First Day at the Apotheke in Polis

So today was our first real day back at work in the apotheke. We first went by the grocery to buy some snacks so we would not have to stop working for lunch. After we picked up the keys and unlocked the place, we spent some time opening up windows to air out the place, and doing a little cleaning. Saw lots of  spiders and walked into a fair number of spider webs. Did not see any rats, but there was one curious mouse who kept wandering out into the opening, at least until a cat walked by.


Soon it was time for the first box of pottery of the season. For my music, which is critical to proper pottery reading, I started the season off with Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas since I have become hooked on Supernatural, and then followed it up with Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard. I chose this because I saw a new video the band posted for the song with all of the lyrics. Despite the fact that the song is well-known for people not knowing the correct lyrics, I always felt I had most of them correct – after watching this video, I learned that I was incorrect and was singing some wildly inaccurate lyrics.

We were not reading any new pottery today, we were going back and reexamining some areas in EF1 to see if we could refine any of my earlier readings. I always hate doing this because I feel like I have to defend the accuracy of my earlier work. Bill doesn’t help matters because he says things like, “Well, in that pass you CLAIMED that there was….” Anyway, I felt like we accomplished a fair bit today and made some good progress. For those that know Bill, you know that he likes to use the same jokes over and over and over again. If I had bet on it, I would have though the first recycled joke would have been his Franco Harris Matrix joke, but it actually was a variation on his how do you date a church joke re-purposed as how do you date Cypriot Red Slip. This was followed by a Rashard Mending hole joke. So, everything is the same in Polis, even the jokes.


Finally, I have received some questions on my potato chip research which has been going on for a few years. Richard has questioned whether I can find any new flavors to test and suggested branching out into other snack food groups. I am a bit of a purist on the subject and will be sticking to potato chips, and in fact found five new flavors at the store. Before reviewing them, I thought it was important to recap the 46 varieties I have sampled so far. They are summarized below.

The Potato Chips of Cyprus: An Exhaustive Study:

  • Argentinean Steak — ***** (5)
  • Baked Lays with Mediterranean Herbs — *****(5)
  • Barbecue — ******** (8)
  • Brazilian Mango and Chile — **** (4)
  • Caramelized Onion and Balsamic Vinegar — ******* (7)
  • Cheese and Onion — *** (3)
  • English Cheese on Toast — ***** (6)
  •  Frit Ravich Onduladas Jamon Chips (Ham Flavoured) – ** (2)
  • Frit Ravich Mediterraneo Chips – **(2)
  • Goldies Bacon Extreme. Bacon – *(1)
  • Goldies Extreme – *****(5)
  • Greek Salsa — **** (4)
  • Handy Snacks Cyprus Potato Chips Vinegar and Oregano – *** (3)
  • Lay’s Baked Barbecue potato chips – ***** (5)
  • Lay’s Cream Cheese and Bacon – ******(6)
  • Lays Greek Salad Flavor – ****(4)
  • Lay’s Heinz Ketchup flavored – **(2)
  • Lay’s Scoops Chili Flavoured – ***(3)
  • Lays Cider Vinegar – **** (4)
  • Lays Lasagna Flavored chips – ****** (6)
  • Lays Maxx Deep Ridged Chicken Wing Flavour – ** (2)
  • Lays Maxx Deep Ridged Salt & Vinegar Flavour chips – ******* (7)
  • Lays Mozzarella and Pesto flavored — ******** (8)
  • Lays Mushrooms in Cream – ***(3)
  • Lays Sensations – Japanese Teriyaki – *****(5)
  • Lays Smokey Bacon – ****(4)
  • Lays Sour Cream and Black Pepper – ****(4)
  • Mama’s sundried tomato and basil chips -***(3)
  • Mediterranean Herb — ****** (6)
  • Mexican Peppers and Cream — ******** (8)
  • Oregano — ******** (8)
  • Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme — **** (4)
  • Prawn Cocktail — ********** (10)
  • Quavers with Cheese — ******* (7)
  • Salt and Vinegar — ******* (7)
  • Thai Sweet Chile — ** (2)
  • Tsakiris Bacon and Cheese Flavoured Chips – * (1)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Florina Peppers Flavor – ** (2)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Graviera Cheese Flavour – ******* (7)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Ketchup and Mustard – ** (2)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Mytilene Sea Salt Flavour – ******* (7)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Oregano – ****** (6)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Vinegar Flavour – ****** (6)
  • Tsakiris Chips with Santorini Tomato Flavor – ******** (8)
  • Tsakiris Chips Sweet Barbeque – **** (4).
  • Tzatziki — * (1)


