I was just looking over Troels Myrup's blog Iconoclasm and noticed a post he did a few months back entitled 'Staying Behind.' It featured the gravestone of G.L. Harding and reflected on the fact that many foreign archaeologists end up being buried in the land where they dug, rather than the one in which they were born.
While I was on the Regular Program, I tried to document all the graves of archaeologists that we came across. Some are buried on the very site they excavated:
The gravestones of many archaeologists reference the ancient world or the work they did in life:
Carl and Elizabeth Blegen, whom I have discussed numerous times on this site, are buried beneath a headstone that mimics the grave stelae from Mycenae.
Adolf Furtwangler is a total legend. His impact on the study of the ancient world was enormous. John Boardman remarked that he was "probably the greatest classical archaeologist of all time."
Eugene Vanderpoole was the Mellon Professor (the Professor of Archaeology) at the School exactly 50 years ago. It was he who dragged Pierre McKay all over Greece. As Kostis Kourelis has pointed out, his house was considered something of an architectural superstar in Athens. I most frequently heard about Vanderpool in reference to life at the School during WWII. He was placed in a concentration camp and survived, but his health was never the same after. Whereas Furtwangler was a legend for his scholarship, in the many tales that I heard, Vanderpool was an altogether different sort, a giant, much beloved, a war hero. His presence and heroism still hang over the School, especially in the tender words of those who remember him.
While at the American School, the monumental personages buried there at the First Cemetery became much more than names to me. They suddenly became the teachers and mentors of friends and of my own teachers and mentors. They became the topics of stories, reminiscences and School myth. They stopped being just recognizable names on book covers and beneath article titles. They're no longer just bibliography.
The First Cemetery is extraordinary for the simple fact that it preserves and also recreates a community. Granted, most of the people in that fenced-off section were of the same social class, almost all were foreigners, and all were non-Orthodox (mostly Protestant and Catholic) - they were already bound to run in the same circles. But a large percentage were part of an intellectual family tree, a community with connections across nationalities and zig-zagging relationships down through decade after decade. They're all there together under the shady pine trees. Young archaeologists can visit the First Cemetery and literally see their social and academic ancestry there before them. Name after name is instantly recognizable and meaningful. It occurs to me that nowhere else in the world will I ever know so many names of the dead in one place, in one cemetery. Nowhere else will I have so many connections to so many headstones.
What an odd and uncanny thing!