We have reached the end of the season at Lago Di Venere and it is a sad goodbye. So much has been accomplished in four weeks, but it feels like we have been here much longer. This week we focused a lot on recording information, including drawing and taking many photos. It is extremely important to document everything accurately in order to preserve all of the information we can. In doing this we can come back and make observations that might have been missed the first time around. That is my favourite thing about being a part of this project; it is being part of something that reveals and preserves lost information, and sharing it with people for years to come. Pantelleria has been an amazing place to work, the site is beautiful, and the people we have met along the way have been extremely helpful and kind. This is a place I will never forget, and I hope to be back here soon!
This week was our last week of excavation for the season. The majority of our time during the season was spent in the field carefully digging and keeping our eyes peeled for pottery, but this week we actually got to examine and learn about some of the pieces we’ve been finding. One of our team members is a ceramics specialist, and she was able to tell us a great deal about where the pottery from our site comes from. We also got the chance to practice our drawing skills by sketching the profile of a pottery sherd. This week we visited a local vineyard and sampled some delicious food and wine, made only with ingredients found on the island. Watching the sunset from the patio of the estate was the perfect way to say goodbye to the island.
The last week of the project flew by and there has been a lot left to do in terms of finalization for the excavations. With the digging coming to a conclusion, focus has shifted to documentation, including the drawing and photographing of trenches. While less physically demanding, these tasks are important for recording and future study of the site. The physically demanding part came during the backfilling. It’s a somewhat depressing end; placing back soil that was previously carefully removed. This week was also filled with exciting offsite activities, including a wine tasting, a pottery drawing session, and a small party with local catering. The last four weeks on Pantelleria has been a tremendous journey, but now it is time to say goodbye to this little island and return home!
Week four has gone by so fast that I cannot believe that we will be leaving tomorrow. Between finishing work in the trench, including the documentation and backfilling, work on site has been intense. We also had the opportunity to learn more about the pottery of our site with a lecture given by our project’s pottery expert, as well as a lesson on how to draw pottery. It was very interesting and actually pretty fun, if a bit difficult. All the hard work though was perfectly paired with the best Pantelleria has to offer off site. We attended a wine tasting event at Minardi Winery where everyone was so nice and the food and drink was to die for. Then we attended one put on by BUAPP with food also catered by Peter Lambert and his family. With all of our new-found friends, it was the perfect end to the season.
Closing week of excavation can feel both rewarding and disappointing at the same time. Any unanswered questions from the season cause a feeling of anxiety, not knowing all the answers that I had hoped to have figured out. But completing a season also brings a sense of accomplishment, being able to think back about all the interesting finds and in situ pieces that were uncovered from all our hard work. Closing processes includes a lot more recording work than normal, with many drawings and photos taken for proper documentation. This week we also learned all about pottery drawing, including which pieces need to be drawn, and how to draw them using special pieces of equipment. I really enjoyed this drawing process, and hope to have lots of practice doing it in the future. Taking a last look around Pantelleria and the Lago di Venere site make me realize what a special place this is both now and in the past, with a sense of serenity and purity shining through like a bright star. Thank you Pantelleria for an amazing four weeks of my life that I will never forget.
The final week started with excavations slowly coming to an end, and the preparations for the closing of the site beginning. During this final week, I participated in drawing a trench plan, as well as aiding the team in cleaning the site for the final photos. The off-site activities increased as we ate a delicious and entertaining dinner with a local family, who helped and supported us during our excavation, at their home beside the Lago di Venere. Before the site was closed the project hosted an open house to inform the locals of what we had accomplished. We also hosted a party to thank all of our supporters for their help in establishing and growing the Pantelleria Project, and with conclusion of these events came the end of BUAPP’s first season.
We would like to thank everyone who helped make our end of season event possible. Chef Peter Lambert made the most delicious canapés with local ingredients. We are still talking about it, and savouring them! Francesca Minardi from Minardi Azienda very generously donated a case of Minardi local wine. Raimondo and Maria Grazie Policardo offered the perfect setting with Dammuso Bacco above the Lago di Venere. We can’t wait for next year!
Another week in the books, and things are looking towards the end of the season. Yet there is still much work left to be done. Some areas are already completed, while others require more attention such as taking photographs and measurements, as well as making drawings. Of course, there is still digging! During the past week there have been a couple of public outreach activities on our site, including a school field trip and an open day for the public to wander about the site and see some work in action. In doing so, we hope to increase public awareness of what the Pantelleria Project is, and to showcase a little about archaeology and how it is performed. Lastly, despite a wind storm and spraining my wrist, this week was a welcome surprise for me as a graduating student missing convocation, with a little graduation event of our own!
Week three has been interesting to say the least both on- and off- site. On site I have had the luck of finding an interesting cut in the soil. I also got to do some drawing this week and while I found it hard to get it accurate, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when it was done. Off site was mostly spent catching up on some much-needed R&R. We did however have an amazing dinner at a friend’s house that made my week, if not my entire trip. The food was out of this world and their son eats raw onions like it’s candy, I think that is an amazing and admirable talent in itself. Pantelleria also had a wind storm this weekend that would have ripped up trees back home but is apparently common here and only blew off a few cacti branches. I am constantly surprised at just how different it is here from Canada.
We are on the second to last week of the season and it has been a hot one, but despite the heat we have been working away! We spent quite a bit of time on drawing top plans this week which can be time consuming but are a very important part of the excavation process; I also really enjoy drawing so I had fun spending some time doing that. We also had a visit from a school group this week that went extremely well and hopefully they had fun seeing archaeology in action! At the end of the week we had a wonderful group dinner, which included Pesto Pantesco (so delicious!!!), and equally delicious seafood. At this dinner Thomas and I were presented with ‘honorary Bachelor degrees’ since we just completed our undergraduate degree at Brock, along with a couple of gifts. It was such a sweet moment, and I cannot think of a better way to complete my undergraduate degree than being on Pantelleria on an excavation!