Posted by: lukelavan | May 11, 2010

Study Tour: Ancient Cities of SW Turkey April 2010

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The study tour of Turkey organised by Luke Lavan and Peter Talloen was an unforgettable adventure that I would recommend to anybody. To experience the fine blend of western and eastern cultures that exists in Turkey was an eye-opening experience that I will cherish for years to come. The lectures and guided tours that we received were well-planned and enriching. This study tour has renewed my enthusiasm for archaeology and has made me keener to pursue a career within an archaeological domain. Studying archaeological sites from a book can never emulate the thrill of seeing the ancient world with one’s own eyes.               

Marcus Dean (CLAS & Spanish)

My favourite site was Sagalassos.  The approach was very dramatic, with steep and twisty roads.  We were fortunate to enjoy tea and cakes on arrival, which was particularly welcome after a long journey of anticipation.  We then enjoyed the special privilege of having the entire site to ourselves.  The mountain setting was superb, and there were particularly dramatic views from the theatre.  The fact that both Luke and Peter had excavated on the site gave a special level of detail and poignancy to their commentary. Being early evening, and quite high up, the air was pleasantly cool, and the evening light beautifully soft. Sagalassos also provided the only example of a working nymphaeum complete with water.  Seeing this brought home the luxury of clean water and helped reconstruct the other examples which were now empty, dusty stone basins.

There were many other highlights, such as the beautiful white and turquoise waterfalls at Hierapolis, and the excavated houses at Ephesus, where in some cases several layers of decorative schemes could be seen.  The Hotel Medusa was an excellent base, and the vegetarian cuisine was some of the best food I have tasted anywhere, and of a quality which would put many London restaurants to shame.  An evening lecture there after a swim in the Meditteranean sea enabled us to make sense of the different site plans. Peter was a fresh, knowledgeable, good-humoured and enthusiastic guide, and very different to how I imagined a research associate. 

Toby Huitson (School of History)

There were many things that I enjoyed about this trip. The great value for money meant that I was afforded an opportunity to experience another culture across two time periods: then and now which I otherwise would not have had. Some of the most thrilling sites we visited were those which required a lot of physical effort to get to. They were often far from any main track and were nestled on the side of a mountain affording us the same astonishing views that would have been available in ancient times. The remoteness of these places allowed me a real understanding of all aspects of the geography of the ancient town. I found this trip invaluable in many ways. I wished for an excursion that set my studies in context and it did just that and more. It allowed me to visit the shops, walk the colonnaded streets, and peer into the tombs which I had spent many months looking at in text books. It brought my studies to life in a whole new way. But it also enabled me to meet a new group of interesting people, of all ages, who enjoyed the same area of study as me.                  

Leaphia Darko (CLAS and English Literature)

The Turkey trip was an absolute eye-opener and showcase to the complexity and splendour of the Classical World, something which I was unaware could have spread so comprehensively to Turkey. I have always had a desire to travel to this country, a place only recently in the sights of the tourist masses. However, for the majority of the tour, we avoided the large highways, sticking to routes used mainly by the local people; in so doing, I got a taste of the real Turkey, and the sights that attracted people there in the first place, particularly the impressive landscapes. I knew very little of Hellenistic and Roman history before the trip, but learned information that will stay with me, partly helped by being in the places where these cultures and societies played out. More importantly, having two incredibly knowledgeable people leading our visits to the sites, Luke and Peter, who are utterly devoted and passionate about their subject, ensured an unforgettable six days.               

Robert Weber (History and Spanish)

The trip to South-West Turkey in April 2010 has been an extremely worthwhile experience. Being a history student, my knowledge of Hellenistic archaeology was limited before I went to Turkey, yet being a part of this experience has inspired me to learn more. Some free time at Ephesus led to a small group of us being at the theatre at the same time as a group of young Turkish children were rehearsing a traditional dance routine. To be able to be seated right at the top and still see and hear clearly what they were doing was an incredible experience, and to hear the applause of the fifteen or twenty spectators echo around the theatre meant we had a far greater appreciation for what it might have been like thousands of years ago at its full capacity of 25,000.                      

Kerrie Body (History)

Posted by: lukelavan | March 29, 2010

Classics Bacchanalia!

The students have organised another C&AS party. Details are as follows:

  • Theme: Archaeologists and Ancients
  • Date: Sunday 4th April
  • Time: 7:30pm
  • Location: Darwin Missing Link
  • Drinks, snacks and DJ all included.
  • Prizes for the best costume.
  • And a few other surprises on the night!
Posted by: lukelavan | December 11, 2009

Classics Christmas Party

Time:9:30PM Friday, December 18th
Location:Peter Brown room in Darwin Missing Link, Canterbury Campus
Posted by: lukelavan | November 6, 2009

Archaeological Fieldwork Evening 2009

*The Kent Archaeological Fieldwork Evening 2009*

Tuesday 24th November 19:15 – 22.00 Grimond Lecture Theatre 1

An evening of illustrated lectures: free, and open to all. Come and hear about the trials and triumphs of Kent teams in Italy, Greece, Lincolnshire .. and Kent, excavating and surveying sites from Minoan to Medieval in date.


