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Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Five 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

This week was our final week of digging. It was a fun week, but also a sad one. I constantly changed trenches this week as we scrambled to finish all of our digging projects. I started the week by finishing the dog skeleton, and then moved back to cistern. Connor and I worked together to try and get out as much dirt as possible, but we still couldn’t get half way through the fill. We were covered in dirt and sweat by the end, but it was a ton of fun. From there, I worked with Becca on a small baulk, which we finished in two days, and then took out a whole area of soft fill soil in a trench in a day. It was down to the last minute, but we were able to finish everything in time.

One cool part of the week was Connor working in a pottery midden. He pulled up a lot of beautiful pottery, some were full pots, while others were broken, but able to be joined. One pot he found completely intact underneath of a wall. He also found two small scarabs, one of which had hieroglyphs. I contacted Dr. Tammy Kryiger for help with the translation, but it turned out that it was most likely a Phoenician copy since the hieroglyphs turned out to be meaningless.

For our field trip on Friday we drove across the island to see the Tombs of the Kings and the ancient city of Paphos. The Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolis, not for kings, but for wealthy peoples and families. Most of the tombs rest underground, carved out of the natural rock, and are filled with niches to place the dead.

The site of ancient, or new, Paphos is a Roman city with four large villas: The House of Dionysius, the House of Orpheus, the House of Aion, and the House of Theseus. Each of these villas has beautiful mosaics spread across the floor. In the House of Dionysius, there is a pebble mosaic of Scylla, a monster featured in the Odyssey. This one was my favorite since I love the Odyssey, but I also like the idea of pebble mosaics compared to the regular tesserae mosaics.

We ended the day by walking along the coast of current day Paphos. The city is the 2017 European Capital of Culture, so there are cruciform figurines modeled after the famous picrolite figurines that have been painted by the community.

It’s hard to believe that there is only one week left. Part of me is tired and ready to go home, but another part of me is ready to stay forever. It is comforting to know that I have found my calling in life, and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life digging in the dirt.

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