IFA Archaeology Journal

Samothrace 2020

It was, of course, a deep disappointment not to work in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace this year. Fortunately, the Greek government has allowed us to postpone our excavation permit. We will not lose a year of excavation and field research, which is a great relief.

We took advantage of the field hiatus to work together virtually from 15 June to 15 July. Over 30 team members—scattered across 10 time zones—met daily, using the Microsoft Teams platform. Owing to the enthusiasm and work ethic of our team, we were able to maintain our research momentum, train students for future fieldwork, and benefit from the participation of our many experts who would not have been able to join us full-time in the field.

As on site, we worked in teams centered on excavation, architecture, finds, and survey, collaborating frequently and holding weekly meetings to share each team’s progress. An added highlight was the series of mini-lectures organized by Ashley Eckhardt, with experts, including IFA alums Ellen Archie, Laura Gadbery, Madeleine Glennon, Maggie Popkin, and Andrew Ward sharing their material with the students.

All of the groups prepared material for a preliminary report on fieldwork which will be submitted to Hesperia, as well as the publication of record for the monuments in the vicinity of the Nike Precinct, Samothrace 8,I. This area includes the Stoa, the largest building in the sanctuary, which was excavated by James R. McCredie in the 1960s and 70s. Led by Ashley Eckhardt, the finds team came to terms with the massive amount of material (nearly a quarter of all objects found in the Sanctuary!) by plotting the original trenches and position of objects. The architecture team, led by Sam Holzman, worked on the design of the Stoa’s roof. Excavation, headed up by Andrew Ward, and survey, led by Michael Page, organized their data and planned for the 2021 field season.

Group photo of the entire Abydos team.

The 2020 Samothrace virtual season coincided with the reopening of the Archaeological Museum of Samothrace’s Hall A. Even though we could not be on the island to celebrate, we did produce a video to accompany the exhibits. It features our 3D reconstructions, which aid modern visitors in understanding the rich but largely disassembled remains in the adjacent sanctuary.

More on the virtual season and the reopening of the museum

Archaeological Museum of Samothrace Reopens Hall A

3D Model Video for Reopening of Archaeological Museum of Samothrace’s Hall A

American Excavations Samothrace Adapts to 2020 Virtual Season


Loeb Classical Library Foundation
Nicholas Pisaris
James L. Wescoat
ExxonMobil Foundation