On the 26th and 27th, we held the last workshops on the campus of AUTh in Thessaloniki. On the first day, the objective was firstly of course to share findings from Pella. Here some differences with other sites were observed, such as the good relationship between the local community and the site employees, as well as the good infrastructure of the museum. On the other hand, shop owners were found to be disconnected from the site, advertisement was lacking despite innovative initiatives such as the availability of a museum app, and the small number of visitors was found to be strongly related to the way tours were organized: indeed, Pella, always figured as the first stop of tourist groups, who, as a result, only stayed in the area for a few hours in the morning.
Interestingly, the teams who interviewed the site employees conceptualized the three archaeological sites we visited during this program as follows: Vergina=Death, Dion=Gods, Pella=Everyday Life. Proposals for a public archaeology would therefore ideally need to take into account the specific qualities and historical development of each site. Perhaps, at this moment, we started feeling that two weeks were not enough to perfect our ideas. Hopefully we will have the opportunity one day to come back again to this project, but, for the moment, the objective is clear: through an extended case-study method, we were to find out about the challenges posed to public archaeology projects based on the information gathered at the three sites, and propose innovative plans to overcome some of these challenges.
On the 27th, the last day of preparations, spirits were high. We could all see the end. Hands and brains needed to move quickly to complete power points and scripts by the end of the day. The order of presentations was explained in the morning once again: the objective was to build a kind of story with members from different proposal teams presenting on the common challenges that their proposals were targeting. How specific can proposals be so as to prevent eventual criticism? What are the real challenges that each team had in mind when devising their ideas? These were some of the questions that certainly occupied students’ minds till the very end of yet another (probably the last) long day.