Program Highlight

Working near the Hexamilion Wall in Isthmia, 2008

One of our early evening seminars in the village of Ancient Korinth, at Café Marinos, overlooking the Korinthian Gulf, while discussing Aeschylus' plays.


Photo Galleries

Students on SMP Presentation Day

Although clothed and with shoes, we recreate a footrace at the original stadium at Nemea.  Professor Taber did retain from ancient times, however, the threat that cheaters would be beaten. Click here to see photos from previous tours.


Site Papers & Reports

Fully 30% of the grade for this course is constituted by your work on two sites you choose from among those we will encounter:  

  • 10% on each of two site papers (3-4 pages, exclusive of bibliography, diagrams, and maps) that are due e-mailed to Professor Hall by May 17;
  • 5% on each of two oral site reports you will give to the group when we are at the site.  


In addition to being, of course, composed clearly, the site papers should demonstrate research effort and incorporate relevant historical detail.  A site report is not a mere reading of a site paper.  It should be presented clearly and demonstrate a mastery of the content, for example, by not treating all facts about a site as equally important, and by being able to answer at least some questions after the site report.

What should a site paper and site report mention?  

Here are some ideas, but this list is neither definitive nor exhaustive. The best way to approach this assignment is to answer the questions you would be likely to ask of a tour guide.

  • Why is this site historically important? Just because we have as much of it preserved as we do, or did something interesting happen involving this? 
  • Is some particular event or person associated with this site?  (Esp. some event or person we encounter in the course)
  • Describe the main features of this site, artistically or archaeologically.  
  • How did this site look in antiquity?  How do we know that?  (Picture on coins, literary passage, etc.)  
  • How did it come to look the way it does now?  (Use the “Chronological terms” from the take-home exam.) How was this used, both originally and subsequently?

You all are more used to writing papers than you are to giving short oral reports, so we offer the following tips for the site reports.  

  • Don’t rattle off too many facts of mind-numbing specificity, about dates, names, and the like.  So no need to dump on us “This was dedicated April 12, 1538” when “This was dedicated in the mid-1500’s” would suffice.  (You should be more specific in your site paper.)   Reciting lists of numerical data that any of us could find in a good guide book (or a Wikipedia article) has not been known to be helpful (like “This structure is 17.4 meters long by 21.3 meters wide, with a maximal height of 11.5 meters.  Each column is 6.4 meters high….”).
  • For any information you do include, make sure you understand what you are saying.  For example, if you say “This was constructed as distyle in antis” or This was destroyed by the Herulians,” then you jolly well had better understand what you’re saying.  We’ll ask questions. Besides, you don't want your site report to come off as remote and disengaged.
  • Don’t give just a list of (even rounded-off) facts.  Any good tour guide knows more about a site than the guide shows to those on the tour.  A tour guide needs to find a narrative thread or two. Think of this as a matter of finding a human interest story associated with your site, or at least crafting your presentation in an engaging way ("Imagine that you are approaching this temple in the 4th century BCE, and you walk from this direction...").
  • Fun facts are good long as they're genuine facts, and as long as your presentation is not just a list of them.
  • Don’t hesitate to employ a diagram with relevant parts marked, since many of these sites are worn down with the weight of enough centuries that they are difficult to visualize in their original form using only an auditory description.  (Consider bringing with you 5 or so copies of any visual aids, so that the rest of can look on in order to better follow your report.  Sometimes the Blue Guide or other guide books will have a helpful diagram, in which case you should ask us to bring ours along to your site for your report.)
  • When we get to your site, we’ll still try to give you a couple of minutes to orient yourself, but that’s not much.  So you need to prepare yourself well.
  • Related, sometimes we will visit a site for your report right after having gone through a museum in which there happens to be an exhibit about your site. Be sure not to ignore what is to be learned from the exhibit; be flexible enough not to stick with any script you have, thereby ignoring something we all learned in the past couple of days.

Grading criteria for site papers:

  • Accuracy
  • Clarity
  • Use of appropriate sources

Grading criteria for site reports:

  • Completeness
  • Accuracy
  • Use of narrative thread (i.e., not just a list of facts)
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Evidence of preparation



  1. The Blue Guide Greece is a good start for many sites.  The Blue Guide series is an especially informative series of guide books.
  2. For ancient history articles, a specialized search tool is TOCS-IN, which lists journal articles and sometimes takes you directly to the article :
  3. Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed) and Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (3 vols.), are in the Reference section of the library; St. Mary’s also has electronic access to these
  4. American Classical School has published many small books on these topics. Use American Classical School as author in our library’s online catalog. We now have over 20 of these little books.
  5. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, now online at Perseus :



Access these through your library databases specifically for journal articles, e.g.:

Project Muse  

For example, articles from the Journal of Hellenic Studies are usually available in JSTOR, except for the most recent 5 years' worth. (That's how JSTOR works for all its articles.)



The Greek Ministry of Archaeology has information about sites, especially those on the Athenian akropolis, Delphi, and Olympia


Corinth &