About the Portal


A generous grant from Thracean Gold Mining, S.A., a subsidiary of the Eldorado Gold Corporation (Vancouver), has enabled the Institute to undertake the creation of an interactive website, “Portal to the Past” (or Portal) that highlights the archaeological work of the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG) since 1980. The Ambassador of Canada to the Hellenic Republic, Robert W. Peck, was instrumental in creating this opportunity for CIG. This new website is designed to provide a wide audience in Canada and beyond with access to the fieldwork, the finds and the results of the archaeological and scientific research carried out under the auspices of the Canadian Institute in Greece with permits from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Cultural organizations around the world for the past decade or so have created similar online portals to make their collections accessible to the public.

Each CIG's 18 archaeological projects since 1980 have a representative sample of the imagery and information related to its research in the Portal. The information and imagery in the website is fully searchable, by project, site, find, image, institution, researcher, research expertise and other criteria. In making this available online, both the projects and the Institute will receive a broader recognition of the significant work that they have carried out in the past four decades throughout Greece in elucidating the rich cultural heritage of the country. These discoveries span from the Mesolithic period (ca 9th millennium BCE) to the 20th century CE. One can search each component for specific information.

After each field season the current project’s entries and image collection in the Portal will be updated. New projects will be added as they are approved and conduct their field work. Additional materials will be added to older projects as they become available.

In addition to the archaeological projects the Portal includes imagery and information related to the Frederick E. Winter B/W Negative Collection. The late Professor Winter (University of Toronto) donated to the Archives of the Institute his collection of B/W negatives with contact sheets that he took during a long career focused on the study of Greek and Roman defensive architecture and Hellenistic buildings. This imagery covers Greece, Turkey and Italy from 1956 to 1986.

The CIG Portal to the Past is one component of the Institute’s ongoing efforts to preserve, to organize, to store properly and to make accessible the archives of the Institute as an institution and of the archives of the archaeological projects which have held permits under the aegis of the Institute.


Languages of the Portal

The languages used in the Portal are English, French and Greek. For the present the entries in the Sites, ImagesFinds, Archives, People and Institutions components only will be in English.


Significant Features of the Portal

Throughout the Portal any text that is displayed as light blue is a "live link". That is, if one clicks on the text it will lead the user directly to the particular component, site, find, person, institution, etc. Thus, one has the option of navigating through the Portal either by following the hierarchial structure of a project, etc, or to skip from topic to topic. 

The Search function of the Portal enables the user to find directly entries that are of interest. As this function works within the descriptive texts it can identify all instances of what one is searching for. Clicking on the results takes the user to the entry of interest.


Components of the Portal


The Gallery is a feature where all of the images stored in the Portal are cycled in a random order. It provides the user with an impression of the breadth and depth of the image collection.


This content type is used to describe an archaeological activity such as an excavation, survey or study season of any of the former.

A “Project” represents archaeological fieldwork of any nature undertaken by one or more researchers/co-researchers under the aegis of the Institute with a permit from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. This permit can be for independent work or for cooperative research (synergasia) with one of more Greek colleagues in one of the Ephoreies of the Hellenic Archaeological Service. The length of this fieldwork varies from one to three years to multiple years over a period of time.

A project can have more than one type of data collection methodology or “Component” in the course of the period of the fieldwork. That is, a project could start with a regional pedestrian survey of a defined research zone which is followed by an intensive survey of one or more specific archaeological sites found within this research zone. Subsequently, the site could be excavated in some fashion. Geophysical prospecting for buried remains could be undertaken during the previous stage or before the commencement of the digging.

An intensive site survey can have “Sub-Components” that investigate different areas of the site. An excavation normally has a series of separate locations or sectors at a site where the digging is done. These can be discrete areas of the site and/or or specific buildings within a sector.

Thus, there is frequently a hierarchical structure within a “Project” producing: Project -> Component(s) -> Sub-Component(s). It should be noted that the latter two levels are not necessarily present in less complex projects and/or those with limited research objectives and/or conducted for only a few years of fieldwork. One can move up or down such a hierarchical structure within a project.

