One of the joys of archaeological research is sharing one's research and museums are a great place for members of the public to be exposed to the work done by archaeologists.
Our excavation is supported by the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney and throughout 2013 the exhibition 'Aphrodite's Island: Australian Archaeologists in Cyprus' will explore the Sydney connection with Cypriot archaeology, including our own dig in Paphos!
If you are in Sydney, feel free to drop by the Nicholson Museum
to see it, or else the catalogue is available online
The Paphos Theatre project has been covered in today's media in Cyprus:
Now that the 2012 season of excavations have finished at the site many of the team have returned to Australia to their studies or work while other team members have continued to travel to other excavation projects or to have a holiday.
Others have also travelled to Avignon, where tomorrow an international conference sponsored by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus will begin. Amongst the papers
will be discussions on the architecture, glass and coins found at the site, as well as broader discussions about working more closely with the other foreign missions excavating in Paphos. It promises to be an interesting conference....
The end of the excavation season doesn't represent the end of work, merely the beginning of the process of interpretation, investigation and research.
Stay tuned for much more to come....
Seek and ye will find!
Everyone has a small story to tell about their time here in Paphos. Please let me share mine. This is fortunately my second season here and I sincerely hope not my last.
Exactly one year ago, Paphos study season 2011, we were packing away and storing all the essentials to be kept for the following season. Not my favourite task but a necessity of any dig. Not until the last of many many boxes had been stored high above the shelves did I realise that my reading glasses had fallen amongst the goods. Shortly after, I reported to Craig that I would need to return in the 2012 season to retrieve them. Surprisingly, Craig accepted my reasoning and here I am.
5 weeks have passed so quickly and though all the previous years boxes had been unpacked and sorted there was no site of my glasses. Hiding in the back corner of the Apollo stood a lone box. On our last day of cleaning, sifting through the items in order to discard of unnecessary pieces, there, at the very bottom of the very last box sat my very expensive reading glasses staring right back at me. Needless to say, I danced my way back in great delight. Keep the faith I say! Even more delightful is the fact that I can still see quite clearly through them.
The dig has been even better this year. New friends and old sharing in small trivia and great finds.
Like the maker's mark that's embedded into the fabric of few sherds or stone blocks, Paphos is engraved into me.
Many many thanks to the staff who, with great patience, selflessly shared all their knowledge with us.
A holiday with a difference!!
As “dig” 2012 comes to a close I look back on what has been a fantastic “holiday”, yes holiday.
6:30am starts on site, second breakfast at 9:30am sitting on a block of limestone looking at the cavea, hot days, warm nights, dusty trenches, trowel RSI and not to forget – pot washing!. And that was all before 3pm. But yes a holiday.
As a novice to archaeology I have had the most amazing time in Trench 12A, uncoverering the history, the phases of use and through pottery, coins,marble etc the lifestyles of those who had walked the way of the Roman Road, or enjoyed a performance at the Paphos Theatre on Fabrika Hill. On any day we trowel away pottery from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Medieval periods. Glass fragments, Marble pieces and bone. Parts of the Roman road, huge limestone blocks and terracotta drains all tell part of the story that is the Paphos Theatre.
I am now also reasonably confident I can tell the difference between a piece of amphorae and a piece of medieval cooking ware. Thanks to Holly and Smadar.
As a team we have enjoyed the “down” time as well with Harbour swims in cool but clear waters, Trivia nights, tours led by the team specialists to the Tombs of the Kings, the mosaics in the Archaeology Park and the Saranta Kolones.
And not to forget the topic on most people’s mind “food”, we have enjoyed the very best of the local taverna’s and not to forget Zorba’s, a favourite of all team members.
So to conclude yes a fantastic holiday shared with a diverse but great bunch of students, archaeologists, and field specialists all led by Craig our dig Director, along with Kerry, Rhian and Ronan our trench leaders.
If given the opportunity I would love to return to Paphos and join the team in revealing more of this theatres fascinating story.
The 2012 season is down to the home stretch - most boxes are stored; the bulk of the pottery sorted; and few songs remain unsung at Boogie’s karaoke lounge. With a half day today, most of the team took the opportunity to recline, relax (and reflect). It has been a wholesome week in a busy season - a week of digging up final contexts outside and mouldy boxes inside.
Those of us new to the on-site experience can now appreciate that archaeology isn’t just about finding an intricately carved marble foot in a wall fill - that is but a small part of a much larger process. An hour of digging usually equates to two hours of washing/sorting/packing boxes. For the specialist areas the ratio is much more disproportionate.
