Thursday, February 15, 2018

Skyros Mines

Back from fieldwork in Greece, and eager to share some ideas. One site of research was the Island of Skyros, where I traced the footsteps of the painter Georg von Peschke. Back in Athens, I was passing through the American School and I ran into Betsey Robinson, who introduced me to Ruth Siddall, the geoarchaeologist from University College, London. Over a glass of wine at Omorfo, Ruth told me about the amazing project of urban geology that she is conducting in London. Among the buildings Ruth has studied is Westminster Cathedral, the premier Neo-Byzantine church in the U.K. that contains no less than 126 different marbles, many of them from Greece. An important figure linking Greek marbles with England was William Brindley, who traveled to Greece in the 1880s and discovered a number of forgotten sources. I thank Ruth for adding a geological dimension to the on-going research on the Byzantine Research Fund at the British School that Amalia Kakissis has initiated with last year's London conference on Byzantium and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

One stunning comment that Ruth Siddall made, however, had to do with the Gennadeion Library, whose architect I have been studying. It seems to Ruth that the interior of the library might be clad with Skyros marble. 

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States