM: That¿s the Roman idea. It¿s not the ancient Greek idea. The ancient Greek idea was that Hercules killed the lion of Nemea, that¿s one thing. The games were founded, that¿s another thing. And the games were founded because of the death of a baby named Otheltes (sp). This is the myth of the foundation of the games. That it was well known in Antiquites, Esceles, and Euripides both wrote plays about the foundation myth. In fact, about a third of Euripides play survives.
17:07 SM: The story goes that there was a king in mythical times here at Nemea named
Lycurgus who had a wife named Uridese(sp). And they tried for many, many years to produce an heir to the thrown. It didn¿t happen. It didn¿t happen. And after many, many years of frustration, finally the blessed event occurred. A baby boy Otheltes was born. Now Lycurgus after all these years of frustration, wanted to make sure they didn¿t have to go through it again. So he goes to Delphi and asks the Pythian Oracle how he can best make sure that his son Otheltes will grow up to be a big strong man and take over the kingdom of Nemea.
17:50 SM: The Oracle responds do not allow the baby to touch the ground until he has learned how to walk.
18:01 SM: Uh¿How¿s he going to learn how to walk if he can¿t touch the ground? But Lycurgus takes it literally. He comes back to Nemea, he buys a slave woman named Hypsipale(sp) and says ok, the baby is your concern. You take care of the baby, you feed him, you change his diapers; but you never let him touch the ground.
18:22 SM: Some time later, Hypsipale is here in the valley of Nemea. She is holding the baby in her arms. And suddenly, there ride up from the South the seven against Thebes. The seven champions from Argos on their way against Thebes. They see Hypsipale, they ask her for a drink of water and while she fetches the water a serpent crawls out¿
18:45 CJ: She lays the baby down?
18:48 SM: No¿she puts the baby down. Yes, in deed she does. That¿s the whole point. She puts the baby down¿not on the ground directly; but on a bed of wild celery. A serpent crawls out of the wild celery while her back is turned. Bye, Bye Otheltes. The kid is dead. This is taken by the seven against Thebes as a bad omen for their expedition. And if you know the story of how their expedition ended up, they were right. It was a proper but bad omen of the bad outcome of their own expedition. They therefore, decided to hold funeral games as a way of making things right. Let¿s try to get off of this omen. Let¿s try to make this right. Let¿s hold funeral games in honor of the baby Otheltes. We¿ll make the crown of victory a crown of wild celery. The judges will wear black as a sign of mourning. We¿ll plant Cyprus trees around the sanctuary of Zeus as another sign of mourning but the story, the basic crux of the Nemean games will be the celebration of life in the face of death and this is the common thread that goes through the great games. There always is a death and a celebration of life after that death. This is the way the games were begun and the myth that was commonly known. It is not a myth that is well known today. It wasn¿t terribly known even in later Antiquite. But it was the story that was told.
20:11 CJ: I don¿t recall it in my Edith Hamilton¿s mythology that I read as a kid.
20:15 SM: You¿ll have to read closely and there probably won¿t be more than a sentence.
20:21 CJ: I adored that book. I¿m going to change gears on you here because we¿re sort of filling in gaps of what I thought we hadn¿t covered before. I was astounded in reading your book at the amount of detail that you¿ve been able to glean about the events themselves, not only was it recording who won in which year. But the different holes that were used the different styles of fighting that were used. Can you describe for me a little bit just what we know about how each event was performed? I mean, for example, the long jump was not anything like the long jump we do now because they had these weights and it¿s a bizarre way to jump.
21:06 SM: Yes it is¿and it¿s one that modern athletes find very uncomfortable, at first. But you held these weights in your hand. One in each hand. They varied in total weight. They might be as little as two pounds. They might be as little as five or six pounds. And it seems to have been dependent on the athlete himself to decide what weight weights he was going to use.
