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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI student digs ancient art history

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Metcalf Fellow to travel to land of Homer next month

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 12, 2006 -- What better place to learn about the ancient world than to dig for it in Greece? And that’s exactly what Narragansett resident Samantha “Sam” Henneberry will be doing next month, thanks to a $5,180 fellowship from the Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund. The fund, named after the late Providence Journal publisher, creates opportunities for college students to design an adventure that promotes personal growth through travel.

Henneberry, who is just completing her sophomore year at the University of Rhode Island, will participate in the Iklaina Archaeological Project in Pylos, Greece. The project is headed by Michael Cosmopoulos, professor of archaeology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“I find ancient art history fascinating and have come to realize how related fields such as archaeology contribute to it. I understand how important it is to examine archaeological objects as part of material culture that has survived for thousands of years,” she says. The art history and classics double major who minors in anthropology and German adds that she is eager to learn the skills of an excavator.

The project’s team will use written accounts found in Linear B tablets and accounts from Homer to further investigate the relationship between material remains and ancient Mycenaean history.

Henneberry will help clear Bronze Age tholos tombs in and around Koukounara. She will also perform surface surveys, geophysical prospections, and some museum work. The URI student acknowledges that she has always had a flair for art and works primarily with decoupage.

The team will also visit the ancient sites of the Palace of Nestor, Ancient Olympia, Methoni, the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, and the island of Sphakteria, which are normally hard to access.

The URI student credits her professor and mentor Mary Hollinshead for sharing her own experiences as a classical archaeologist and for inspiring her to apply for the Metcalf.

“Sam is smart, resourceful, and disciplined. She will take full advantage of this great opportunity and live what she’s been studying,” comments Hollinshead.

Henneberry isn’t the only member of her family hitting the books. Her sister, Melissa, is finishing her junior year at URI focusing on classical studies. Her mother, Cathy Bourne, will complete her nursing studies at the Community College of Rhode Island this fall.

Henneberry works six hours a week in the art history library. When she isn’t focused on the ancient art world, she puts in 25 hours a week, cooking for residents of the Scallop Shell Nursing Home in Wakefield. She has worked there since eighth grade.

URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno Photography