Standing there in our bare feet we looked around. In the center of the resort, we had come across an archeological site. We were looking at the partially excavated remains of a village from antiquity. No ropes. No fences. No tourists. We stood without obstruction staring into the remains of a once-thriving company town.
This was where the Lavrion silver mine workers who provided Athens and its successor states with monetary ores lived. They were born, labored, and died in utter obscurity. And they too looked towards the sacred headland, just as we were doing now.
Money, power, coinage, war, even economic woes like those surrounding us on our visit during the Greek euro-crisis: these come and go, as the literary chroniclers of the temple knew well. So little is permanent. That the stone columns once consecrated to the god of the sea and of earthquakes still stand -- and stand in such proximity to the humbler remnants of a mining village -- testifies to how much we should value what lasts.
Annie Jacobsen is an investigative journalist and best-selling author. Her newest book is Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America.