21:31 SM: The secret to it was rhythm and coordination. So that as you ran up to the jumping board. You were carrying the weights in such a way that as you jumped, you threw the weights forward so that the inertia of your body traveling forward was complimented by the inertia of the weights traveling forward. At some point, of course, gravity will take over and start to pull your body down from its jump and start to pull the weights down. And you need again to be coordinated so that you¿re pulling the weights back behind you and dropping them behind at just the right moment so that in some sense you get a little bit of extra propulsion even off the weights themselves. And the athletes of Antiquite knew this was very difficult to do and as a result of that it was decided and all of the games had this feature that a flute player was a part of the jump. So that the flute would play and the rhythm would be established and you can imagine the runner at the start beginning to rock back and forth as he gets into rhythm before he begins his run down to the take off point. The rhythm part of it is really important. I¿ve done frequent tests with some of my students at Berkeley with the weights and generally speaking, they measured against their average jumping without the weights. Generally speaking, they would do significantly worse the first two to three jumps with the weights. And significantly better the fourth, fifth, sixth jumps¿with the weights, as they begin to understand it. And I¿m convinced that the weights really would result in some extra distance.
23:18 CJ: And then there was the Javelin, which in fact along with the discus, people I think misinterpreted as being part of a military training but these were not in any means, by any way, a military type practice.
23:32 SM: On the contrary, the Javelin, and we have to distinguish here, the Greeks were very clear about this. They used two different words, one for Javelin and one for spear. The spear is the weapon used in war. The spear is the weapon used in hunting. The Javelin is what is used in athletics. What distinguishes them is the point. The point of the Javelin, the athletic Javelin is a small pyramid of bronze or of iron. About an inch and a half, two inches in height and has a little tying at the end of it at the base of it that sticks down into the wood. So you would sort of force it into the end of the wooden Javelin and that would be the extent of the business end to the Javelin. The spear on the other hand typically had iron, although it could be bronze head as well. The head of which would be maybe even a foot in length. It would be a very prominent spear with a blade on either side so that as the spear enters flesh, it begins to rip flesh and becomes deeply embedded. The possibility of a Javelin really harming someone was minimal. It could happen¿but it was minimal, especially compared to the spear. And the other part of the Javelin throw in the athletic competition was that you tied¿you didn¿t tie. You wrapped a cord around the shaft of the Javelin, producing a loop through which you put your fingers so that there would be an extra leverage applied against the loop. As the cord or the string unraveled or spun off the Javelin the shaft of the Javelin would have a rifling motion. It would create a tight spiral from this. That cord that you wrap around is very tricky. It¿s very difficult to do. And it¿s impossible that somebody in the heat of combat is standing there say, ¿Excuse me a second while I wrap my Javelin shaft so that I can throw it at you.¿ It just isn¿t a military weapon at all, and so far as the discus is concerned as well. It often is said that whoever defended his city by throwing a discus at the enemy.
25:58 CJ: On, for example, the boxing, the boxers wrapped their hands with leather. But this wasn¿t designed to protect the opponent or soften the blows.
26:08 SM: un¿uhn. It was designed to protect your own knuckles as you should imagine a strip of raw hide; maybe six or perhaps even eight feet in length that you would wrap around your wrist and your hands down to your knuckles and close to the first joint of your fingers. So that you would be protecting your knuckles for the blow and you¿d be strengthening your wrist; really reinforcing the strength of the wrist. These gloves that¿s not the word obviously, but we¿ll call them that. The knick names for the gloves were ants because they left little welts¿.they were biting things. You see blood on the faces of boxers and ancient representations, you hear about it in Antiquite, although none of the boxing events was as gory as what happened here at Nemea about 400 years before Christ.
