Last Day on Cyprus for 2014

P1010435It has been a busy day so far, unfortunately. A rooster woke me up at 4:00 am crowing about every 30 seconds, followed by a catfight, a dogfight, and a truck that was evidently being used to teach someone how to drive a stick shift – unsuccessfully. The rooster was decidedly annoying, so I will have to eat more chicken next summer as payback. Since I couldn’t go back to sleep, after about an hour of just lying there, I went ahead and got up, watched the sun come up, had breakfast, packed, and then left for Larnaka. So by 8:05 am I was in my hotel room in Larnaka with not much to do. So I repacked for the flight tomorrow and then went walking around the city. It is actually a relaxing walk in the morning in Larnaka. It is still cool and only a few tourists are moving around, and this gives you the chance to look at the interesting architecture that makes up Larnaka, and how it differs from street to street, and even house to house.

Looking back on the 3 different archaeological stops I had this summer (Polis, PKAP, and KUSP), I feel good about the summer. I think I accomplished quite a bit at each place – at Polis with Brandon’s help, and on PKAP with David and Brandon’s help. I even learned how to draw ceramic profiles, though I still need to practice a bit more. Anyway, the goals for the rest of the day are: lunch, dinner, fully charge all my devices (laptop, iPad, and Kindle), and download some new books and maybe a movie or two for the flights – Larnaka to Paris, Paris to Detroit, Detroit to Pittsburgh, or 14 hours and 35 minutes of flying time with 5 hours and 6 minutes of layovers for a total trip of 19 hours and 41 minutes. Not the longest trip in the world I know, but still not fun.

RSM

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A Dark and Stormy Night

P1010428Last night I was awoken by the sound of a heavy rainfall. Convinced I was imagining things, I went back to sleep, only to be awoken another hour later by the sound of another heavy rainfall. The wind was also whistling through the room, and the open window was making a noise that sounded like an old dot matrix printer….printing a very, very long document. When I woke up this morning, there were puddles everywhere and perhaps most importantly, my rental car had been cleaned – at least on the outside. I spent the first half of the day in the Kourion Museum looking over some of the pottery that KUSP has collected over the last two years. It was interesting to see how one year’s artifacts were all 4th-6th century AD (CRS, ARS, PRS), while the following year shifted to 1st-3rd century AD (CS, ESA, early ARS). I even ran across a few strange looking pieces that I am not 100% familiar with – I have some ideas, but nothing definite. This was particularly frustrating since there were people there with me, and when they handed me the sherds, they were expecting an answer – probably something other than my response, “Weird, huh?”

P1010432Later that day we went back to where KUSP is processing their sherds. They have this
large rooming house to themselves and it has this really nice central courtyard with lots of flowers and shade. Very scenic. Much more scenic than PKAP’s processing center at Terra Ombra – note to self, we need to do something about that. After looking at some more pottery, Tom asked me to give a workshop on Roman ceramics to his team, which I did, a bit reluctantly. Ceramics can be boring to some people, surprisingly.  I hate boring people, even though I can be quite good at it. Anyway, I took about half and hour and talked about the types of Roman ceramics I had seen in their collections and it did not go too badly.

P1010434After this, I took a ride around Episkopi trying to get the lay of the land. For some reason, I really like being able to find my way around places I am staying. Episkopi is a bit confusing since it is laid out like a typical Cypriot village with lots of narrow roads, and twists and turns. As it started getting dark, I headed back to my room. I also noticed that the darkness looks like another storm. Really unusual weather, at least compared to the other times I have been in Cyprus (17 field seasons – hard to believe, I must started when I was 20). Tomorrow morning I will get up and make a leisurely drive back to Larnaka so I can get ready for my flight back to the US on Wednesday morning.

RSM

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Lazy Sunday

P1010408Today was an off day in Kourion. I spent the morning helping sort pottery that had come in from the field last week and had been washed. This was actually a lot of fun, looking at new pottery (pottery from other projects) is a lot of fun, like opening presents at Christmas – pretty sad, huh? Anyway, after that I spent the day catching up on various projects and maybe took a nap. At dinner time, I took a ride around the area and then went to the restaurant on the beach and had some pretty good calamari as the sun went down. Not much else to say. Tomorrow will be a day in the museum, so that should be interesting, I hope.