One can also appreciate the multidisciplinary nature of an archaeological project. Some of these disciplines are acquired through further specialisation in the archaeology field. Others are randomly available as vocations that complement the common interest in archaeology. A day job so to speak. Along with qualified archaeologists, we could not lift 200 kg stone blocks without our resident engineer. Nor could we comprehensively plot different phases of the threatre complex without an architect. These two examples are only the tip of the iceberg.* I have certainly enjoyed witnessing all of these skill sets working together to piece together the Paphos puzzle.
Next week there will be more shifting soil and dumping spoil - but with a day of rest, the team will be firing for the final sprint...and the other marble foot.
*All masseuses with a passion for archaeology are encouraged to apply immediately for 2013
- Harry M
You can get it digging a trench, you can get it sorting a pot, you can get it any old how...matter of fact I got it now.
So the light readings of despair provided by previous posts now turns to a different mood. While I could also write about the extreme heat and challenging physical side of Cyprus, instead I'll report on the time we have off. What I should probably also add is that I haven't personally found anything and so I suppose I should leave it to the cool kids.
This weekend just past a wolf pack of archaeologists went exploring to the Northern side of Cyprus. As we were briefed in week one with a quick background of Modern Cypriot issues
it was invaluable to go with the honorary pack leader Paul, who turned out to be a human encyclopedia on Cypriot history and landmarks. Day One
On the first day in Nicosia we caught a roller coaster ride of a taxi from Nicosia up to Kyrenia, a seaside town with an amazing castle, picturesque views and a brilliant museum. The castle itself has had a troubled past with occupation and repurposing by almost all leadership groups found in Cypriot history. Perhaps most interesting and the physical phase which remains today is the evidence of Medieval use and in particular the Crusaders. Upon entering we saw deep gouges in the wall corners at the drawbridge which some believe to be sword marks in the soft limestone. From the top corner of the castle we could see both the harbour-front and straight out to sea, the perfect opportunity for a group photo!
The museum inside the castle itself houses one of the most breathtaking items I have ever seen. The shipwreck museum inside a hall within the castle walls contains the "Kyrenia Ship", a Greek merchant ship from the 4th century BC. This date makes it the oldest intact ship in the world and walking into the room with preservation humidifiers was an amazing experience.
That afternoon we then sped off to Saint Hilarion castle on our way back to Nicosia and saw the sprawling Medieval structure which lies high on the mountain above Kyrenia. Despite the grueling climb to the top on itty bitty stairs made for small medieval folk, the view at the top was amazing and simply getting there was rewarding enough. At the lookout on the top we were also rewarded with a paper airplane competition with was both embarrassing and brilliant for different team members.Day Two
The second day has much less to report. It involved shopping and beer, a great combination. Due to time restraints for the bus trip back to Paphos we stayed within the centre of the city. The highlight for the day was either a 2.5 litre tower of beer or an amazing jeweller who's creations are designed on archaeological finds and are made in silver and gold in limited numbers. Lots of present for people at home or just themselves were bought. We also found a great bookshop in the Turkish side of Nicosia which had floor to ceiling shelves and was packed with amazing books from the 50s and 60s (thankfully in English)
In conclusion the time off over here is an amazing opportunity to see what is basically two different cultures in the same place. While there is caution to be had with crossing the border, exploring Nicosia was a brilliant experience and a great break.
Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. Big boxes, small boxes, middle sized boxes- cardboard boxes everywhere. Stacked in tidy piles or leaning precariously against the Apollo hallway walls. The hard evidence of wholesale commerce. “7 Days Croissant”;” “Supra Hairspray”; “Benson and Hedges Gold”; ” Golden Virginia Handrolling Tobacco”; “Ambrosia Olive Oil fully refined and deodorised”, and scores of boxes reflecting perhaps, the copious quantities of alcohol consumed by visitors to the island –“ Larios Dry Gin” ; “ Three Barrels Rum”; “ Antica Sambuca”; “ Teachers Highland Cream”; Saint Panteleimon, Medium Sweet Table Wine”; Keo Wines and Spirits from the Island of Cyprus” . And of course little delicate boxes from Zorbas.*
Boxes filled with evidence of years of excavation toil, carefully identified, sorted, categorised and inventoried and marked accordingly. Paphos Theatre 1999 Trench 1BB 465 471. Paphos Theatre 1999 Trench 1X Surface clearance. Paphos Theatre 2002 Slag (the non-diagnostic variety).
Little would anyone know that archaeology as it is practiced could be so inextricably and intimately involved with the scrounging, collecting, opening, closing, taping and repetitive re- opening, re- closing and re-taping of cardboard boxes.
*For the reader who may be unaware, Zorbas is a purveyor of comestibles, ranging from the everyday stomach liner to the downright frivolous, the latter to be consumed, as any refined person would know, behind closely shuttered windows or in the company of intimate friends.