Field research in Vergina: a very long day…

Today we met at 9.30 in front of the museum of Aigai. Students were split in mixed teams and asked to use the questionnaires built and revised collaboratively during the pre-course education sessions to interview the four types of stakeholders: visitors of the site, site employees, shop owners, and local residents. The number of teams was decided based on the estimated number of each type of stakeholder and announced at the end of the previous day. For example, considering the popularity of Aigai, four teams were asked to interview visitors, whereas only one team was assigned the site employees. Also, some of the teams, depending on the availability of internet connection, filled up the questionnaires online, while others worked the old way, with pen and paper. Although the main purpose was to conduct interviews, of course the implied objective was to also observe the area and the behavior of people in and around the site. One of the teams entrusted with interviewing the visitors chose to actually observe how visitors experience the museum and noted down their reactions to each artifact, before moving on to interviewing them. This later gave birth to a very interesting proposal, although it took quite a long time to frame it appropriately.

In the meantime, we, the organizers of the program, had the chance to listen to the explanations and opinions of the director of the museum, Aggeliki Kottaridi, who, despite her very busy schedule, agreed to spare one hour to discuss the challenges that someone in her position faces every day.

After a quick lunch, when all teams were asked about the status of their research and their first impressions, the students went back to make more interviews, before we meet again in late afternoon, to walk back to one of our guest houses for a workshop that asked students to prepare for their presentations to be given the next morning.

The workshop asked students to simultaneously work on two tasks: share and analyze their data with other teams who worked with the same category of stakeholders, and suggest some ideas for strengthening the public archaeological value of the site of Aigai. The next day’s presentations were to include a team presenting data from each category of stakeholders, followed by proposals by each field research team, followed by feedback from the the vice-mayor, the archaeologist, Mr Grekos, local high school children and residents.

As almost always in GSP programs, the workshop went well over time. We were lucky that the TAs arranged for us to have dinner delivered so that we could use our time most effectively. Eventually, we were practically “thrown out” at 11.30pm by the owner of the guest house who wanted to go to sleep…

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