RSM

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Short Stop in Kourion

IMG_0901Last night was a chance for the PKAP team to go out and have a relaxing meal to celebrate the end of the season. We went to a Lebanese restaurant and had a pretty good meze with an assortment of very good dips and grilled meat. Afterwards, we went for a walk along the waterfront and took in the sights. There were a lot more vendors setting up their booths than the night before, even though Kataklysmos is still 10 days away. Fortunately for us, the bumper cars were set up and open for business. Bumper cars in Cyprus are fantastic – they are twice as fast as American bumper cars, have no padding or seat belts, and the goal is always to crash into other cars as hard as you can. We all bought tickets
for 3 rides, and each ride probably lasted for about 7-10 minutes. The great thing was that we were the only ones riding the cars for 2 of the IMG_0900times, so there were no innocent civilians in the way, so to speak. It was a lot of fun, with David laughing maniacally the entire time, and Brandon super intent on nailing people with his car. The only drawback was that the first car I got in did not work and so when the cars started, mine would not go. Since I was just sitting there and not able to defend myself, the other PKAPers of course did the honorable and noble thing and did not take advantage of my helpless state…..Of course not, they all kept crashing into me multiple times and laughing their heads off until the guy in charge of the ride got me a new car and then the tide turned in my favor. As always, a lot of fun, and unlike some past years nobody was hurt. It was a nice way to end the season.

P1010402Today, after I dropped off Brandon at the airport, I drove down to Kourion – which is a fantastic site west of Lemmesos. My friend, Tom Davis, is directing the Kourion Urban Space Project – and invited me to come down and see what his project is doing, and take a look at some of his Roman ceramics. They are staying in Episkopi and I have never actually been in this village before. It is a typical Cypriot village – clean, lots of colorful flowers, and lots of friendly people. I did get a little lost following the signs to the Museum, but that is no different than driving in Pittsburgh. Once I got here, we first played the guess the pottery game. They brought out some of their pottery and we passed the sherds around and I talked about the different wares they had, as well as talking about what I look for when I analyze pottery.

After this, Tom took me out to his site and showed me where he was working. Kourion is a P1010396striking site with an amazing view of the Mediterranean from a cliff that overlooks a small beach. Part of their work was on the side of a cliff closest to the absolute edge. As we got closer to the edge, the wind became very strong. By the time we reached the area that they have been working on, the wind was blowing so hard it was actually hard to talk to each other and you had to shout to be heard. You could also see this out on the water which had lots of waves and
whitecaps. The strength of the wind reminded me of when I was growing up in Wilmington, P1010403NC and we would go out riding on our boat at full speed. A couple of times I could actually feel myself move with the wind. After showing me around the site, we went down to the beach and had lunch at a restaurant right on the water. I can remember several times when we visited Kourion and stood at the basilica that overlooks the beach, looking down at the restaurants on the beach and wondering if they were a good place to eat or not – turns out they are a good place to eat.

RSM

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PKAP….Gone

P1000421Today was the last day for the PKAP 2014 Study Season. It was not even a full day – we were actually done by lunchtime. We finished up the pottery, reorganized the crates, put everything up, and swept out the storerooms. Not much else to say. David, Brandon, and I spent the afternoon making lists of off season work that needs to be done (data entered, chronotypes added to the database, drawings inked in Illustrator, etc.) and dividing the tasks up. We then spent some time talking about next season and plans for the future. Then we went back to the room and swapped the data around so that everyone has a copy of everything. All in all, I would have to say a very productive PKAP season.

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Tonite we are going out for one last, nice meal – a luxurious meze. Maybe some loukoumades, and maybe some bumper car action. But it needs to be an early night since I have to pack up and I haven’t started yet. Tomorrow I will take Brandon to the airport (6:30 am) and then drive on to Kourion where I will be meeting up with Tom Davis who is the director for the Kourion Urban Space Project (KUSP) and taking a look at their Roman and Late Roman pottery to see how it compares to the ceramics at Polis or PKAP. I will be there for four days – until Wednesday. David and two of his students will be heading to Greece mid-morning tomorrow for some time in the Corinthia, about a week.

