Drawing Archaeological Finds on Paros, Greece



Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman Architecture

Project Summary

Underwater excavations in the port of Paros, Greece, yielded over four hundred marble fragments that date back to circa 500 B.C.E. Some were funerary objects that belonged to a nearby cemetery, and others were large unfinished architectural members. This summer I was able to travel to this island in the Cyclades to work under Professor Mantha Zarmakoupi in examining these archaeological finds. My primary role was to create digital archaeological illustrations that graphically represented the marble pieces in plan and in elevation. The first step was to take careful measurements of each object and to note specific areas of interest, like markings or incisions. In this preliminary inspection and the discussions that ensued as a result, I learned about the history of the marble trade and architectural construction in Ancient Greece. For example, the deeper holes and grooves on one column capital indicate how the entablature of the temple would have rested on top, and the smaller more consistent markings reveal that the marble was still being worked on. After visually examining the marble finds, I began constructing the drawings using AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator, making sure to include all of the details that can be found on the pieces themselves. 
From doing this project, I learned about the nature of archaeological research. My creating these drawings was just one small component of a much larger project of architects and archaeologists collaborating to try to understand what happened to these objects and why they were never completed. There are also different components to archaeological research, from excavation and illustration to drawing upon past research and previous finds and presenting them in journal publications. This PURM project has enhanced my educational experience by granting me this insight into how research is conducted in this field. It has made me more experienced and familiar with creating digital drawings, which will come in handy in my architecture studio. From editing papers and compiling bibliographies, it has exposed me to how large volumes are compiled. Most importantly it has increased my interest in architecture of the ancient world and in architectural conservation and reconstruction.