Posted in Archaeology, ceramics, Cypriot Red Slip, Cyprus, Food and Drink, Misc., Music, Polis, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back in Cyprus

So, I arrived back on Cyprus yesterday afternoon. Bill and I arrived on the same flight from Athens, so we were able to pick up our rental car, load up our gear, and make it out to Polis by 5:30. We had our usual room waiting for us at Renos, so it wasn’t long before we were settled in, and even made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some supplies, including the requisite potato chips. We are the first from Polis to arrive for the summer field season – Amy arrives next early next week. We found out when we checked in that Renos, which is usually pretty quiet, will be quite busy since another archaeology project is arriving next week and renting 17 rooms for a month. We then drove down to Latchi and had dinner at Yialos which has a fantastic marinated chicken and halloumi pita and a great sunset. I tried to stay up as late as I could to help get onto Cypriot time, but didn’t make it past 9.


This morning we got up and headed out to the museum. Along the way we stopped at the local Cyta store and Bill bought a new sim card for his phone – an annual event for Bill. Then we walked over to the museum and talked to the staff about our planned work at the apotheke. It was a pleasant visit even though there was some talk about the possibility of rats in the store room and a “strange smell.” We’ll know more tomorrow IMG_2526when we head over there. On the way back to the hotel we took a detour to the site and were pleasantly surprised to find that they had cleared off all the grass and weeds. This gave us a chance to look at EF2 (this [picture above] is where the material we have been working on for the last few seasons has come from) and then at EF1 (this [picture below] is where the material we will be working on this summer comes from).


After looking at the sites, we headed back to the hotel instead of visiting the apotheke. We used the rest of the morning to take some time to organize our data and make sure our databases are ready to go when we start looking at the pottery. tomorrow. We had noticed on our walking trip through part of the village that one of our favorite restaurants that had been closed for the last two summers had reopened. We decided to to eat lunch there and see if the food was still as good and inexpensive as it used to be. Fortunately it was, even though it now advertises that it features Cypriot and Romanian food – an unusual combination. Not much else to say, the weather has been sunny and in the 70s, so it is very pleasant.






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And Quiet Falls Over the PKAP Landscape

Larnaka KataToday was the last day in Cyprus for almost everyone working on PKAP. I took Bill to the airport at 8, while David and his students put up the last crates of artifacts. Bill is off to Greece to work on WARP (Try not to break him Dimitri, he is getting old). Then I went and picked up some scanning I had done of the artifact illustrations for this year. David and I then went out for a quick lunch and I helped him take his students to the airport so they can go to Greece for several days before heading back to Pennsylvania. Once they left, I started packing, charging my electronics, downloading books for my Kindle, and movies/shows for my iPad. I even did a little cleaning up of the room. Once I finished all of this, I realized that I only had 12 hours before my 3:40 AM flight early Friday morning. Things really slowed up at that point. Eventually, it was dinner time so I do what I always do when I am the last one to leave the island – I go and have dinner at one of the American restaurants on the waterfront – McDonalds, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, or Burger King. [Don’t judge me]. I took my Kindle and was able to sit outside and watch people walking around the waterfront enjoying Kataklysmos and even listened to Bon Jovi on the restaurant’s speakers. Now I am back in the room recharging my devices and killing time until I give up and leave for the airport way too soon. And so ends season 19 in Cyprus for me.


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The End for PKAP?

pana viglaToday was the last real work day for me on Cyprus for the summer. Bill and I spent the morning in the museum, illustrating artifacts, trying to reconcile any issues, and preparing artifacts (stone tools, sculpture, etc.) for other specialists to analyze later this Bill cleaningyear. It was not as hectic as in past years where our last days involved frantic work that saw us trying desperately to finish everything up and running out of time. This year we seemed to be operating on schedule so to speak. It is a little strange though, because this is the end of the project – and this is a topic we talked about a bit this summer. Even though we probably will be back in Larnaca next summer, it will only be to finish up any odds and ends that emerge as we complete the manuscript for PKAP II. In essence, PKAP is now over after 14 seasons of survey, excavation, and cratesstudy. It is very strange to think about that – for me, it is a project I started trying to organize the summer before I was hired at IUP, so it has been an important part of my academic life. On the other hand, there are a number of other projects on Cyprus that I am involved with so it is not like I am leaving the island behind. Still, strange to think about. The work this morning was a little humorous. A large number of technicians/workmen were at the museum this morning and they periodically moved near us and carried on a fairly loud conversation that made it hard for me and Bill to carry on a conversation. Then, a large bee flew into the room and if you know Bill, you know that this involved an immediate freakout and a lot of yelling at the bee.

