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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The 2008 Leonidas Expedition

Purpose of the 2008 Leonidas Expedition

1. To complete our search and establish a "best case scenario" for the path

2. To complete our search of the location of the Phokian skirmish

We argue that "a best case scenario" is probably the best solution that we may be able to provide given that topographically much has changed since 480 B.C. Ancient sources are incomplete and man and machine have transformed the region in unimaginable ways. For example, paths that are clearly visible in the British General Staff Map of 1943-44 simply no longer exist today. Segments of the northern slope of Kallidromos have been bull-dozed, trees have been cut down and four lane highways crisscross the mountain. Thus, a "best case scenario" for the true path, a scenario whose parameters demonstrate the best goodness of fit with our model (see below) is, we believe, the best we can hope for, for the beginning and first half of the path. However, unlike previous expeditions, we possess global positioning equipment, ground sensing equipment, aerial photos and we are also trying to obtain satellite imagery of the region. In addition, we have been greatly informed by the cumulative works from previous expeditions and our own on-site visitations in the summers of 2000, 2001 and 2002.

The location of the Phokian skirmish is another matter. Herodotus tells us that the Persians fired thousands of arrows against the Phokians who were guarding the path. The tips of their arrows were made of bronze or iron. Since such arrowhead have already been found at the pass and at Marathon (from the 490 B.C. invasion), we believe that they may be retrievable on Mt. Kallidromos as well.

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