Revisiting George Cram Cook and Other Delphic Surprises

George Cram Cook's grave. Click to enlarge photo

George Cram Cook’s grave. Click to enlarge photo

Back in August, when I wrote about the unusual life of George Cram Cook and his death and burial at Delphi, I promised to add a photo of his grave.  Artemis Leontis of Michigan University kindly sent me her own photos of Cook’s and Eva Palmer’s tombs at Delphi, but I hesitated to post them because I felt that I had to visit Cook’s grave myself. Moreover, as an archaeologist, I was curious to examine the ancient block that had been used for his headstone. Susan Glaspell in The Road to the Temple described it as “one of the great fallen stones from the Temple of Apollo” (1926, p. 343). But by the time Elias Venezis referred to Cook’s grave in his American Earth, the block had assumed the shape of a column “συντροφευμένος από μια κολόνα του Ιερού των Δελφών” (1955 [1977], 301). Was it a block or a column drum?

On September 24, Tom Brogan and I drove to Delphi to hear the papers of Tom Levy and his team at a conference on virtual reality in archaeology. Before going to the conference center, we made a brief stop at the local cemetery, which is located above modern village near the southwest edge of the ancient site.  Several foreigners are buried in the northwest corner of the cemetery. It wasn’t hard to locate Cook’s grave, two burials to the right of Eva Palmer Sikelianou’s. With a broom that I borrowed from a nearby grave, I cleaned the surface of the marble plaque and revealed this inscription: Read the rest of this entry »