barbecueAs for potato chips, my goal was to make it to 50 this year, but it looks like that is not going to happen. Today’s chip, Tsakiris Chips Sweet Barbeque is #46. I am obviously a barbeque flavor fan, so this sounded like a great chip to try. It was…unusual. The barbeque flavor was good but faint. There was some other flavor though. I think it was a smoke flavor, and I noticed on the ingredient list it included smoke flavoring. I did not really like it, it left a strange aftertaste – and Bill agreed with me. So, I give it a – **** (4).


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Back in Larnaca

parthenonSo, I spent a few days in Athens to attend a Levantine Ceramics Project Workshop on Cypriot ceramics. This was a very rewarding trip since I got to see people I usually only see in Cyprus, as well as meet some people who I have never met in person. Plus I was able to take Saturday afternoon and do a little sight-seeing. I had the chance to visit some sites that I had not been to in quite a few years – such as the Acropolis. Not surprisingly, it rained every day I was there. As I found out later, it was sunny in Cyprus while I was in Athens, so the rain must be following me. On the bright side (get it?), despite leaving Athens during a thunderstorm, it was sunny when I landed in Larnaca – no more rain yet.

I flew back to Larnaca Sunday afternoon. The goal for the week is to make sure that all of the important artifacts that are going into the catalogue for PKAP II are properly described and illustrated. Everyone is leaving Thursday, except for me who is leaving in the early hours of Friday morning, so we basically have three full work days, and maybe a half of a work day on Thursday if we need it. The hope is that we avoid the usual frantic reshelving of our material that typically occurs at the very last moment because we are trying to finish something up. Things look pretty good so far, but it is only Monday, so we will see.


brokenIn other news, a few things have happened. There was some excitement at the hotel last night, the hotel elevator got stuck with some people on it and the fire department had to come to rescue them. Rumor is that there were too many people on the elevator at the same time and overloaded it. As a result, the elevator was out of commission for about a day until the repair people showed up.

Larnaca continues to get busier and louder each night as we approach the Kataklsmos festival. There are more and more tents springing up each day and the waterfront is nearly covered with tents on both sides. It should be in full swing by the weekend. While the noise makes it harder to sleep each night, it is a nice after dinner thing to do – stroll down the closed off street watching people and the games going on.

vinegarAs for potato chip research. First ,I tried Lays Maxx Deep Ridged Salt & Vinegar Flavour chips. I like salt and vinegar flavored chips so I expected that I was going to like them, but the question was whether the deep ridges would somehow add to the mix. The result, I liked them since they tasted like other salt and vinegar chips. The ridges, well….I could not tell if they added anything or not – so most likely not. I gave them a – ******* (7) – the same I gave the other salt and vinegar chips I tried.

hamSince I have fallen behind in my research, nothing new there, I also tried Frit Ravich Onduladas Jamon Chips (Ham Flavoured). Being from the south, I like pork products – ham, bacon, barbecue (the pulled pork version), ribs, etc., so I was expecting to like these. However…..they did taste faintly like ham, which is good, but were very salty and had a slightly strange twang to them. Bill described the taste as a nitrite taste- which is a very scientific appraisal of them. So, they get a – ** (2). I am disappointed, I had high hopes for them.

mediterraneoBelieve it or not, I also have a third chip to evaluate. I also tried Frit Ravich Mediterraneo Chips. The cover shows a tomato, some cloves of garlic, a red onion, and some parsley (flat leaf variety). The taste was…..different. I could taste the garlic, but it was not overpowering, so that was good. There was also a parsley taste, but it tasted the way a jar of flash dried parsley smells, if that makes sense. The chips were also a little stale, or at least not crisp. The aftertaste was also not great. So, I give them a – **(2). I seem to be grading all the chips this year fairly harshly and so I have to question of my taste buds are changing, or I am becoming a cranky old man, or if the flavors I am trying are becoming so exotic that they will be hard for me to like. I will have to consider the question of research bias.