RSM

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T Minus 1

Today was to be our last day of work, allowing us to use tomorrow for storing artifacts, doing inventory, cleaning up, etc. I stress – “was.” As usual, things did not go as planned. Keeping with our usual end of the season tradition, an important crate of yet-to-be analyzed Hellenistic pottery was discovered. No major problem, however – we came up with a plan to solve the problem. Two people took the morning and did a pre-sort of the pottery, so that Brandon can analyze and record the pottery more quickly. This really speeds the process up. He started reading the pottery, but will need some time tomorrow to finish this up. For my part, I finished the Roman pottery this morning so it was all returned to its proper location. On the bright side, we did complete all our drawing, labeling, and photographing of artifacts. We even successfully created an accurate inventory of PKAP supplies that we can use in the off-season to order the appropriate items that need to be restocked – like bags and tags.

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The other thing that we completed today was the taking of the group photo. This is always a major event and entails argument about the location, what people should wear, etc. This year it went smoothly. Brandon came up with the good idea of taking the photo just inside the doorway of Terra Ombra, surrounded by trays of pottery. Since this was where all our work took place, it made sense. The actual taking of the photo, though, was a bit harder to accomplish. Brandon set up his mega million dollar camera on a tripod with a remote control. He then took a shot of everyone standing there to see how it looked – and it looked fine. Then he came around and stood with us and took the photo – and it looked way too dark. So we repeated the process with the same result. And again. At this point it became quite humorous, with people making wisecracks at Brandon’s expense – well, mainly me. He then had Kaylee switch sides, checked the exposure – and it was fine, and then stood in her spot and took the picture – and it was too dark.  Now everyone was having a great time with this, except for Brandon. He eventually locked the exposure and then took the picture and it worked, and then he said “I’m smarter than the camera.” I sort of think the jury might still be out on that question. And we of course took the mandatory PKAP goofy shot.

RSM

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T minus 2 or A Very Good Day

IMG_0893Today was one of the best days we have had at PKAP this season. We started our day at the Larnaka Museum. We stopped in so that Brandon could look at some of the metal objects we have collected during our survey and excavation seasons. He was able to see some of the artifacts, but we will need to wait on some of the metals (especially the coins) to be conserved and should be able to see them next summer. We then were able to look at some of our more complete artifacts that reside in the storeroom of the museum, versus our sherds which are stored at Terra Ombra. I have to confess that I had forgotten about some of the artifacts that we collected. Brandon got very excited when he pulled out a box with a basket handled amphora that included the handle, neck, and rim. It was actually pretty exciting to see how all the pieces fit together – as I reread that last sentence I realize how big of a nerd I sound like. But still, very exciting moment for the ceramicists.

After dropping Brandon and David’s students (Kaylee, Tim, and Jimmie) off at the IMG_0896museum, David and I headed up to Idalion – a very amazing palace complex north of our site. I was a little nervous because we were dropping in unannounced on Dr. Maria Hadjicosti – former Director of the Department of Antiquities and our collaborator on a monograph detailing our excavation work at Vigla and Koutsopetria. The museum at Idalion is about six years old, and a very nice looking museum with lots of open spaces and lighting, as well as some cool exhibits. We had a great visit, about three hours long, where we talked about the monograph and plans for moving it forward to publication. She even showed us some of her Hellenistic and Classical pottery from Idalion and it was nice to see how it compared to our collection from Vigla – some very interesting similarities, including basket handled amphorae.

After getting back to Larnaka, David, Brandon, and I went out to Vigla to see how our site looked and make sure that it was ok. I know that sounds strange, but we wanted to make sure that there were no…….shall we say….sudden changes in the landscape. Everything looked the same, which is great. Once again, I was reminded of what a spectacular view Vigla offers of Larnaka Bay.

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Finally, after dinner we went for a walk on the boardwalk to see how the preparations for IMG_0897the upcoming Kataklysmos were proceeding. Not only are more vendors setting up their booths, but the place that sells the best loukoumades during the festival opened up tonite. There was much rejoicing, at least on my part, and as you would expect, to celebrate we immediately went and bought……ice cream at Haagen Dazs. Why not loukoumades? That would be a rookie mistake and this is not my first rodeo, you need the people cooking the loukoumades to have time to get in the groove, perfect their technique, let the oil age, etc. Tomorrow night? Sure. Tonite? Too soon.

RSM

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