Well, my experiment with TrapIt to see if it worked as well in gathering ceramic related content, as it did with digital history and iPad related content is over and it did not go well. For weeks it would not find anything and then when it did, it was not the right type of stuff. This did not surprise me or bother me since I still could use trapIt for my usual reading. I have to admit I use it every day and have really enjoyed it. So, I was taken aback to find out I missed the announcement of TrapIt closing down. Yesterday was the last day and I have to admit to being very disappointed.
I did receive a response to this post:
As I continue to think about Cypriot Red Slip, or Late Roman D, I decided to enlist the aid of one of my favorite apps – TrapIt - which is a personalized content discovery program. You enter in your search terms and the program pulls in internet blogs/articles/etc that deal with the topic. As it finds articles, you mark them as like or not relevant, and the program uses your ratings to refine its search. I have been using it to find articles on digital history, Roman archaeology, online education, and iPad apps and have found it to be very helpful and accurate in its content. So, I put in Cypriot Red Slip and waited to see what it would find. What it found was five blog entries from Bill Caraher this summer about our work in Polis. The search for Late Roman D found 15 articles, none of which were close to being relevant. It will be interesting to see what comes up in the upcoming weeks, or if these terms are too specific and the program works best for broader topics.
Since the season at Polis ended, I have been thinking a lot about the Cypriot Red Slip (CRS) forms we analyzed this year. Bill Caraher reflected a bit on this last week in his blog. The number of CRS sherds we discovered was pretty amazing, and has provided us a large corpus of data that offers several different avenues of research. What was especially intriguing was the number of large vessels we saw, particularly large basins with an unusual rim (Form 11). I have been reading various articles and site reports to see if I can find parallels. There is a lot of debate going on about CRS with scholars trying to modify the dating of the ware (both earlier and later), and trying to determine the location of the manufacturing location. Recent work in Turkey has located several manufacturing centers, but these locations manufactured dishes and bowls – not basins. As Brandon Olson remarked at dinner one night, the larger vessels would not travel well and were probably manufactured locally. The problem is that a kiln for the manufacture of CRS has not been found on Cyprus yet, much less near Polis. There has not been a large-scale archaeological survey conducted recently in the larger Polis region, and it raises questions as to what might be found if one was conducted.
So, on Wednesday we returned to Larnaka to take care of a few things – like making copies of data sheets and swapping data. That night we went out for a last dinner and then took a walk along the boardwalk to enjoy Cataclysmos or Kataklysmos – a water festival. The original festival might have been tied to Aphrodite or Deucalion, but eventually came to celebrate Noah’s flood. To make it even more confusing, its date of celebration is now tied to Pentecost. Towns throughout Cyprus celebrate this festival with a few days of games, throwing water on people, music, and food. In Larnaka, however, it seems to last for several weeks. On the boardwalk numerous booths are set up for games of chance (or perhaps the more appropriate name would be games of no chance) and the selling of an assortment of strange items – stuffed animals, toys, balloons, cds, alcohol, strange foods, and clothing. There are also rides, the best of which in my opinion is the bumper cars – which are faster and less padded than American bumper cars. Even better, unlike bumper cars in the States which have to be driven in only one direction and head-on collisions are not allowed – the Cypriot ones are basically a free-for-all where you can drive in any direction and head-on collisions are common. What I like best about Kataklysmos is the loukoumades – which are fried dough balls soaked in honey or a sugar syrup. All along the boardwalk there are many different tents set up for people to sit and enjoy their loukoumades while watching the crowds stroll by. My main problem is making sure that I do not eat too many. My first visit to ancient Corinth included a bad experience of eating way too many loukoumades, feeling very ill all night, and lying on the bathroom floor feeling like I was going to die. As I lay there, I could hear the music from the village playing late into the night, and especially clear was one loud group that had a clarinet as the featured instrument so it was wailing away up and down the scale. Since then I have been more careful in my loukoumades consumption. I will have to say that this year Kataklysmos looked smaller to me with fewer people in attendance, which might have been because it was a Wednesday night and not a weekend.
Today was the last work day for our season in Polis this summer. I finished cataloging the last few sherds while Bill worked on collecting and cleaning up our data. Tomorrow when we get to Larnaka, we will have a data swap so that Bill, Brandon, and I all have a copy of the latest databases, as well as copies of all photos. After finishing up the cataloging, I put up trays, returned artifacts to their proper location, and broke down our pottery sorting tables. All in all, it was a successful season. I feel that we accomplished our original goals for the season, as well as collecting a lot of useful data – not always the case.
It was a short morning, so I spent the rest of the day packing, and trying to keep my luggage as light as possible – I even brought a luggage scale with me to help avoid overweight baggage fees, if possible. We settled up our bills for the hotel and are pretty well set for a return to Larnaka tomorrow morning early, so we will have time for us to run a few errands – like scanning some data sheets, etc.
Today we finished the last of the excavation levels we wanted to complete analyzing this summer. I have to admit that there was not a lot of exciting sherds in the last three boxes. After finishing these, we moved on to looking at the inventoried items from the levels we have been analyzing. If, while the team was excavating, they came across a complete or nearly complete vessel, or a particularly distinctive artifact – they would set it aside and have it processed for inclusion in the registered finds which are kept in a separate place in the apotheke. So we looked through the database and pulled out the registered finds from the levels whose context pottery we have already examined. One of the registered pieces was a plate base that had half of a cross on it. Since it was a very distinctive cross, I remembered seeing another sherd that was very similar to it in the context pottery. When I compared the two pieces, I realized that they fitted together and formed a join. Since they came from different levels in the excavation, and actually from different years of excavating, it helps tie some of our excavation levels together chronologically. It was a stroke of luck – sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
So today we made a big push on the pottery analysis. Instead of breaking in the middle of the day, Bill and I stayed at the apotheke and worked straight through from 7:00 AM-6:00 PM – with a short break for a mixed sandwich (ham, lountza, bacon, halloumi, tomatoes, and cucumbers) and some fries. We were able to get through most of what we need to analyze (12 of the 13 trays) – so that means we will not be scrambling to finish before we leave on Wednesday. The pottery was interesting to look at, and full of surprises when compared to other levels – we saw a lot of different types of ceramics that we had not seen this season so far. First, there was a lot of Cypriot Red Slip (a Late Roman fineware) in every box, and several forms or shapes that are not common on Cyprus. The other thing we noticed was that the levels we were examining had a lot of domestic items – pots, sieves, frying pan handles, etc. Despite being a long day, it was actually pretty exciting.
A Cooking Pot Lid
A Phocaean Red Slip Rim (Form 3) – a very nice one