The film begins in 2002 but the actual story dates back to 1987 when the archaeologist Petros Themelis is assigned the excavation of Ancient Messene. In the peaceful setting of mountainous Messenia, in western Peloponnesus, the archaeological site is a messy and abandoned place. In the years that follow all the signature buildings of the ancient city, founded in 397 BC to accommodate the exiled Messenians and withstand the pressures of Sparta, come to light. The fortification walls, the theater, the Stadium, temples, private residences, funerary monuments, inscriptions. Slowly, painstakingly, but steadily, the geography of an immense city emerges, developing like a photograph in a darkroom. It provides the context for the traces of those who had inhabited this place in the past, traces of prominent figures or bones of people without a name, at times clear and at times vague. Nevertheless, an effective restoration project comes to add to the monuments their missing third dimension: the city now becomes intelligible, people repopulate the landscape and monuments acquire new life and uses. The Third Life of Messene has just begun.