The American School of Classical Studies at Athens was given the Orona Foundation Award for its short film “Twelve Decades of Discovery: American School Excavations at Corinth” on Saturday, November 21.
The Orona Foundation Award, bestowed at the 20th International Archaeological Film Festival of the Bidasoa, is awarded to both short and full-length films related to the field of archaeology. Winners are awarded in four different categories.
The American School’s film “Twelve Decades of Discovery: American School Excavations at Corinth” took the prize in the educational section.
Another of the American School’s films, “Hetty Goldman: First Among Equals,” detailing the life and legacy of the pioneering archaeologist who was the first woman to excavate in the Middle East and Greece, was the runner-up in the same category.
“Twelve Decades of Discovery: American School Excavations at Corinth” documents the American School’s long history of excavating the iconic ancient site at Corinth. The School began its important work there way back in 1896, which has resulted in many ground-breaking discoveries over the years.
Through stunning black and white photographs of the site taken in the nineteenth century, along with contemporary shots detailing ground-breaking archaeological methods used at the American School, the film highlights Corinth’s unique status in the world of Greek archaeology.
Traditionally, many archaeological ruins are located on the sites where ancient sanctuaries once stood. Finds discovered at such sanctuary sites provide insight into religious practices in antiquity, but reveal less about daily life in ancient Greece.
In antiquity, Corinth was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean. Its status as a significant urban center means that archaeologists have formed an interesting perspective of daily life in ancient Greece through their excavations of the site.
The film also highlights the strong relationship created between the residents of the modern city of Corinth and the American School during its 100-year history of excavation there. Many of those who work on the dig are residents of Corinth themselves.
Nikos Dayandas, the director of the film, reflected on the nature of the site itself, stating: “Ancient Corinth is a place of continuous inspiration. Its unending layers of history are reflected on the surface of the stones as well as on the faces of the people who have passed and continue to pass through there.”
“I hope we did it some justice; it deserves this honor and much more. This achievement would not have been possible without all the help, support, and most importantly, the trust we always receive from the American School,” Dayandas said.
The American School has created ten short films with Dayandas about its important history since 2015, shortly after George Orfanakos, Executive Director of the School, began working there, and two more are currently in production.
Orfanakos views the short films as a way of both remembering the School’s past and looking toward the future: “By capturing the remarkable people and work at the heart of the American School, these short films create historical records that can engage future generations of students and scholars.”
“What makes it even more exciting is that we are just scratching the surface and look forward to sharing many more of them with the world,” Orfanakos stated.