After benefiting from Harland funding for many summers, Rebecca, supported by the prestigious Olivia James Traveling Fellowship, moved to Greece to research her dissertation full time this academic year. Next year, she will remain in Greece to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens under the benefit of the Emily Townsend Vermeule Fellowship. Below she shares her adventures in Greece.

Rebecca Worsham

Rebecca Worsham
Classical Archaeology graduate student

I have been really fortunate this year in that I was offered more opportunities than I could accept. With the benefit of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America and under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, I have been able to conduct research for my dissertation project in Greece, and to see many of the archaeological sites that I am studying first-hand.

I started my project — on the houses and settlements of Middle Bronze Age Greece, spanning a time period of about 2200-1600 BC — with a core group of about ten key sites, but I have been able to expand it considerably while I’ve been at the school, both by talking to other scholars here and through access to the expansive collection of journals and notebooks at the Blegen Library. I have so far managed to visit around twenty-four sites that are pertinent to my research (not including twelve Bronze Age sites on Crete—technically outside the scope of my project but very useful for comparison).

Perhaps more importantly, to get to these sites I was forced to learn how to drive a car with manual transmission, which was its own adventure. In retrospect, it may have been better to learn and practice before coming to Greece, but it has been fun.

I was also lucky enough to be able to spend some time excavating at Pylos at the “Palace of Nestor,” originally excavated by Carl Blegen. Coincidentally, I was actually digging in an area last excavated by our own professor emeritus, Peter Smith, when he was a student, and whose notebook continues to be a valuable source of information for both the Greek and American projects active at the site. While I found no Linear B, I was able to look at some of the Middle Bronze Age material recovered from the site and surrounding areas, which was very helpful. Likewise, I have been digging at a nearby Bronze Age site, Iklaina, for a number of years, and it was interesting and surprisingly revealing to see the relationship in material culture between the two sites, and to experience it in such an immediate way.

I was also able to present some of the findings of my research to a small audience here at the American School, and received some great feedback. One of the most remarkable things about being in Greece conducting research has been interacting with other academics — both students and scholars — at the American School and other foreign institutions. I’ve also been able to get to know some really great people outside of academia, including my neighbor, who has taken it upon herself to make sure I am all right and have access to occasional chocolate, although she, like many other Greeks suffering from the economic crisis, has problems of her own. It has been a truly wonderful experience.