North Aegean Architectural Networks: Thasos and Samothrace in the Formation of Hellenistic and Roman Design

14 Jun 2016


Project Description:

Northern Aegean NetworksThis collaboration between the Art History Department of Emory University (principal researcher, Bonna Wescoat) and Département d’Histoire de l’art et archéologie, Université Bordeaux Montaigne (principal researcher, Jacques des Courtils) with William Aylward (University of Wisconsin), Laurence Cavalier (Université Bordeaux Montaigne), centers on the ancient Greek architectural innovation in the north Aegean.

The goal of this project is to investigate the dynamic interactions between Thasos and Samothrace, key ancient Greek sites in the northern Aegean. Their innovative marble buildings challenged the paradigms of conventional Greek architecture, thus forging new directions that shaped the Hellenistic built environment and laid the foundations for Roman architectural design. Connections between these sites—including fundamental principles of design, technological developments, and the deployment of materials—are strongly apparent; there are also differences that draw Samothrace into the Anatolian orbit and Thasos into the Macedonian. Opportunities to deepen our understanding of their interactions have been constrained by the traditional practice of granting control of particular sites to national research teams (Thasos to the French; Samothrace to the Americans). This project aims to eliminate this barrier by approaching research questions from a collaborative rather than site-specific perspective; by sharing material, information, methods and ideas; and by involving our extended teams in the critical issues that shape and confront our understanding of architectural dynamics in the changing Hellenistic world. Activities will include three seasons of field research at Thasos and Samothrace, with targeted site exploration in Macedonia and Anatolia; graduate student colloquium exchanges between Emory and Bordeaux; video conferenced seminars joining U.S. and French students; and, a book-length, multiply authored publication of the joint research. A primary goal of the project will be to build student expertise in ancient architectural studies through fieldwork opportunities, collaborative research projects, and professional presentations leading to publication. By sharing field methods and research strategies, we aim to broaden our students’ exposure to diverse and creative ways of approaching ancient architecture while building international collaborations that will shape the field in the 21st century.

Field Seasons:

2016 Field Season

2016 PUF Field Season Group Thanks to Vincent Baillet

Thanks to Vincent Baillet for the photograph.


Senior Members: Bonna D. Wescoat, Jacques des Courtils, Laurence Cavalier, William Alyward, Yannis Poularakis.


Student Members: Vincent Baillet, Edith Guiro, Cassandre Mbonyo-Kiefer, Alice Ognier, Cody Houseman, Ashley Eckhardt, Philip Katz, Samuel Holzman, Andrew Ward.