Wilhelm Dorpfeld German archeologist and historian 1852- 1940

He is the founder of the scientific approach to archeology for he came up with the theory of stratigraphy which is the recording of strata to enable you to use the objects found in the correct manner. He is however most famous here for his Bronze Age excavations that took place

from 1900-1910 Tombs near Nidri

and he was the originator of the thought that Lefkás was Homer’s Ithaka. Displayed below is the Odyssey boat but here it’s in the harbour on Meganisi.

I have even watched a BBC4 program where they went in search of the physical evidence based on passages from the Odyssey itself ending in Lefkás with a trip on the boat in the picture which I have been on and it’s very informative. Dörpfeld did many evacuations in the area including Meganisi

Meganisi
Meganisi

but anything more than hearsay cannot really be proven which is unfortunate. I think the modern conclusion to the theory is that it is Ithaka that Homer lived on, not Lefkás despite Dörpfeld’s exhaustive efforts.

He is however commemorated on the island by having the bus stops in Nidri dedicated to his memory. This is because he believed that the bay of Nidri (this picture is also on display in the Gramophone museum Lefkás town) Nidri

Nidri

was Homer’s base for the setting of the start and end of the Odyssey. He also thought the bay of pigs was Sivota bay.Sivota

Sivota

You can also get hold of a book Wilhelm Dorpfeld in Lefkás that tells you all about himself and the work that he did on the island. I have read it and it’s quite informative. It’s the best source of information around and the black and white pictures in this post come from that book.

The picture of his grave is at Geni which is across the water from Nidri and very close to Agia Kiriaki church. He also has the honour of a street named after him in Lefkás town.

There is an Archeological museum In Lefkás Town with a room full of his finds in Lefkás town but more were destroyed by a fire that happened not long after they were discovered in the place that they were being stored nearby the excavation site.

It is quite difficult to get hold of information about him in English but the above mentioned book and museum I linked to earlier is your best bet here. You can find out more about him in the museums in Athens.

However, the majority of it is in German. I have previously come across a PHD document written by a Greek that is in English online. However, as with all things you find when your not really looking for them; there really difficult to locate when you actually need them. Wilhelm Dörpfeld founded a school of archeology in Athens so you do occasionally come across gems like that document but just like gems they are very hard to discover again after you have initially found them.

As a consolation prize here is the Wikipedia article on him

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Dörpfeld

Do you know of any little known people from your country who deserve to be more famous?

Best wishes

Angela

Comments

10 comments on “Wilhelm Dorpfeld German archeologist and historian 1852- 1940”
  1. a e i o u ! says:

    Thank you for this interesting read. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to provide an interesting mix as then there will be something that everyone likes. Thankyou for your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. a e i o u ! says:

    You certainly provide an interesting mix of reads. Looking forward to more of your explorations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been writing quite a lot today as it was rainy so I couldn’t do what I initially planned to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. a e i o u ! says:

        Ah! The joy of writing when its raining without interruption.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes that is quite good I’ve found.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating! I was not aware of Mr. Dorpfeld; thank you for the article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. He is a rather niche interest just like anything here as I’m finding out.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes only in Lefkás, Athens and possibly Germany.

          Liked by 1 person

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