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!
The wind storm that swept through the island this week made me think about how we are staying on a midpoint between two large and significant places, making this a prime trade route. I started thinking about a couple questions that I was unable to answer, and probably never will be able to answer. How would wind storms like the one we just experienced have affected the ancient periods we are studying? How would they have coped back then? I’m sure they had some form of a routine in such situations as storms like these must have been frequent, but it makes one question how ancient cultures varied so much from our current one?
The 3rd week of excavation here has gone by in a blur, and it’s strange to think that in less than a week the project will be concluded. The past few days I, along with other team members, have been concentrating on revealing the features where there is a great deal of rubble and collapsed material. It has been a fascinating process to see the features previously hidden by this collapse slowly become defined, adding to the complexity of the site. After a hard week’s work, I took the opportunity to walk down to a beautiful cove near our accommodation called Cala Cinque Denti. The cove has an almost supernatural quality, with jagged cliffs surrounding it on all sides and gargantuan boulders scattered beneath them.
We are at the halfway mark of the excavation season at Lago Di Venere and the great progress continues. Although it is a lot of hard work, it is just another part of the process that allows us to learn about the history of the island. The sense of accomplishment that I feel when I see how much progress we have made is worth every scrape of the trowel under the hot Mediterranean sun. A nice swim at Gadir at the end of the week also makes working and learning here that much more amazing.