The Olynthos Experience | #1

It has been about two weeks in Olynthos. I am in northern Greece, about 45 minutes east of Thessaloniki. I am living in Nea Olynthos and digging at the ancient site of Olynthos. The excavation involves looking at the ancient site to learn more about life in the 4th century B.C. city. It’s been great so far, though exhausting intellectually and physically. I wake up at 05:30 to be on site at 06:30 Monday through Saturday. I spend all day excavating and looking for remains to tell us about the city.

Pebble Mosaic at the Excavated Site of Ancient Olynthos

As a history major and Latin minor, I know very little about Ancient Greece. I decided to come out of my academic comfort zone and travel to an ancient place I know little to nothing about. I know a lot about Rome, a fair amount about Mesopotamia, and a little about Egypt. The only knowledge I have about the ancient Greeks is their interaction with the other ancient civilizations and cultures I mentioned above. I chose this site in Greece to learn more about the major ancient region I know so little about. I have never traveled to Greece before so being exposed to the modern country while learning about the ancient city is also cool.

Cheesing on a hilltop of a nearby village

I actually want to ultimately go to medical school and become a geriatrician. But, as a history major, I would love to explore that before committing to medical school. My love of history really made me want to come to an ancient site to see it firsthand. I want to see this part of history. I want to see how sources are uncovered. I want to see how we interpret it. I want to see history.

2 thoughts on “The Olynthos Experience | #1

  • July 15, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Alyssa,
    My name is Beth Bodiya and I am a Hub Coach at the Opportunity Hub; I will be following your blog posts this summer and can’t wait to hear how your internship goes. I can sense your enthusiasm, as you dive into the first few weeks!

    I was extra excited to be reading your posts, as I worked in Greece for a year after college. I taught English at a school in Athens; although I traveled extensively, I didn’t have a chance to make it to Thessaloniki (or Olynthos). How has the transition to living and working in a new country been? It’s awesome that you wanted an experience that was outside of your comfort zone and familiarity. Although Ancient Greece hasn’t been your forte in your history courses, I’m curious to see hear how what you learn might tie in with content you’ve learned about other cultures, development of civilizations, etc.

    Your schedule sounds busy! What is the excavation process like? Is there a particular group you’re working with, and how might what is learned be shared with the wider public eventually?

    I look forward to following your path this summer – I am sure that the skills you gain this summer (communication, endurance, flexibility, and so much more!) will be transferable to your future medical school goals.
    Seeing history up close, and to be physically uncovering it is inspiring. Thanks for sharing photos of the site and of you! Please consider entering them in the July Hub Photo Contest (


    • July 25, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Hi Beth,
      Sorry about such a late response back. WiFi is hard to come by sometimes and if I find it, it can be unreliable. Also, it is harder to type without my laptop! Anyway, I am having a great time! The transition hasn’t been too bad! The worst part is waking up so early six days a week. We excavate from 6:30-12:30, which is basically a lot of digging. Once we get down to the lower levels with architectural features, we use smaller tools to be more precise and careful. We’re working with a group from all over the place. There are people from America, England, France, Denmark, Greece, Germany, and Canada. I am learning a lot not only from the site, but from all of my peers!


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