In looking at the calendar, Bill and I leave Polis for Larnaka on the morning of Wednesday the 26th since I fly back to the US on the 27th. So, since I will be taking a research trip to Nicosia on Friday, that leaves us only 6 more work days. This means that we are in the danger zone. We have to be careful with our work plan so that we do not forget to get something critical finished (like an important excavation pass analyzed), nor do we want to be running around frantically next Tuesday trying to accomplish everything – the voice of experience says that this leads to disaster. This means prioritizing tasks and estimating realistically how long these tasks will take – since they almost always take longer than expected.
On the ceramic front, we are going back through the pottery I have analyzed over the last three seasons and trying to refine my ceramic identifications if possible, looking for comparanda, and choosing pieces for inclusion in a catalog for an article on the basilica. This has been a little nerve racking for me. As Brandon said to me this morning – it is a no-win situation since if your first identification is correct, you are just doing your job, but if you find you need to change your identification in some way, then you blew it. In our work on dating the construction of the basilica, we have been focusing on the context pottery that was collected during the excavation, and this are small sherds. It was only in the last day or so that I tookthe opportunity to look at the ceramics that were pulled at the time of excavation because they were more complete, or appeared especially diagnostic. After dealing with thousands of small, broken sherds, these pieces are fun to look at because they look so nice. The only drawback to looking at the ESA plate Brandon is examining in the picture was the dead mouse in the box.
So yesterday, Brandon Olson and I, drove to Athienou. The goal of the trip was for Brandon to show Jody Gordon and some of the Athienou Archaeological Project how he uses Agisoft Photoscan. Agisoft Photoscan is a software program that allows you to create a multiview 3D reconstruction of a site or an object. It is a nifty program and Brandon and Bill have gotten good at using it. Since we needed to drop off a rental car in Larnaka, I went along with Brandon and brought the LaserScan C10 to test it out. The scanning went well, even though you could feel the difference in heat between Athienou and Polis – or at least I could. After scanning part of their current excavation, we took the scanner down into a tomb and tried it there. It was fun to watch because the green laser beam showed up really well as it worked its way around the tomb.
The Outside of the Tomb
The Inside of the Tomb (with the front cut away)
Friday is our day off at Polis. We used the morning to talk about our plans for the rest of our time here at Polis – Bill and I leave Polis on the 26th to head back to Larnaka before I fly out on the 27th. This means that we have 10 more possible work days here, and we want to make sure that we do not leave Polis and realize later that we forgot to look at some critical unit’s pottery. In the afternoon, I went out to the basilica with my IUP colleague, Bev Chiarulli, to conduct a small GPR scan of the are next to the excavated area of the EF2 basilica. Bev is on the island doing some GPR and GIS mapping for Alan Simmons’ archaeological project at Ais Yiorkis. IUP actually has 2 faculty on Cyprus doing research this summer. Anyway, she is processing the data at the moment, so nothing to show yet. After finishing up the GPR scan, we went to one of our favorite restaurants up the coast to watch the sunset – it always has a fabulous sunset, plus the pizza there is always good too.
Today was another day in the apotheke working through context boxes full of pottery. It is the last day of the week for us, tomorrow is a day off for the project. On my day off, I plan to help my colleague from IUP (Bev Chiarulli) who is on the island conduct a test run of her GPR. We plan to do this in the afternoon, so I can use tomorrow morning for catching up on various projects I have been putting off. The one intriguing artifact we ran across today was a base with a pool of glass in it. The vessel was not glazed, but looked like it had liquid glass poured into it that was then allowed to cool. It also does not look like the base had glass in it that melted when the ceramic vessel was burnt – there are no burning marks on the vessel. It is puzzling. I wanted to have a closer view of the glass, but my magnifying visor was broken on the trip over. Then I remembered an app I have on my iPhone (Magnifying Glass with Light) which allowed me a closer view and the ability to take a closeup photo. I have to remember that there is always an app for every situation.
For the last few days, as we go through the ceramics in the apotheke, we keep coming across this one type of ceramic artifact that I did not recognize. It is a flat ceramic disk with concentric grooves on one side, and a very coarse unfinished side on the other. We even found one with a small handle in the middle. It is a bit vexing not to recognize it, because I feel that I should know what it is – even though in my introduction to archaeology class I talk to the class about how hard it is to recognize an artifact’s purpose if it is something a person has never seen. In the class I bring in some obscure items from around my house – a cap for a scuba tank, a golf divot repair tool, a low drag golf tee, a clip for a shelf, etc. – and then enjoy watching them figure out what the items are. For some reason, this is not as fun. This is why a lot of archaeological artifacts are said to be religious items or gaming pieces – these are sort of the two bailout categories for hard to figure out items. Anyway, after some thought it is clearly not a frisbee, a drink coaster, or an early CD. It could be a lid/stopper for a pithos…..or a gaming piece.
So today I spent some time working with the raw data from our scanning of the basilica yesterday. I have to admit to a little fumbling on my part so far. Maybe a lot. It looks like scans together recorded 50 million points. I think the data looks good, the secret will be in extracting the data in a usable form and format – otherwise it is data for data’s sake. I took a few screen shots to show what it looks like so far, keep in mind it is still in a rough format.
The Raw Point Cloud Data – the walls show up clearly
A View with the Photos Overlaid – the triangles indicate scanning positions
Yesterday Bill and I continued to work in the apotheke looking at pottery. It was a pretty standard day, no unusual ceramic artifacts, no rats in the building. For a break, we decided today to take the Leica ScanStation C10 out to scan the basilica in EF2. The ScanStation was the result of a successful National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant that I participated on with colleagues from the Anthropology department. We spent 5 hours this morning moving the scanner from point to point to ensure that we covered the entire area of the basilica. I have to admit that the scanner is pretty boring to watch as it scans. Once we set it up, it took about 10 minutes to complete a 360 degree scan with photographs. Bill was disappointed that there were no beeps, or robotic voices, or even a “whirring” sound. It was a lot of standing around, following by breaking down the scanner setup and then moving it to another location and setting it up. We ended up taking 11 scans of the area, with no major screwups – which to be honest is usually par for us. I have to admit that this was my first long day out in the sun and it wiped me out. We have been spending our time in apothekes, which while not air-conditioned, are at least out of the sun and a little cooler.
The next goal is the processing of the data. This involves pulling it off the Leica and importing it into the Leica software – a program known as Cyclone. This actually went off without a hitch. I will post some images and scans tomorrow.