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Literature

Theodoros Papakostas, the Present Day Storyteller of Greek Antiquity

Theodoros Papakostas is the man who managed to put the science of archeology in our daily lives and make us love it. Through his stories in Archaeostoryteller, we learn in the most enjoyable way about Greek antiquity and in fact with… proof, because Theodoros Papakostas has a doctorate in Classical Archaeology and has participated in many excavations in Greece and abroad. With the Archaeostoryteller project, he tries to convey archaeological information by adding elements of pop culture (excerpts from movies, music, etc.) that are familiar to his audience, so that the connections of the present with the past become more direct and more enjoyable. Recently, his book Χωράει όλη η αρχαιότητα στο ασανσέρ; (How to Fit All of Ancient Greece in an Elevator) from Key Books publications very quickly conquered the reading public. Papakostas spoke with The National Herald about Archaeostoryteller and his future plans for the project.

How to Fit All of Ancient Greece in an Elevator by Dr. Theodoros Papakostas. Photo: Courtesy of the author

TNH: What is your project Archaeostoryteller about? How can we get involved?

Theodoros Papakostas: Archaeostoryteller is a project of public archeology, or communication of science that runs in parallel on many levels. It started through social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube) but has now been transferred to other formats, most notably the first book, How to Fit All of Ancient Greece in an Elevator, and the podcast series, namely. What I am trying to do with Archaeostoryteller is to convey valid archaeological information to the natural recipient of science who is the general public. Antiquity belongs to all of us and it is good that we can all have access to the right information. It is also time to break stereotypes and myths about our past, to stop seeing it only as distant and impressive, but to bring it to us, to make it a part of ourselves and to love it.

TNH: How is an “ancient history” born and by what criteria do you choose topics?

TP: I choose topics that I believe will either seem really interesting to the public, or are intriguing and unknown, to show other aspects of antiquity that have hitherto gone unnoticed.

Theodoros Papakostas. Photo: Courtesy of Theodoros Papakostas

TNH: What fascinates you about the science of archaeology?

TP: It is the most beautiful science. Okay, what else would I say? But it really is. It is the science that studies man himself through his tangible, material remnants, and is psychotherapeutic to all of humanity. It moves you, transports you, makes you think, places you in intense thoughts, subverts beliefs or opens new ways of thinking, overcomes racism, sexism, and homophobia, helps you better understand humanity itself and improve as a human being.

TNH: What is your favorite “antiquity”?

TP: I cannot choose! There are many. I think I get excited every time with the new one and it becomes my new favorite. Well, not always, but often.

TNH: To whom is your book, How to Fit All of Ancient Greece in an Elevator from Key Books publications, addressed and what does it bring to the reading public?

TP: The book is addressed to those who want to discover or rediscover antiquity, offering a quick, easy and cheerful presentation of all Greek antiquity, without considering that the reader should remember something specific from school. Our education and involvement with the sciences should not be entirely intertwined with the school. We all deserve the personal improvement and enjoyment of our discovery. Thus the book is an introduction to the world of Greek antiquity and at the same time it answers the most popular frequently asked questions about archaeology- how are the ancient cities buried? How are the findings dated? What is the most important find? etc.

Theodoros Papakostas on his many travels. Photo: Courtesy of Theodoros Papakostas

TNH: What is the strangest archaeological find you have ever encountered in an excavation?

TP: An ancient toilet. The soil was green and this means that it contained remnants of ancient feces. It sounds very disgusting but the study of these remains teaches us a lot about the health and nutrition of the ancient populations, information that is really very useful for a better understanding of humanity. Of course, no one said that archeology is easy.

TNH: What are your plans for the future?

TP: My first concern is for the book to start its journey in the world, and it has already begun and is being translated into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Serbian, and more to come. At the same time I am already writing the sequel and I am preparing new works for the small screen. The Archaeostoryteller project has a future.

How to Fit All of Ancient Greece in an Elevator by Theodoros Papakostas is available online.

Theodoros Papakostas’ Archaeostoryteller and Friends podcast is also available online. Photo: Courtesy of Theodoros Papakostas
Theodoros Papakostas in Florence, Italy. Photo: Courtesy of Theodoros Papakostas

The Archaeostoryteller podcast is also available online: https://bit.ly/3IuprmI.

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