The information given for each Component or Sub-Component is focused primarily on the specific details related to it. In all cases the texts represent a succinct summary of the results. For a full discussion of the research one should consult the publications listed in the bibliography for the Project.

In addition to information concerning the fieldwork of each project, the publications relating to this research are listed in the Bibliography section. In the future the articles and the contributions in edited volumes in the Bibliography will be be available in .pdf format.

It should be noted here that the essential difference between a "Project" and a "Site" in this Portal is that a project refers to the overall research effort conducted by a particular group of researchers; a site is a specific geographical location where some form of fieldwork was done by a project and from which there is archaeological information and imagery in the Portal.


This content type is used to describe a specific archaeological site or monument, its relation to a project, its geographical location and its administrative designation. Designated sites are numbered in sequence from CIG001.

A “Site” is a specific geographical location within ancient remains where normally some form of archaeological investigation has been conducted by a project. Such sites are distinguished in the Portal when there is imagery directly connected with it. All sites that have been excavated by Institute Projects are included under this rubric. For survey results, only those “findspots” or “archaeological sites” where archaeological remains were collected and which are illustrated in some fashion by one or more "Images", are designated as “Sites”. Thus, most “findspots” or “archaeological sites” encountered in a survey are not included in this Portal.

One can navigate from a Site to its Project and vice versa.


The core element of the Portal is the “Images” component. This content type is where digital image and multimedia files are stored. They are the ultimate objects being catalogued in the CIG digital repository. These images cover the gamut of the work and the findings of a project. They range from overviews of the area of the research, examples of the research teams conducting their field and study work as well as the environs where this is done, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, maps, GIS imagery, survey transects and collection points, site plans, trench plans and sections, architectural plans and sections, reconstructions of ancient buildings, as well as images and drawings of artifacts. Each image has an unique registry number (AOnnnn.1) based on its Archive Object entry number (see below).

From an individual image one can navigate to the relevant project which created it and to the specific site (if applicable) where it was found. One can search for types of images based on the category under which they have been labelled.


The archaeological “Finds” are the artifacts (i.e. human made/modified movable objects) that have been discovered in the course of a project’s survey or excavation activities. For most projects the Finds that are included comprise a representative sample of the artifact types encountered, significant objects for determining the chronology and/or function(s) of a particular archaeological context, or are especially artistic.

These are registered in ascending order from the project which discovered them in the field (i.e. SNAP001, SNAP002, ...). One can search for particular types of artifacts or their material under the categories by which they have been designated.


This entity type is used to describe the "Archive Object" in the possession of the Institute. This can be a physical object or a digital one. A digital object must be catalogued twice. Once, as an archive object per se, and then in regard to the various versions it may come in. To be included in the Portal physical objects (pencil sketches, pen/ink drawings on velum, black and white negatives or photographs, color slides, etc.) must be digitized by scanning.

The core of this online digital archive is the “Archives” section. Information (metadata) concerning the original source for an image, the original material/format of the images, when and by whom it was created, and how it was acquired by the Institute are documented for each "Image" in the “Archives” section. A unique entry number is assigned for each item that is included.

Each archive entry is given an unique registry number (i,e, AOnnnn). This registry number is the source for the unique registry number of each image (i.e. AOnnnn.1).


The members of the research team in the field, the primary technical and support staffs, anyone who is involved in publishing the results, and those involved in the preparation of the Portal are listed under the heading “People”.

The entry for each individual in People can be basic and brief (name, title(s), Project affiliation(s) and the role(s) on it(them), institutional affiliation(s), contact email, and area(s) of expertise) or more complete as in a resume along with a photograph. Some individuals, it should be noted, have been connected with more than one project. One can navigate from an individual and these internal headings to the other categories and vice versa.

One can search for specific individuals in the database.


An “Institution” is a university or college, a department or an institute within the former, a government ministry, department or service of a ministry, a semi-independent government agency or council, a foreign archaeological institute or school in Greece, an independent research center or a funding source. All of the individuals who listed in People are, thus, associated with one or more of these Institutions. Projects often receive some form of funding and/or support from these institutions as well. All such institutions are indicated for each project. One can navigate from Institutions to People to Projects and vice versa.

One can search for specific institutions in the database.