First Month Experience in Pandemic Restricted Greece

By David Brown

My experience so far has been delightful and productive. Coming here on a three-month study grant to collect data and finish of my research masters has proven to be successful. Despite the turmoil at the beginning of the calendar year when I was first applying for this grant to come to Greece for my research masters, I can say that I am glad to be here studying and working away.

My research master’s thesis uses   geometric morphometrics on the bronze swords of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae, in an attempt to update and clarify the current 90 years old typology on these swords. After co-ordinating with the National Archaeological Museum, during the first Monday and Tuesday I was able to take scaled photographs of 48 of the swords housed at the museum for my analysis. There were 28 Type A and 20 Type B swords. This process went very smoothly and progressed at a rate that both me and the museum staff were surprised at the rate that we managed to achieve this task. The staff did look after me very well and were very kind and friendly. Hopefully in the future I will be able to work with them again on a PhD or other project.

Now, Athens.  This is a city that is still lovely and vibrant despite Covid19 and the restrictions that exist around the world. Here in Greece I feel safer than I did back in the Netherlands. People are following the rules, masks are being worn in and out of buildings, as well as their being regular cleaning of handrails, stairs, public transport, streets etc. Here I feel comfortable to travel around on public transport, using the buses or the metro. Even running here has not been a problem, although running at night with the hot temperature has produced a rather good work out.

The NIA itself has also been better than I expected in terms of my feeling safe.  There is regular cleaning here as well. I feel relaxed and clam despite the overall situation of Covid19.  I am enjoying my experience here, such as studying in the library or in my room, relaxing in the common area and even cooking. With the supermarket around the corner, I have been cooking regularly for myself. Although I do wish there were an oven here, but that might just be the British thing in me wanting to cook roasts, hunter chicken and good old oven fries.

It can be lonely here at times, but the staff at the NIA are very friendly and willing to talk, so I do not feel as alone as I could be. I am in regular contact with my family, my partner as well as my friends. I have also joined up with a local rugby team here (Yes even in Greece rugby is still played). They are a very welcoming and friendly bunch that have so far welcomed me with open arms. Subsequently as I stay here longer and longer, I am sure I will be involved in activities involving them.

So, all in all, my expectations when coming here, was that it would difficult because of lockdown, with limited travel outside the NIA and National Archaeological Museum. Yet this is not the case, with the following of the rules by the people, and a pro-active government in implementing the rules. This appear to have allowed a safer feeling in traveling than I did in the Netherlands. Plus, with the progress on my Research Masters, what more could you ask for

David Brown, Research Masters at the University of Groningen.

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