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Larnaca Update

museum rainSo, it has been a few hectic days in Larnaca. We have been working at the Museum’s off-site storage facility trying to finish things up for PKAP II. Tuesday was another rainy day, it stormed for a while. There was a bit of thunder and when the rain started, it was raining so heavily on the metal roof that it was hard to hear a person talk. We continued to focus mainly on the Roman and LAte Roman catalogue for the volume and this means IMG_0131checking catalogue entries, correcting any mistakes, and then illustrating any interesting ones. This was a little frustrating, particularly when I found a mistake that was my fault, Bill seemed to enjoy that a bit too much. Today was much better weather wise, it was sunny a little cool, but enjoyable. Dave’s students came to the museum for the first time and we did several short talks for them (basic intro, databases, XRF, and ceramics) – they seemed to go well. After we closed up work at the museum, we took the students out to visit Koutsopetria and Vigla and show IMG_0132them around the site. It did look like they really enjoyed the visit and were surprised at how many artifacts are laying on the surface. We also took time to drive them through Pyla to see the medieval tower and visit Pyla Tomb. All in all, it was an enjoyable time. Tonite we took Sarah, the IUP Anthropology graduate student doing our XRF research out for dinner since she is leaving tomorrow morning to fly back to the United States. Tomorrow I am only doing a half day since I am flying to Athens to partiicpate in a ceramics workshop that is focused on Cypriot Ceramics – it should be enjoyable.



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Back in Larnaca

So, Saturday night Bill and I headed out to our favorite Polis restaurant (The Old Town Restaurant). They have a meze there that is fantastic. Unfortunately, since it was raining off and on all day, they had moved all their tables from outside into the smaller interior space – as a resullt……no available tables for us. This was……soul crushing. The owner said maybe in an hour we could check back, but she did not look hopeful. Very disappointed.

paphosAnyway, on Sunday, for the first time since we arrived, the day dawned bright and sunny with temperatures in the low 70s, an absolutely gorgeous day. We had a quiet breakfast in the platea and headed out of town towards Larnaca. On the way we stopped at two sites that were suggested to us as possible sites for further work, but neither panned out. We stopped at the Kourion Beach Restaurant for a light lunch and the chance to watch the waves crashing on the shore – it was a bit windy down there.

Kourion beach

Lebanese 1Once we arrived in Larnaca, we checked into our hotel and unpacked. We decided to eat at our favorite Lebanese restaurant along the waterfront, Maqam Al-Sultan, whch also has a fantastic meze – 19 different dishes were listed, but there were several more included, plis bread and baklava. I was too full from dinner to even think about having some loukoumades – some tents are already set up for the Kataklysmos, which will happen next weekend. And I love loukoumades, so that says something. The Lebanese 2.jpgmuhammarah was amazing as usual, and I also had a chickpea and yoghurt dip that I did not catch the name of and cannot find on their menu. I guess the only solution is to go back there and eat again, and pay closer attention.

This morning we went to the museum and retrieved the keys for Terra Ombra, the satellite storage location where our artifacts are stored. The site had changed a bit, they had filled up the empty spaces with trays and trays of pottery, the site really looks like the warehouse scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. As is our usual, it took a bit of time to sort out our material Larnaca Rainand get started. Usually we are the only people out there working, but todat there were people from two other archaeological projects, conservators, and technicians from the museum – in all 11 people. Tomorrow Dave will be there with his nine students – so it will be an absolute madhouse – on the plus side, there is better than a 50/50 chance Bill’s head will explode. About the time we started working, it started to rain and since the warehouse has a metal roof, it was a bit noisy for a while. [It has rained more this season than all the rest of my tris to Cyprus combined – and that is 19 summer trips]. We skipped lunch since we had picked up a large snack or second breakfast from the bakery and worked straight through to 2:30 when we had to DSCN9332_thumb.jpgleave. I wa a little worried about Bill, I looked over at 2:00 and he had his head on the table – I was worried he was burned out on day one. He was also bummed out because we wouldn’t let him use the XRF on one of the pastries. After we cleaned up we went to lunch at my favorite souvlaki restaurant near the museum. We then ran to the store, where I found 4 chip varieties to try in the next few days. Now we are back at the hotel, waiting on David to show up with his students from Messiah.


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