Archaeology Films A-Z: The Amphora of Eleusis

Title: The Amphora of Eleusis
Year: 2006
Length: 4 minutes
Made by: Eleni Stoumbou
Genre: Experimental
Authors: Eleni Stoumbou has made several short archaeology films and contributes to Archaeology Magazine. She studied documentary filmmaking at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense.

Review:  title

A delightful short video subtitled in Greek and English that takes the viewer through the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops as if it were being told to a child using the decorated amphora of Eleusis as a story book.

odysseus
MY EYE!

The soundtrack is performed in part with a Cretan lyre and compliments the subject–light and repetitive without being grating. There are some slightly cheesy Adobe After Effects and a random and jarring animation, but they don’t detract too much from the film.

child

A simple, creative exploration of an artifact that shows the potential for archaeology films to go beyond a simple expository framework. I was delighted by the presentation of the amphora and then the progression of the film to show a mother and child looking at the artifact in a museum. There’s even a slightly macabre twist near the end!

Absolutely one to show archaeology, conservation & museum students as an example of how to make a simple, engaging film using a single artifact.

5/5

(I had to skip the  previous film in the sequence, The Akha Way, as I had trouble streaming it. I’ll come back to it.)

Spinalonga

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The permit arrived on Friday just after breakfast, so we spent a bit of time tidying up the site and finalizing area assignments before the long (Saturday AND Sunday) weekend.  On Saturday I realized that I hadn’t had a day off in two weeks, and one day I had before that I spent hiking up three waterfalls inside of Wadi Mujib, a gorgeous canyon  in Jordan. So, needless to say, I was tired and spent the day mooching around site, resting, and swimming.
On Sunday I was feeling restless and while I was still tired, it was time to travel.  All of the ferries in Ayios Nikolaos had gone for the day, so we caught a ferry in Elounda to Spinalonga, a small island fortress.  Spinalonga was built in 1579 to guard against the Ottoman threat.  There are some nice ruined Ottoman houses on the island.  During the early 20th century it was used as a leper colony, and seeing as I’ve already excavated at one leper colony in Hawaii, I thought I’d visit another island leposarium.  Besides, who wants to see another classical site? Yeesh, not me.

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It was a blindingly hot day, so the hike around the island was a little tedious, but there were some nice details in the architecture and reuse of the early fortress ashlars that made it worth it.  I was also worried that it would be completely overrun by tourists, but it seemed like it was mostly Greek families who came for the nice swimming off of the battlements.  The ruins of the leposarium were unsurprisingly grim, even in the lovely setting.

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So, I got a bit of touring in. I’m not sure where I’ll go next weekend and I suppose I’ll try to fit Knossos in at some point, but I think I’ve gone into archaeological site freefall, where one pile of stones starts to look a whole lot like the next.  Speaking of piles of stones, progress in my part of the trench is a bit slow, but we’ve started to move a bit today, getting rubble cleared and walls disambiguated.  I’m working in a part of the trench that has been actively avoided until now, so that maybe says something.
More about the archaeology when I actually find something, I suppose.