Lloyd Bosworth Canterbury Campus Survey 2009


Dr Gittos / Dr Thomas Lyminge 2009: an Anglo-Saxon Monastic Site

Dr Steve Willis Excavation and Fieldwork on the Lincolnshire Wolds: Survey, Settlement and Saxon Gold


Dr Evangelos Kyriakidis Minoan Peak Sanctuaries in Crete 2009

Dr Efrosyni Boutsikas Ritual Performance and the Cosmos: Ancient Greek Mystery Cults

Dr Luke Lavan Late Antique Ostia 2009: a Nymphaeum, the Palaestra of the Baths, and a Late Roman Temple.

The lectures will be held in GLT1, Grimond Building, University of Kent, Canterbury campus. Parking at the Gulbenkian Theatre, which is adjacent to the Grimond Building. Places are limited, so to reserve a place please email Laura Withers at with the subject line ‘Fieldwork Evening’. Refreshments will be provided.

by Henry Scott, CLAS undergraduate submitting dissertation on

“Does Religion on Delos reflect the Culture of the Hellenistic Period?”


Having spent the last year immersed in books about Delos, I was beginning to tire of my studies of the island. However, all these feelings have now been rejected, lost and generally sent spinning away into space, since being able to visit it. This was possible thanks a Travel Grant from the Dept of Classical and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent.

Delos is like a giant Classicists’ playground, with sights and sounds to delight your eyes and ears. The weather was incredible and people were warm. Even the journey across which took two and a half days each way was well worth the effort. I soon found myself clambering over rocks to see Mount Kynthos, in search of the fabled cabanes neolithiques and searching for the Foundation of the ‘Poseidonists of Beirut’, developing an original understanding of the monuments.


 On Delos, I understood. Standing on the top of Mount Kynthos, I realised that my previous assertion that it would be too high to climb was far from true. Indeed, one of the greatest aspects of visiting Delos was to be able to imagine the everyday lives of normal citizens, specifically in terms of religious worship. I felt the immense power of the Colossus of Apollo, next to the massive stoa to Philip V of Macedonia. The intricate beauty of the Hellenistic mosaics in the House of Dionysus and the House of the Masks, all explained to me why I was studying both Delos and Classics.


 I would like to thank all those people who enabled me to go to Delos from my dissertation tutors to the department who granted me the Travel Grant. If an opportunity such as this is sent your way take it: ‘don’t waste a minute of it’.

 Henry Scott 04/05/2009


Posted by: lukelavan | April 24, 2009

Archaeology of the Campus

A Standing Building Survey of Beverley Farm


by Students of CL621 ‘Fieldwork Methods and Techniques’


The campus at Canterbury is not only well-situated, looking out as it does from the chalk downs to the Cathedral, but it is also full of archaeology.

One such site is Beverley Farm, where the university began in the 1960s, a 15th century farmhouse on the site of a much older settlement. The site has never been surveyed, so group of students from Classical and Archaeological Studies took a Saturday afternoon to begin a survey of the structure, in the company of Ges Moody (Thanet Archaeology) and Andy Bates (graduate of 2008, now working in professional archaeology).

Students enjoyed planning the site using a state of the art ‘total-station’ machine, and producing a measured drawing of the timbers, in which many new features were revealled. The building has been extensively modified during its history. We were able to pinpoint a number of structural features that suggested that part of the 17th c. addition had been shortened, with at least one ‘bay’ removed. Re-used timbers were identified in this section that may have come from an earlier phase. Joints, peg holes, pegs and tool marks were recorded in the hope that further analysis can determine where they have come from. Luke Lavan (lecturer at Kent) took photographs, whilst student Helen Harrington supervised the drawing.


A report on the work will form part of student assignments for module CL621. Hopefully this will be the first of many campaigns to analyse the building, and its surrounding landscape, which becomes more fascinating by the day. This hillside has seen occupation from prehistory throughout the Roman occupation and middle ages, and boasts sites of varying date, the most spectacular being a moated manor house and medieval tile kilns, which attracted even C4’s Time Team in 2000, when one of the them was excavated.

After a wet and cold winter, in which campus geophysics and survey work has been miserable, it was great to get out into the spring sunshine and enjoy what our campus has to offer: a day watching rabbits munching the green amidst the daffodils, looking down on the Cathedral, in the company of professional archaeologists who know how to get the best from one of our hidden historical sites on campus.

Luke Lavan 23/03/2009

Posted by: lukelavan | January 29, 2009

Welcome to Kent !

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the blog of Classics & Archaeology at Kent. Through this blog we hope to keep you in touch and informed about all of our activities, whether it be re-excavating the old digs of Mussolini in the Roman city of Ostia, or publishing new papyrus texts recovered from the wrappings of Egyptian mummies.

The department is growing and active, and we look forward to giving you an inside perspective on our teaching, research and recreation !

There are few university campuses as beautiful as ours at Canterbury, and we hope that what you see here will inspire you to visit us for one of public events at which we present our research to the public and our current and former students.

Happy Blogging

Dr Luke Lavan, University of Kent

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