This week my friend and I travelled along some of the local trails that Pantelleria has to offer. The trails were incredible; some were very steep, which were more of a climb, while others bordered some of the many terraces for kilometres on end. We’ve been able to check out some of the local restaurants and have been successful (in my opinion) in preparing Pesto Pantesco for the group, which is an island specialty.
The hospitality on the island is absolutely wonderful, Pantescans have been very kind to us. I suppose it’s that proper Mediterranean xenia that some of the professors mentioned in class.
We plan on spending this coming Saturday in town as well as exploring Cinque Denti (five teeth), which is a cove only a short walk from our dammuso.
I can’t believe that we are already halfway through our time here on Pantelleria! It feels like it has gone so fast and I will definitely miss being here and doing all of the awesome activities that we do on and off the site. This week we had some elementary school kids visiting the site. They learned about the importance of archaeology and the conservation of the archaeological sites and finds. They learned about the tools that we use and found quite a few interesting surface finds to their delight. Then we had them draw what they thought the site might have looked like over 2000 years ago and all of the drawings were very interesting to see and quite well done too!
It was another busy week working on the Pantelleria Project. On Tuesday, we had a school of elementary students come to visit our site and learn about the history of the island, as well as the importance of both archaeology and the preservation of archaeological sites. It was great to see their enthusiasm and their creative drawings on how the site may have looked like in the past. On a different note, my education of Mediterranean culture continues to expand. Not only did I learn that it is possible to eat grape leaves but, due to the amazing talent of our friend Peter, I also learned that they are delicious.
Last Saturday I joined in one of the most Italian experiences I’ve had since visiting here, a neighbourhood pizza meal. Two Italian women spent seven hours preparing and cooking pizza in an outside oven while family and friends came over with homemade wine and dessert – it was incredible. Our dig started late on Monday as there was a windstorm; it’s been interesting seeing how intense and sporadic the winds have been on the island. A school group visited the site on Tuesday and I saw how important it was to engage with the local community and hopefully interest younger children in archaeology. We threw a goodbye gathering for him on Thursday night, as he left on Friday morning.
The excavation continues to go well and my understanding of archaeological methods continues to improve. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our assistant director, Clive, as he had obligations elsewhere. We were visited by some local students, one group of which arrived unexpectedly. Despite their unexpected arrival it was still a pleasant experience, as some of them seemed to have a genuine interest in our work, and archaeology in general. I have done a fair amount of hiking around the Lago di Venere with Matt and, having just come into the possession of a book of local hiking trails, I intend to continue doing so.
This week has been an eventful week. Things are getting more interesting as our experience gets better and better. Every day brings new challenges for us to face, along with new information and questions that make us smarter and more educated of the beautiful things that are around us. Sadly one of the “adults” in our group had to leave. We wish him the best as we continue to experience new things and see some interesting sights.
– Cameron K.
The water is cool to the touch, with each ripple and soft wave it beckons you in further. There is a certain kind of peace that accompanies a night swim. In the sunlight the lake is a vibrant sanctuary from the heat, but at night it comes to life. The water has so many colours to its surface, a variation of blues and sulphurs, but at night, it is pure, perfect even. The stars dance to our laughter as we swim further out. The moon acts as our only source of light, but none of us are afraid of the darkness that surrounds us because we are all too elated by the happiness and confidence that we bring out in each other. I would not change a single thing about this night, it was an experience that is next to none. I can surely say that on this night we have certainly been floating on the surface of the sky.
The Way of the Wind
This is the way of the wind:
It dances lightly over the sea
and barely makes it up the slopes
of the black sentinel mountains,
to slide down the other side and breathe
its coolness upon your face
and gently rock the hammock
while you dream.
But at night it can roar
And break through the boundary
That separates this sharp world of certainties
From the place where older gods still live,
To remind all heedless humans
That in some places they can speak to us
In our deepest dreams they whisper,
“Come back to Cossyra, we are waiting.”
Being able to swim in a volcano has become one of the best things that I have done on this journey. Swimming in Lago di Venere after work is the perfect way to cool off and relax. Back home the local lake is always cold, except for about two days of the whole year, but on Pantelleria the lake is the perfect temperature (well for me at least). I’ll admit though, as someone who never before swam in the sea, the salt water really shocked me!
This week I was struck by the beauty of Pantelleria. The clear blue ripples of Lago di Venere cleansed me; it felt as if I were wrapped in a cool and calming blanket. The earlier part of the week I decided to explore our property a little further. The healthy green grass brushed against my feet while I reflected my thoughts. The most stunning aspect about Lago di Venere was hearing the neighing of the horses and being able to wake up in a place that is so full of colour and life. My time on this island is half way over yet I never want it to end. Pantelleria is a paradise island filled with positive spirits. So, I will enjoy the time while it lasts.
Group travel is not without its caveats. While working with a great team for several weeks is certainly an enjoyable experience, it can make quiet and solitude a rare commodity. Thankfully, Pantelleria is filled with ample opportunities to slip away during down time and get some much-needed quiet, with the added bonus of incredible views. Dotted all over the island are abandoned dammusi and terraces where one can sit and gather his or her thoughts. It may just be a short jaunt up the hillside but it feels like you’re in an entirely different valley. Bring some water and perhaps a book and/or some music while taking in the landscape – it’s the most cost-efficient and easiest way to reset yourself during the hustle and bustle of team projects.