27:02 SM: There were two boxers, one from Syracuse and one from the town of Epidemnous in modern Albania who were in the final of the boxing event and they boxed, and they boxed, and they boxed and neither of one could knock out the other and the crowd was getting restless and the sun was going down and so they decided they would draw straws. Whoever got the short straw would stand defenseless and the other guy could give him his best punch. If the first guy survived, then he took his turn and they would go back and forth until somebody knocked out the other guy. The first guy took his best punch, failed to knock out his opponent. His opponent, the guy from Syracuse, then takes his leather straps and readjusts them. Wrapping them around his hands so that instead of forming a fist, his fingers are protruding in the same line as his wrist, with his sharp fingernails and he wraps the strips around, reinforcing his fingers. He then tells his opponent to lift his arm, exposing his mid-drift and he PLUNGES his fingers reinforced by the leather into the mid-drift of his opponent and pulls out his guts and the guy dies on the spot. Now the judges being very sensitive to the niceties of the agreement, says that this was wrong. That they had agreed to give one blow each and the guy who had killed the other guy had actually given five; one for each of his fingers and his thumb. So he was disqualified and the corpse was crowned.
28:35 CJ: So posthumously rewarded.
28:37 SM: Yes. Yes¿Indeed. That was not the only time when a victor was crowned posthumously. It was not frequent, but we know of at least two other examples.
28:46 CJ: So the games could get pretty bloody¿huh?
28:47 SM: Oh yea¿Oh yea.
28:28 CJ: And there was a lot riding on it? I mean for these people, these athletes that had trained often I suppose for years cause this is basically what they did¿right? I mean¿for them, they had other things to do?
29:02 SM: In the later period, that¿s certainly the case. In the earlier period, it is clear that there were people¿we know of one fellow who was a farmer, we know of a goat herd, we know of a cook these were their professions and they were doing athletics as sort of a ??...but as athletics developed over the centuries, the notion of doing athletics to the exclusion of all else certainly came very much to the fore.
29:28 CJ: What would you have done? Which one?
29:31 SM: Which event?
29:32 CJ: Yea.
29:34 SM: Well I know I would not have done the Pencradion (sp) ¿ahh¿which is anything going but biting and gauging. I don¿t know how good my strangle hold is. I don¿t know how good I am at breaking fingers but I¿m afraid there are other guys who are better at it and I certainly wouldn¿t have wanted to do that. I think I would have done the wrestling. Next to the Stadion(sp) race, the sprint race, the wrestling was really thought to be the one competition that was the most worthy. Plato was a wrestler, for example, and there is a tradition that Plato actually participated in the games. Although, we can¿t actually confirm that. So but he was certainly very fond of athletics and very much involved with athletics and wrestling which he mentions very frequently in his writings.
30:19 CJ: This is called Palle?
30:20 SM: Palle
30:21 CJ: Palle¿which is in this form of wrestling, I think there is an equivalent now. It¿s not Grecco Roman but it¿s where you simply take down the other wrestler from a standing position and that¿s it.
30:33 SM: You¿re in a standing position. We know the starting position very, very well. It¿s formed with the two opponents with their foreheads butted together like rams, we¿re told in our sources but we see it also in vase painting and in sculpture with their hands on the shoulders of the opponent, leaning together. They look sort of like an ¿A¿ frame in a house and indeed their likened to rafters in a house and from that point with a signal they start grappling and their looking for a hold which will give them the leverage necessary to throw the opponent to the ground. If you threw the opponent to the ground, that was it. You didn¿t pin him, you didn¿t do anything else you just threw him to the ground. Three times.
31:16 CJ: So we can report that Professor Steven Miller dreams of taking off all his clothes, rubbing himself down with olive oil and wrestling with another naked man!
31:24 SM: I actually have not had that dream, but now that you¿ve said it.
31:28 CJ: I used to wrestle in high school so I think I would have chosen the same thing.
31:31 SM: I did a little bit too.
31:35 CJ: But while we¿re on the subject of what you¿ve done. You have spent an extraordinary amount of time here¿thirty years on one site and what I know of archeology is that many archeologist tend to move around a little bit but you¿ve really dedicated yourself to one place. Why¿why has this place drawn you to dedicate your whole career to one spot.
