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James Monroe grad dug Athens
Stafford County man gets chance to be part of international dig in Athens

Date published: 8/24/2006


AS A SENIOR in college, I spent much of my last term down in a pit every morning, scraping dirt with a little trowel.

It was an archaeology class and we, the students getting six credits and a tan, were searching for evidence of a small academy that predated the college on the back of the current campus.

Compared to those ruins, which were a few hundred years old, the work that Adam Janney of Stafford County did this summer was downright ancient.

The graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland joined several dozen college students, doctoral candidates and a collection of others at the decades-old excavations at The Agora in Athens.

From June until August, the James Monroe High School graduate found himself digging in four different trenches, some of which produced artifacts left there long before the birth of Christ.

Janney was one of the few American students and recent grads to get the opportunity this year, thanks largely to a class he took with professor John Camp.

When not teaching in Ashland, the professor runs the excavation in Athens, conducted by the American School of Classical Studies there.

Janney, who got a degree in history, said he jumped at the opportunity to get a firsthand feel for the history and society of the ancient Greeks.

Though he hadn't done much archaeology before his trip to Athens, Janney said the supervisors at the dig gave him and the 45 others a quick primer on how to slowly scrape their way into the ancient soil.

Soon enough, he was looking for artifacts, changes in soil color and texture, and any other clues that the ancient rock and ground might yield.

He and the others were digging on the site of The Agora, the major hub of activity in ancient Athens.

The American School of Classical Studies online describes The Agora as a marketplace and civic center.

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