Squeeze Making in the Athenian Agora

Have you ever wondered how an epigraphic squeeze is made? This summer we got a first-hand demonstration right in the heart of ancient Athens. A scholar from Berlin, Sebastian Prignitz, was visiting to take a squeeze of an inscription near the Royal Stoa in the ancient Agora of Athens – this happened to be only a few metres from where myself and another project member are excavating this summer. Sebastian was kind enough to not only allow us to take photos of the process, but showed us the steps necessary to create a squeeze from an ancient inscription. First, he cut the filter paper to fit the words, then wet the paper and placed it directly on the rock on top of the inscription. Then came the hard part: using a special brush, we carefully hammered the paper into the cuttings in the rock, trying not to rip the paper or leave any air bubbles between the stone and the squeeze. This is a short video which shows this process.

After letting it dry in the sun for about an hour, we returned to the inscription and slowly peeled off the paper, revealing our very own (beautiful, might I add!) squeeze:

Now our squeeze is safely stored and ready to be brought back to the collection in Vancouver.

Thanks to Sebastian Prignitz from Inscriptiones Graecae , Laura Gawlinski, and John Camp for giving us the permission to record this inscription and retain it for our collection.

Quick up date on the progress so far:

We met with Dr. Phillip Harding at the end of June, and he spoke to us about the history of the collection and epigraphy in general – look for a post on that soon.   We’ve begun going through the squeeze collection to determine how many of them are legible…

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