A colorful and joyful gaggle of 31 kids head down a narrow footpath to an excavation site at Ancient Corinth. They are all carrying backpacks and wearing identical green hats to protect them from the hot sun.
Hyped about becoming archaeologists for a day, they were excited about digging, sifting and making exciting discoveries.
The expedition was headed by Christopher A. Pfaff, the director of the Corinth excavations, which have been conducted at the site with little interruption since 1896 by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), in an initiative organized for the third consecutive year by Cosmote TV for its subscribers.
The initiative is designed by Cosmote History to acquaint children with ancient and modern historical and cultural heritage through experiences that are both educational and entertaining.
“The public’s response keeps growing every year,” says Cosmote TV executive director Dimitris Michalakis, who was at the event and watched the children learn about the science of archaeology.
“We have developed another program this year with one-day excursions to major archaeological sites such as Dion and the Ancient Agora of Corinth, where the children participated in interactive tours. We want the younger generations to be provided with the stimulus to learn about and fall in love with our country’s history and culture,” he adds.
The parents, a total of 22 moms and dads, stand around the shaded area marked off by the ASCSA, as the young “archaeologists” get down to digging, in groups of twos and threes.
The first cries of delighted discovery are heard just minutes later when they unearth a shell, a shard from a disc and a piece of pottery. The children’s treasures are placed in a bucket and then taken to be sieved to separate the valuable objects from dirt.
After a lunch break in the small village located just a few meters from the site, the next step is to clean all the different fragments carefully and then reassemble them.
This part of the process is conducted on benches below the Castle of Acrocorinth and the Temple of Apollo, with basins of water, toothbrushes, paper towels and sticky tape. Under Pfaff’s guidance, the children’s discoveries start to take shape.
“This is the start of a process that will help the children become acquainted with their history and culture, but also to learn about how we know what we know about the past,” says the archaeologist.
“It is so easy to show them here in Greece. In other places, like the US for example, we conduct similar programs for children but often have to create artificial conditions like digging pits and filling them with dirt. Here, you’re bound to find something wherever you dig.”