32:00 SM: Should I say monogamy? I saw what you have just described. That many archeologists move on and they leave sites behind to be the victims of weeds and neglect and I never thought that was right. It seems to me that if you¿re going to have the privilege to excavate at a site, you also have the responsibility of taking care of it afterwards. It¿s like a child that you¿re bringing up but the other part of the story is that I¿m still learning. Nemea still is producing things to teach me and will always have things to teach me. As long as I¿m still learning, my curiosity is being satisfied¿or sometimes not being satisfied but at least the curiosity is still there. But I can take what I have found because I stay here and make it intelligible and I hope enjoyable to other people. Not just to my colleagues¿not just to the specialists but to the general public.
The pedagogical aspect of archeology is one that I think is very, very important. If there are lessons to be learned from the past, we have to make those lessons known.
33:17 CJ: Is it just coincidental that you happen to stick on a site that had to do with athletics. Had it been a site that associated with religion or war would you have been as fascinated with it?
33:33 SM: My interest in athletics has been longstanding but as a fan, not as a scholar. I never really looked forward to the athletic part of Nemea. I was much more interested in the architecture and in the religious aspects to it¿ the academic pursuit of athletics was something that developed out of the excavations. I¿m not sorry for that but it was not one of the goals at the beginning.
34:01 CJ: But what¿s resulted from that is that you¿re basically, as far as I can tell, the sole archaeologist who has that specialty in ancient athletics or are there others?
34:14 SM: Well there are many scholars who work on ancient athletics¿many colleagues who do that but I think there is one other one, a gentleman Ulric Sim(sp), who works at Olympia, who is also involved with athletics but generally speaking the archeologists who work in athletics are what we call ¿arm chair¿ archeologists, not digging archeologists.
34:38 CJ: For example, I¿m thinking to the Minoans who used to ¿but I don¿t know if it was really an athletic event but the jumping of the bulls would seem to me to have been an athletic event. I mean, what other reason would you do it for except for glory?
34:50 SM: Or religion, it may be a part of a religious cult. There are arguments about that. We don¿t know exactly how to interpret what we see in the art.
34:58 CJ: But it¿s a small field?
35:00 SM: Yes¿ah¿there may be two dozen scholars in the world who are actively involved in the study of athletics. It¿s a growing field. Most of those two dozen scholars are younger than I am. It¿s not a field that has been overly worked. There¿s a lot more to be learned.
35:19 CJ: If there is something that you would like a visitor to take away herself/himself after they see this place and they see what remains of the temple of Zeus and the stadium where the athletes ran and the artifacts and maybe even read some of the literature. What would you like for them to take away?
35:38 SM: I think most of all the continuity of human effort. That we really are in some sense the same people who ran 2500 years ago. That it behooves us to realize that we have a role in the longstanding tradition of antiquity and a role toward the future of our own race.
36:05 CJ: Ok
36:09 CJ: Hello¿.This will give them the opportunity to wander around. I don¿t have anymore questions anyway unless you can think of something that we¿ve missed.
36:19 SM: No.
36:21 CJ: Your favorite color?
36:22 SM: My favorite color¿.um. (Jess/Josh commenting)
36:29 SM: I beg your pardon. (speaking to someone else)
36:35 SM: Please¿.go forward. Thank you.
36:41 SM: Now you can get some real ambience.
36:48: Do you have any more questions.
36:51 JG: Yea¿I have a couple of questions. Should we wait til¿
36:55 SM: Yea¿let them get out.
37:00 SM: You see these stones sitting/standing here¿you see how grey they are on the edges¿blackened on the edges¿many of them.
37:11 CJ: Yea
37:13 SM: Black in color around¿there¿s a piece with plaster still there but you can see how the surface has been discolored underneath the plaster. This is from the first temple of Zeus. The predecessor to this temple. It was destroyed in a violent action which was a battle.
37:37 CJ: Well how can you tell it¿s from the first temple?
