How do we reconstruct the color palette of antiquity? What role did plants and flora play in the creation of this polychromy world? In February 2017, I arrived in Greece for a four-month research stay, based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Like many academics, I had experienced Greece only in the summer, and the image in my mind was one of bare, rocky, sun-scorched landscapes, punctuated primarily by olives and pines. In those first February days, I explored my local surroundings, walking up into the urban pine forest which is Mount Lykavittos, adjacent to the American School. I was stunned to find the Lykavittos blanketed in wildflowers, climbing over one another in a tangled rainbow of plant life. This immediately challenged my notions of the landscape, and of the color palette of Greece.
By Mali Skotheim | August 17, 2018