One of the volunteers at Zagora this year was Sue Jorgenson, who participated in the first three weeks of the project. Sue Jorgenson had trained as an archaeologist but decided upon a career in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra. She satisfies her archaeological passion by volunteering on archaeological projects every few years – this year, at Zagora. Imagine our surprise when we learned that she is the sister-in-law of Raymond de Berquelle, the official photographer of the Zagora project during the 1970s! (Sue’s sister, Valerie, is married to Raymond.) Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to some of Raymond’s 1970s Zagora photos in AAIA flickr sets. On learning this, Sue provided me with Raymond’s contact details, and I had an email exchange with him. Raymond kindly provided information about those days – which prompted me to go with some of our team to the Menites Pork Festival on Sunday 6 October 2013 to take some photos of Menites because that is where the team stayed during the 1970s archaeological seasons. Raymond kindly provided information about the photos I took, which forms the basis of this post – without which this post would have been possible. Many thanks, Raymond.
How Raymond de Berquelle became the Zagora photographer in the 1970s
As Raymond told me: ‘I worked at The University of Sydney in a different department and was seconded to the Department of Archaeology only for the duration of the digs. This assignment continued for ten years, five in Andros and five in Torone*. On my return to the university I had absolutely nothing to do with archaeology. I might be sent to take pictures in an operating theatre or at a university farm or in the Vice Chancellor’s office etc.’ *Torone is the location of another of Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens’ excavation projects in Greece.
Accommodation and working spaces in the 1970s
Menites is probably about the same distance from Zagora as Batsi, where we are staying this year – and where we enjoy the proximity to the water for a swim (right across the road) and also to the excellent nearby restaurants and bars where we can relax and unwind in preparation for the next week’s work. Menites is a lush green place, suffused with the sound of running water, high on a hill with views to valleys and hills beyond. As many of us agreed, Menites is a serene place where it would be marvellous to rent a room to do research or write or paint. And then just pop down the street for a meal or other refreshment, to return to your room reinvigorated and inspired for further creative pursuits. Or, to run a photographic studio, store room and office during an archaeological season, as was the case here in the 1970s.
The 1970s team rented rooms in what was then Mr and Mrs Stratis’ house, glimpsed high up in the following picture (white house with blue shutters). Raymond told me in the 1970s ‘there were narrow steps from the road up to a terrace at the front of the house. The terrace was beneath those blue shutters. Mr and Mrs Stratis lived on the ground floor. On the first floor Professor Cambitoglou and Dr Richard Green had rooms and on the second floor, the rest of the personnel had their rooms’. We were only in Menites for a short while on this day and, although Sue and I tried a couple of sets of stairs to get closer to the house, both appeared to end at private property and we didn’t want to intrude, so we didn’t pursue it. So I was unable to get a photo of more than the following glimpse of the house (which I wasn’t sure at the time was the 1970s dig house anyway).
Remembered locally – “Oh Ray photographo”
Raymond told me he had been known by the locals as “O Ray photographo”. He asked for his warmest regards to be extended to those who may remember him, in particular to a local priest, Andreas Stratis and Julia Hatziglou, who ran a local restaurant which is now under different management – next door to where the Menites Pork Festival was held, and under the same large shady walnut trees.
As Sue and I don’t speak Greek, we were helped by Zagora team member, archaeologist volunteer Lea Alexopoulos, in trying to locate anyone who remembered Raymond.
We discovered that Andreas Stratis was in Athens, so we sadly missed him, and Julia Hatziglou was not at the Pork Festival. But the great news was that Julia’s daughter, Despina, was the main organiser of the Menites Pork Festival, so we got to talk to her, and took several photos of her to send to Raymond.
Despina was delighted to meet Sue, and even though Despina was young in the 1970s, remembered Raymond fondly. She said her mother, Julia, would be thrilled to hear news of him. She said they still had photographs taken by Raymond in their home.
(As an aside, it was marvellous to see Despina at the Zagora information session held in Chora on Thursday night.)
1970s Zagora photos taken by Raymond de Berquelle
Raymond believes the photographs in the following AAIA flickr sets of Zagora photos were taken by him – though forty years on, he can’t be certain of every photograph as he has taken thousands of photos since then. A web search of Raymond de Berquelle reveals what an accomplished and eminent photographer he is.
Zagora 1971 – Week 1
Zagora 1971 – Week 2
Zagora 1971 – Week 3
Zagora 1971 – Week 4
Zagora 1971 – Week 6
Zagora 1971 – Week 7
Zagora 1971 – Week 8
Zagora 1971 – Week 9