The Search For Homer’s Ithaca in the British Museum

I returned to the museum one evening on my own for a special event lecture given by Robert Bittlestone, James Diggle, and John Underhill (great name for a geologist don’t you think?). About three years ago Bittlestone came up with a “what if” idea concerning the real location of Homer’s Ithaca and has since written a book titled Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca. I have this book in my class! Bittlestone is a businessman, not an archaeologist, based here in the UK and was planning a family vacation to the Ionian Islands off Greece’s west coast. He thought it would be appropriate to read The Odyssey in preparation for the trip. After visiting the currently named island of Ithaca he noticed how poorly it lined up with Homer’s description in The Odyssey. So he applied some problem solving skills, a little bit of basic sixth grade plate tectonics, and a plane flight over the island to form a new theory explaining how the island of Cephalonia was once two islands, one of which being the real Ithaca. He then teamed up with the other two presenters and the real science of archaeology/geology/classical literature began. And so far all the research is heavily in his favor. I love it! It is a great example of utilizing geology to help make sense of the “myths” of the ancient world, something I am quite interested in. I briefly spoke with Bittlestone after the lecture and he is very interested in visiting Santa Barbara (If you’re from England, who wouldn’t be?). What do you think the chances are that I will be able to take both Donald Johanson and Robert Bittlestone out for coffee back home in Santa Barbara?

1 comment:

Homeric Ithaca said...

Homeric Ithaca