37:39 SM: Because of where we find it in the destruction layer that is associated with that first temple and many of the larger blocks that have been not so badly burnt and broken but are still broken up have very characteristic sizes, dimensions, lifting holes¿this kind of a lifting hole where a sort of a ice tong came down and picked it up, is characteristic of not only the early sixth century but characteristic of this particular temple and they tend to come in standard thicknesses¿at least these kind of . So a whole series of them are around here. But you¿re looking at and sitting on the remains of a sacred temple of the pan Atlantic sanctuary that was destroyed in battle.
38:25 JG: And what is that grey color up there?
38:28 SM: The fire. It¿s a discoloration from the fire.
38:31 CJ: I could never understand when they talked about burning the temples. They¿re made of stone, how do they burn it? What burns?
38:36 SM: The wooden super structure¿the fabrics that are frequently hanging inside. In this case, it seems that the bulk of the burning happened in one area (inaudible) you don¿t have any discoloring so there¿s no sign of fire¿they¿re broken up but there¿s no sign of fire. There are other cases where there is very, very intense¿(??)
39:08 JG: You don¿t worry about having them just laying here¿that people won¿t come and take them.
39:10 SM: We can¿t do much more than that¿.what we should have is guards.
39:12 CJ: Alright¿what are you gonna do?
39:17 SM: This is a standard way that the fabric looks. This is very coarse, reddish fabric and that¿s very typical of the early temple. But here ¿
39:26 CJ: When you say fabric¿you mean?
39:28 SM: I mean the clay with grits in it that has been formed into the roof tiles and then baked. That¿s what it should look like. Nice red, deep red¿orange/red terracotta color. But then you get places like this that have what remains of that color at the core but have intense black on the outside and the surfaces have almost become vitrified. They¿re a little warped and cracked and what have you from the intense heat that came out of it. So that the notion of the games being a place of nice quiet peace of truce of what have you is true most of the time but it¿s not true all the time. The truce must have been as fragile as it is today. Terrorism.
40:39 CJ: I suppose, in order to do this kind of work, one of the things you¿ve got to teach people and have learned yourself is stone. Is how to identify different kinds of stone and what¿s happened to it.
40:48 SM: The first thing you have to do is to learn to look. We live in a world where there¿s so many things around us that we don¿t always open our eyes and we don¿t really open our eyes and really see what¿s there. And you¿ve got to look at this and say ok¿this is terracotta¿this is a roof tile, how do I know that? Well the set of criteria is that this roof tile has been baked properly. This roof tile has been burned. You do this on the basis of what you are seeing and observing and with stone of course you have to learn to distinguish between marble and limestone and the different kinds of marble which is sometimes very difficult to do. But it is critical that you observe and that you store up your observations in that little computer that we call a brain. That¿s where you are doing your comparisons all the time.
41:40 SM: Many, many years ago the Metropolitan Museum in New York bought a crater¿a red figured crater of about 510 years before Christ called the Euphonious Crater.
41:52 CJ: A crater being?
41:54 SM: A big mixing bowl that you would put in the middle of your table and you put wine and water in. This is a bowl that is open at the top. It¿s about 2ft in height, a foot in a half in diameter¿you know a big open bowl at the top. But the sides of it are painted with exquisite painting by a master of Greek painting¿a man named Euphroneous. We know many of his works. There was a big sensation, this was back in the late 60¿s early 70¿s when they bought this. It was a big sensation because the paid a million dollars for it. And there were a lot of us out here scrabbling in the dirt saying, ¿boy what I could do with a million dollars.¿ But I remember very vividly a television interview with the curator of the Greek and Roman Antiquites at the Metro Museum. A scholar named Van Botmer and the television interviewer said to him, ¿Professor Van Botmer, How do you know that this is a real vase? How do you know that this authentic? How do you know this is actually made 500 years before Christ?¿ And Van Botmer¿s response was a little bit arrogant. He said, ¿I looked at it.¿ But it was true because he had stored up in his little computer all of the facts. The television interviewer didn¿t like that response at all. But it was true. He should have gone on to explain.
