Thursday, July 10, 2014

                              The Ups and Downs of Archaeology             Arianna Nagle

   We’ve now reached the sixth and final week of the EBAP 2014 season and I can hardly believe how fast it went by! As this week goes on and the digging finishes and the preparations of the site for our departure begin I think back about my experiences here at Ancient Eleon. Archaeology has always been a passion of mine and I simply cannot express the gratitude and pride I feel in calling EBAP my first dig! Working in the field at Ancient Eleon alongside all the incredible professionals, supervisors, and fellow students has only encouraged my excitement for Classical Archaeology and confirmed that I have made the right choices in my studies. I have gained so many skills from working at this site such as pottery analysis, scarping, identifying soil changes and plaster surfaces, articulation and etc. Now, as I look back on the last six weeks and consider the great time I have had being a part of EBAP 2014, I can’t help but laugh at the expectations I held and what the surprising (in the best way) realities of fieldwork and excavation life actually are. So for anyone who is considering going on an archaeological excavation here a just a few of my upsides and downsides of field work at EBAP 2014!

       - The unbelievably cool people you get to be surrounded by on a daily basis!
-        When you visit a museum after digging and can see the parallels between the artifacts in the exhibit and what you have pulled out of the dirt and held in your hands at site; and in that moment you are suddenly reminded of the bigger picture that encompasses Ancient Eleon and the thriving cultures the area was once a part of.

-        The nonstop smiling after your first find where your trench supervisor wants an elevation point

-        Every time you hold an artifact in your hand that closes the distance between yourself and the ancients who crafted it

-        When getting the wheelbarrow up the spoil heap becomes no big deal

-        Every time you get a “gold star” from your trench supervisor for your scarping

-        The total sense of teamwork on site and the excitement enjoyed by everyone over an interesting find or feature regardless of the individual who excavated it or which trench it came from

-        Ouzo hour, of course!

-        Being completely covered in dirt with the satisfaction of having done a hard day’s work

-        When everything and anything becomes hilarious after six hours in the sun

-        The friendships made that you just know will last

-        The total immersion into another culture and the break from your own reality that it gives you

-        Being in an environment where you are constantly learning new things and expanding your mind

-        Shovel claw

-        When exhaustion becomes the norm

-        Those five am wakeups after too eager of an Ouzo hour the night before

-        The 1st week of wheelbarrow struggles

-        Accidental picking of an artifact

-        Scrubbing a rock at pottery washing for too long before realizing its definitely not pottery

-        When the reality of the sixth week truly sinks in

-        Having to say goodbyes to all the awesome people you’ve met, even if it’s only for a little while

  In all seriousness though there truly were no downsides to being a part of EBAP 2014. It has been an incredible opportunity and privilege to work at such a fascinating site.  The skills I have gained and the amazing people I have met at this excavation far exceed the number of mornings I have woken and struggled to unclench my fists. I’d like to give a big thank you to Dr. Burke and Dr. Burns for allowing me to have this opportunity, as well as to everyone else on team EBAP 2014 for making my first dig the absolute best!


  1. We thank you for the comprehensive tour at the EBAP excavation area and, of course, for your patience and kindness to answer our questions for every point we had unfamiliarity.
    You are really proceed a lot and we wish you to get soon to a great revelation to the area!
    Thanks for the knowledge imparted.

    George, Betty, John.

  2. You are all VERY welcome. Thanks so much for coming to see our work and George's great help with the photos and John with the computers. And of course, THANK YOU for your hospitality.