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Adventures of an Idalionite: My Final Week in Cyprus

By Bethany Montague ’18

In case you missed the previous posts: 
Post One: Can You Dig It? An Archaeology Student’s Adventures in Cyprus
Post Two: Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Two in Cyprus
Post Three: Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Three in Cyprus
Post Four: Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Four in Cyprus
Post Five: Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Five in Cyprus

This week was spent closing up the site of Lower City South at Idalion. After 25 years of digging, the sites time has finally come to an end. While we are walking away from the site, we want to protect and record as much information as possible so that if archaeologists come back one day in the future they can know as much as we do now. To achieve this, we drew walls and baulks, took measurements on the walls and various stones, covered some walls and structures with mesh, and then covered them in dirt. We also backfilled pits and trenches after filling them with tarp. The process was long and exhausting, but it’s good to know that the site is somewhat protected.

At the beginning of the week, Emily and I worked in the apothiki, which is where all of the pottery from the dig is stored. We spent our time re-bagging a lot of pottery because the bags that they were in disintegrated over time. While we worked, a mother cat and her kitten came to watch us. The kitten provided us some entertainment as he chased after the plastic bags on the ground, and then curled up inside of them. We named him Curious Giorgos (George) since he was interested in everything we were doing.

To end the season, the group went out to the local restaurant, Bonanza, which is themed after the American TV show from the 1960s. We had a big dinner and drinks, then returned to camp for Dhali Follies. The Dhali Follies are essentially a talent show or end of year performance to wrap up the season. Becca, Emily, and I also did a small Power Rangers themed skit, since we had watched the new movie earlier in the season. It was a mess, to say the very least, but so much fun.

For my Folly I rewrote Oh Captain, My Captain for Idalion:

Oh Idalion, my Idalion, our diggings finally done,

The site has lasted all these years, but now our time has come,

The end is near, Pam’s voice I hear, Idalaionites are cheering,

While follow eyes across the plain, the site is grim and daring;

But o heart! Heart! Heart!

O the sweat that we have shed,

Where on the field our summer lies,

The site now is dead.

 

O Idalion! My Idalion! Come back and hear Pam’s call;

Come back–for you the pick is swung, for you the patiche falls,

For you tool boxes and plant stands, for you Nissu a-crowding,

For you they come, the brand new students, their eager faces turning;

Here Idalion! Dear field school!

This lock upon your gate!

It is some dream that on the field,

Our dear site now is dead.

 

My Idalion is not dug, her trenches filled with dust;

My field school does not carry on, she has no one to trust;

The site is closed safe and sound, the digging finally done,

From ’87 to ’17 our time left is none;

Exult o diggers, and shout for joy!

But I, with mournful tread,

Walk the field my field school lies,

The site now is dead.

It’s so hard to believe that my 6 weeks here in Cyprus are over. I fell in love with this island and its history so quickly and I don’t know if I’m quite ready to leave. I’ve learned so much here, and made some very close friends. I know that this is my calling, and I’ll dig in the dirt till I can’t anymore.

Bye Forever Idalion, catch you later Cyprus.

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