43:20 CJ: Yea.. Go on to say, ¿What do you look for?¿
43:21 SM: Yea. Exactly. He should have gone and explained the comparisons. The lines of the ankle bones and what have you. The way Euphraneous drew things as well as the fabric.
43:30 CJ: You can tell a Adega or a Matisse or something else.
43:34 CJ: We can sit down and finish here.
43:41 JG: I just have a couple of questions.
43:45 SM: Ah yes, the lurking questions.
43:58 SM: We get gunfire in here at night but it¿s usually after weddings. No shotgun weddings. (laughing)
44:15 SM: What the hell is going on?
44:22 SM: This is not hunting season, that¿s the wrong distance¿the hunting shots should be coming from the other side. I don¿t like that.
44:34 JG: Very briefly, we read these myths and sometime you want to believe it and sometimes you don¿t and we told you about our conversation with Pedro..when you read a myth, what do you think of? Do you look at these myths as myths¿Do you try and derive some history from them? Do you compare them to books written by the homers and various ??
45:02 SM: If I¿m reading a myth for the first time. I¿m simply reading it for the story. I want to find out what the story is saying after that¿and depending on my interest, I may well try to put that myth in it¿s topographical or geographical setting because typically myths tell something specific about a particular area. I¿ll also try to associate it with other myths particularly if there are figures that are present¿the same figures in both myths. Like two different myths of Hercules. I¿m not a mythologist. I don¿t really try to go much below the surface unless it¿s a myth about something I¿m really interested in, particularly Nemea and there the myths of Nemea is something that I really do get my teeth into and try to understand.
46:01 SM: Just one example, the myth of the death of the baby Otheltes involves wild celery. Wild celery only grows where there is running water. Where did we have running water around here in mythic times so that story could have a topographical, historical validity, at least a core of validity. We¿ve spent quite a bit of time looking for places like that. We haven¿t found a really good candidate where I could say that was the case. But in the bronze age we do have evidence for water flowing through the base of the valley periodically, not regularly, but periodically. If it were regularly, I would feel much more comfortable saying this is where the baby was killed but so far¿but that¿s the sort of thing I get into with a myth.
46:54 CJ: I have one more question. As an archeologist, what¿s your most important tool¿physical tool?
47:02 SM: My eyes. You have to use all of your senses. You have to be able to feel what you¿re digging¿see what you¿re digging. Sometimes even taste what you¿re digging but it really starts with the eyes. I have a recurring nightmare of being blind and I don¿t know how in the world I would do this work if I couldn¿t actually see it. Of course, that is probably not what you were trying to get at. You wanted to know whether I wanted a shovel or a whist broom, and certainly all those tools are there. I don¿t think there¿s any particular utensil that is more important than any other utensil. It depends upon the situation. We archeologists are reactionaries. We have to react to what we see happening and then use the proper tool at that point. The worst thing you can do as an archaeologist is to dig in layers of 15 centimeters or 5 centimeters because you are saying that the ancients lived in layers of 5 centimeters. Our job is to recover the actual layers, whether it¿s 1 centimeter thick or 20 centimeters thick, we have to understand from the layers of earth and their formation and their contents what was going on and when it was happening.
48:20 CJ: Or whether it may be at the bottom of a well.
48:23 SM: Oh Yea. Indeed. Even there, you have to discern because you¿ll have layers in wells. You¿ll have periods when the wells are being used intensely and you¿ll have piles of broken buckets and water jars and what have you. Then you¿ll have a period when the well is not being used and you¿ll get a layer of earth that has virtually nothing in it¿it¿s silt.
48:46 CJ: Ok. Thanks Steven. You gonna get some ambience?
48:50 JG: Yep
48:51 JR: Yep
49:09 JR: Ok this is MS Ambience (buzzing noise¿birds chirping)
50:46 JR: Ok. (JR and JG speaking about the ambi)
51:17: (buzzing¿birds chirping)
52:33 JR: Ok. That was another minute of MS ambi for our last interview.