Yesterday was very productive. I was able to analyze the data of another author and arrive at the same answer as he did, so I feel confident that the SAS programs that we have devised (thanks Paul and Margueritte) are working well. I always love it when SAS is working for me.

Here’s the issue: Jari Pakkanen, a Finnish archaeologist, has been using a statistical method called the cosine quantogram (CQG) for the last 10 years or so to define the quanta that have been used in the design and construction of various buildings from ancient Greece. There seems to be no one in the archaeological world with the expertise to know if he is doing this correctly or not. My colleague has brought me in to confirm his application and results. Then we want to extend this methodology to the data that she has been gathering in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. There are over a dozen structures here that were built mostly over the course of a century, and many of the blocks remain. Her question, beyond the one regarding the appropriateness of the method, is one of hypothesis – can we then use the CQG or some other methods to compare the quanta found in two or more structures? Due to the secrecy surrounding the cult here, there is little known about it from written records. The structures were built under the royal patronage of Macedonian kings as well as the Ptolemies. If we know the quantum units (units of linear measure) used in the design and construction of the buildings, can we then infer something about the architects who designed the building and the stone masons who built them? This question goes beyond the boundaries of statistics, but one can use the tools of the discipline to test the commanality of a quantum unit to a collection of structures.

The subject of the quantum used in ancient Greek architecture has been intensely debated among scholars dating back to the 19th century. Although the Romans and the Egyptians had standardized units of measure used throughout their empires, it appears that the Greeks had standards that were more local in nature –  i.e., there was no National Bureau of Standards in ancient Greece. A relief (such as the Ashmolean relief or the Salamis relief, housed at the Piraeus Museum) would reside in the village marketplace (or agora) and would serve as a local or regional standard. Some scholars insist that there were no more than 3 standard quanta used throughout the ancient Greek world, while others aver that many more were used. If the latter is true, and if we can identify differences in quanta used in our different buildings, then we gain further clues to the origins of the architects and /or stone masons.

For the moment we are dealing with measurements from the footprint of the buildings. We also have the measurements from the blocks used in construction, as well as the finer measurements from the blocks (think triglyphs, mutules, and guttae, for all of you architectural aficionados out there). Now that I have beaten one of Pakkanen’s datasets to death, I will be moving on to our data this week.

Thus I really felt that the great god of SAS was smiling on me yesterday. Now if only the great gods of NIH and NSF will smile upon me AND shower me with gold…

I leave you now with a couple of pictures of our workspace in Hall E.

I am occupying almost half of this table with my stuff – I have the side where the chair is, from the corner where you can see a bit of a green file folder, all the way down to the tripod legs (projecting over the table toward the fan), on which my gigapan is mounted. Here’s another shot:

Yes, I’m packing two computers. The one on the left is a MacBook. It is truly my personal computer – I manage my pictures and music on it. I use it here to write my blog posts, check email, surf internet, etc. while the machine on the right (my work laptop) does the heavy lifting. Right now it is uploading a Gigapan (more on that tomorrow) and later on I will use it for SAS analysis.

More tomorrow…