Monday, July 15, 2013

For the love of EBAP

Six weeks have passed and EBAP has come to an end. But I guess time flies when you're digging in the dirt, pottery washing, meeting amazing people and having all sorts of archaeological fun. With EBAP as my first excavation I had a limited idea of what to expect. But having gone through an enlightening experience sparked a love between archaeology and I. So I found it appropriate to give some tips on having this special kind of archaeological relationship.

1) Don't be afraid to ask
Like with dating, you can never know what something could be unless you ask questions to find out. When a new digger finds something out of the ordinary it's best to ask whether such a find is worth keeping or destined for the dirt pile. Inevitably there are deceiving gem-like finds that may sidetrack you from the true and worthwhile treasures of excavation... but don't let that discourage you because by asking questions you learn more about the attributes that make a find worth keeping and not waste time on the less significant.

2) Get a move on
In life, time seems to be one of the biggest impediments we have, so we have to make the most of it while we can... or as Brenden would say, "dig faster, more carefully!" In the archaeologically rich site of ancient Eleon, it was shocking to see one dirt-filled wheelbarrow after another being added to the site's heaping dump pile. By the end of the season a fair number of trenches were opened and older ones were dug deeper to the point of becoming difficult to enter. It just goes to show what can happen in a short period of time when hard working EBAPers are involved.

3) Learn to love
From EBAP my love for archaeology has sprouted and grown, but I must admit there were some parts that were harder to love than others. Being up and ready to head to site at 6am took a bit of getting used to and resulted in many van-ride breakfasts. But for digging and heat stroke purposes early starts couldn't have been better (not to mention allowing an extra half hour to nap in the afternoon). In the beginning pottery washing didn't seem too much of a task, although us EBAP newbies were warned that it would only get worse as the weeks progressed. And yes, the number of pottery bags worsened... but pottery washing also became a get-to-know-your-fellow-EBAPers session where we would tell stories, jokes and even formulate plans to open a chain of restaurants focused on Minyan ware and Greek cuisine.

4) Cherish every moment
Sad but true, all good things must come to an end. Although the EBAP 2013 season has come to a close I know in my heart that it won't be the last archaeological experience I take part in. I could not have picked a better dig to be my first because it was the perfect combination of great people, a beautiful country and interesting site that made it a phenomenal learning experience. Taking a stab at archaeological illustration was probably the biggest game changer during EBAP. I lost all sense of time once I had a pencil in hand and began drawing finds from the field. I could not be more thankful for the mentorship of Tina and for igniting my interest in illustration. And I am thankful for everyone in EBAP that made digging and cleaning up dirt all the more fun and for teaching me more than I knew about conservation and ancient pottery. I'm already anticipating the next time I'll get to unpack my trowel, gloves, and dig shoes and create more archaeological memories.

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