Tomorrow (05/25/2012) we re-enter the archaeological test units we started some days prior at the Vigla site on the southern coast of Cyprus, heading back into the field after an intermittent lull in the excavation action. Without sensationalizing any of this, the reason for lulls has to do with the reason there is a preserved site for us to dig at Vigla in the first place: British artillery. More specifically, the British military has a base on Cyprus, and they use and have used this area for a test-firing range. Now this doesn’t mean shells are directed toward the PKAP Vigla site (well, never intentionally), but there always is a chance for some kind of misfire or ballistic trajectory to go all wrong. That is why the Brits won’t (or cannot) allow anyone up on the Vigla mesa during certain times of the week. The PKAP team organizes the weekly schedule this way in order to make up for lost digging time due to the Brits understandably having to sharpen their artillery skills — for Queen, country, and Hellenistic archaeology (inaccurate and imprecise artillery is the dangerous kind).
I have a 3-person crew, and we are all scheduled to leave for work tomorrow at the site at 6:15AM, and not stop excavating until 7:00PM. Then we will repeat this process on 05/26/2012, a Saturday, and have a little bit lighter schedule on Sunday and Monday, excavating some and getting into the lab in Larnaka to process the recently pulled artifacts.
I have been in the archaeological field since 2002, at least in North American contexts. For the first time in the eastern Mediterranean on a dig, I am quite looking forward to re-entering the test units we started some days ago, pulling out material and plotting artifacts, taking notes and dry screening. I am also looking forward to taking down field-notes on an iPad ap that the PKAP crew put together (Digital Archaeology goes on-line: more on this later). I am equally looking forward to guiding my three-person crew on what is the first dig of their lives. Remember to put your water bottles in the freezer the night before, at least so it is icy cold up through the noon hour. Keep your broad-brim hat on, and suck down the water whenever you think of it. See you in the trenches.