7 days for £1,995 14 May and 4 June 2021
An interactive tour of the key Mycenaean sites including a unique ‘behind the ropes’ 3-day experience at Mycenae, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, where you will be taught how to explore, map and excavate with their archaeologists. Followed by visits to the hidden gems and famous sites of the ancient Peloponnese. Accompanied by Professor Christofilis Maggidis, President of the Mycenaean Foundation, and New Scientist editorial staff.
In conjunction with Travel Editions
DAY 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MYCENAEAN WORLD
After flying into Athens airport, you will be transferred to the beautiful seaport town of Nafplion where you will check in to your hotel for the next four nights and meet your fellow travellers.
In the late afternoon, you will take a short drive for the first of 3 days on-site at Mycenae.
It begins with a private tour of the famous citadel of Mycenae, including the cyclopean walls, the palace, the royal workshops, the cult centre, and the underground cistern, led by Professor Christofilis Maggidis, President of the Mycenaean Foundation, and the Assistant Director of the centre, Adrianos Psychas.
In the early evening, there will be a welcome reception with refreshments at the Melathron Centre of the Mycenaean Foundation with an introductory talk ‘An introduction to Mycenae and Agamemnon’ by Professor Christofilis, plus an outline of the next two days activity. Followed by a performance by a Byzantine choir. Byzantine music derives directly from ancient Greek music, amalgamating Greek and Oriental musical elements. Then back to the hotel in Nafplion for a welcome dinner.
Throughout your time in Mycenae, you will be accompanied by New Scientist’s Editor Emily Wilson (May) and Reporter Clare Wilson (June) who will give insightful talks, introduce our experts and ensure that the insight gleaned from Mycenae is set within a broader archaeological context.
DAY 2: LEARN HOW TO BE AN ARCHAEOLOGIST
After a short drive back to Mycenae, you will begin full-day archaeology experience in the unique one-acre dig simulator and working in the ATREUS Field School archaeology labs, led by field archaeologists and the Mycenaean Foundation’s experts.
The dig simulator facilitates intensive, interdisciplinary ‘hands-on’ education and practical field training in real conditions in the controlled environment of a simulated excavation field. Learn how to survey using aerial photography, ground observation and geophysical surveying. Then onto excavation, restoration and digital applications.
The dig simulator features reconstructed architectural ruins and diagnostic archaeological contexts (hearths, kiln, well, houses, shrine, cist and pit graves, tholos and chamber tombs), plotted portable finds and spatial distribution of physical remains, including artefacts (reproduced pieces of pottery, figurines, jewellery, tools and weapons) and ecofacts (casts of human skeletons, animal bones and teeth, carbonized wood, organic remains and other bioarchaeological material), and reproduced stratigraphy filled with different types of sediment (occupation layers, destruction layers, floor levels, burnt deposits).
During lunch Professor Christofilis will give an interactive seminar on field methodology and all participating guests will receive Mycenaean Foundation’s ATREUS Fieldwork Certificate.
After returning to the hotel to freshen up, Professor Christofilis will give a talk over dinner ‘The science behind the discovery of Agamemnon’s throne’ followed by a Q&A session led by New Scientist.
DAY 3: BEHIND THE ROPES AT MYCENAE
On your final day at Mycenae you will start the morning with an archaeological walking survey in an area that has not been formally surveyed yet and is off-limits to tourists. Learning about the systematic survey methods employed by archaeologists in recording, analysing and interpreting a potential site, led by Professor Christofilis and Panagiotis Psychas.
After lunch on site, you will visit the Mycenae Archaeological Museum led by the Assistant Director of the centre, Adrianos Psychas.
In the afternoon, you will take part in more ‘behind-the-ropes’ activity with a trek on geomythological paths and ancient roads: covering the site and its surroundings including the famous Tholos Tombs and the excavation site of the Lower Town, led by Adrianos and Mycenaean Foundation archaeologists.
The evening talk at the hotel will be ‘The future of archaeology – using digital technology and 3D scans to create site reconstructions’ by Professor Christofilis followed by more Q&A.
DAY 4: NAFPLION, TIRYNS AND EPIDAURUS
Today, you will start to explore more Mycenaean sites with a walking tour of Nafplion. Discover ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian buildings along with its archaeological museum. This will be followed by short drives to visit Tiryns citadel, one of the most important centres of the Mycenaean world, and Epidaurus, led by Adrianos Psychas.
DAY 5: ON THE ROAD WEST TO ARGOS AND BASSAE
After checking out of your hotel in Nafplion, you will take a short journey to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Argos. Along with Thebes, it is considered the most powerful city of ancient Greece. Here, you will find several monuments and a great museum with finds from 8th century BC to 5th century AD.
In the afternoon you will travel onto Bassae for the well-preserved and architecturally unique UNESCO World Heritage site of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios. Sited on a windswept mountain, this is the place you can really feel the presence of the gods.
In the early evening, we will check you in to your hotel Kalamata, where you can relax with a night at leisure.
DAY 6: THE HIDDEN GEMS OF MESSENE
After breakfast, you will drive to Messene, one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites in Greece. Often overlooked by visitors to the Peloponnese, it is a vast complex with ongoing excavations. Mostly built in 369 BC on the ruins of an even older city.
Returning to Kalamata, you can enjoy a final night in this bustling seaside city.
DAY 7: FAREWELL TO GREECE (OR STAY ON FOR A FEW MORE DAYS)
After a farewell breakfast, depart to Kalamata airport for your journey home.
Should you wish to stay a little longer, our partner Travel Editions can arrange further days by the beach in the idyllic villages of Kardamena, Kardymili or Stoupa.
Alternatively, travel back the Greek capital, Athens, where along with the ancient complex of the Acropolis, you can explore the Temple of Olympian Zeus, one of the biggest ancient temples of the Greek-Roman Empire and the National Archaeological Museum.
Please note: Under Greek law, the dig simulator is only open to those aged 16 or over