Friend, mentor, and retired Foreman of the Corinth Excavations, Aristomenes Arberores passed away on February 10, 2011 at the age of 73 after a prolonged illness.
Menes, from his early 20’s, worked in the excavations at Corinth. He began in 1963 as a pickman; in the early 1970’s he acted as subforeman for the excavations in the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, and eventually rose to the position of general foreman in 1981. He trained a generation of workmen and helped teach many student field excavators. He excavated at other sites: Porto Cheli and Nemea with Charles Williams, Phlious with William Biers, Agropidochori in Elis under John Coleman, at Isthmia with both Betsy Gebhard and Tim Gregory, and Aigeira in Achaia with the Austrian School. In June of 2002, Menes retired after nearly 40 years of service to the School.
More photos of Menes on ASCSA.net in addition to the slideshow below.
Director of Excavations, Guy Sanders wrote the following:
Aristomenes was named after his grandfather Aristides. As one of six Arberores siblings born soon before and during the years of the German occupation, he grew up in a period of extreme austerity which doubtless helped to shape his character. Their house was a traditional, stone, two-story village house with a stable for the livestock below and three small rooms. There was no plumbing and the windows had shutters but no glass. His father supported the family by cultivating his 80 stremmata with wheat, beans, vegetables, and maintained a couple of hundred olives and a vineyard planted with currant vines. They had one of the fifteen yokes of oxen in the village and, doubtless, these were put to use plowing the fields of his neighbors. In addition, they kept a horse, a donkey, three goats, about 50 sheep, 80 turkeys and a number of chickens. One of Menes’ most vivid memories was trailing the sheep over the slopes of Acrocorinth.
Menes never turned his back on his past and was a mine of information about how things were done in the village before mechanization, plumbing and electricity. In fact, he was an archive of how things had been done in Corinthian villages for generations. He knew about the transhumant shepherds who stopped in Ancient Corinth in their annual migrations between the Eastern Argolid and Arcadia. He knew what varieties of wheat suited which fields and all about the traditional emboropanayiris where animals and tools were sold rather than cheap plastic toys and fake handbags of today. He knew how to stun fish by tossing armfuls of euphorbia into the sea. He knew every family in the village and whether their roots were in Arachnaion, Sophiko, Athikia, Ayiannis, Angelokastro or Limnes. He knew where the threshing floors of each of these relocated communities were in the village.
He also knew all the long forgotten names of renamed villages and topoi. He could dance, sing and play his pipes. He was an unrivalled raconteur and had an amazing sense of humor. He was the life and soul of any gathering, yet ate and drank in moderation taking pride in both his figure and acuity of mind. He was kind, wise, gentle and gave generously of his great knowledge. Last but not least, he was an accomplished archaeologist whose wisdom and skill contributed to the published work of Charles Williams, Nancy Bookides, Ron Stroud, Betsey Gebhard, Tim Gregory, William and Jane Biers among others and scores of students who worked at Corinth and elsewhere — as well as my own. The huge turn-out at his funeral bore witness to the love and respect in which he was held by the entire community of Ancient Corinth and even neighboring villages. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten.