Friday, 14 March 2008

Sparta: a visit in 1914

In the spring of 1914 Agnes Ethel Conway (1885-1950) and Evelyn Radford (1887-1969) visited Sparta as part of a wider tour of the Peloponnese. Both had studied at Newnham College, Cambridge.
We found the remains of a barely recognizable theatre almost hidden in cornfields, and a bit of a Roman wall. As for the excavations of the precinct of Artemis Orthia, which have yielded the British archæologists objects of great importance in an unbroken succession from the tenth century B.C. downward, we could scarcely believe that the rubbishy foundation walls had not been built the other day by peasants. Had we come upon such things ourselves, we should have shamefacedly covered them up again and said nothing about them! A shepherd’s hut on the edge of the enclosure was infinitely better built.
The excavations had been completed under Richard Dawkins.

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