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Adventures of an Idalionite: Week Two 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

Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any hotter here, the island had to prove me wrong. This past week, it was at least 130 degrees in the sun every day, and 115 in the shade. Because of this we started going out into the field from 5:30 a.m. to noon, and then spent the rest of the evening at base. It wasn’t until Thursday that the weather calmed down.

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In the field, I worked to smash a baulk between two trenches. At the start of the week it was roughly 5.5 feet tall, and now it is only about 3 feet tall. This coming week we will work to completely take the whole baulk down. Inside the baulk was a lot of pottery, and even part of a wall. We hope to uncover the rest of the wall as we take down the dirt. A tool we use constantly is our total station, lovingly named Milton. I have experience with this machine thanks to Dr. Ross, so I often help set it up.

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When we stayed at base in the afternoon, we washed pottery and did paper work. It was really cool to see all the pottery from everyone else’s trench, and even see what I found once it was clean. A lot of the pottery we are finding is Roman, but sometimes there are earlier pottery sherds. As for paperwork, I’m given the task of drawing the top plan for our baulk. Instead of having to completely redraw the whole top plan, we have a light table so that we can easily trace the plan.

Friday was a field trip day. We went back to Nicosia, but instead of touring the city, we visited the Cyprus Museum. Dr. Gaber walked us through and gave us a small lecture to teach us about the artifacts and the evolution of Cypriot art and pottery. There were several pieces from Idalion, including the head of a statue of a woman.

We also visited the ancient city of Kition. The site was used as a temple in the 13th and 12th centuries BCE until it was abandoned. In the 9th century BCE the Phoenicians came and repurposed the temple for their own goddess. These Phoenicians later attacked Idalion, once unsuccessfully, and then a second time in 450 BCE where they overtook the city.

Saturday night we had a Meze dinner to send of Taylor and Dylan who had to leave to go back to their jobs in the states. The dinner was made up of at least 10 small dishes of various meats, vegetables, breads and other foods. There was a constant flow of new food coming in, and it was all amazing. I think my favorite was the rabbit and the tzatziki sauce.

I can hardly believe that I’ve been here for only two weeks. It seems like so much longer, but time also seems to be moving so quickly. I feel like if I blink, my six weeks here will be up and I’ll be on my plane back home.

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