|Mass Emails I sent out summer 2005||back|
as is the way of things every summer with me, i will soon be off to italy to dig in the dirt, get melanomically tan, crack the proverbial whip at a bunch of would-be archaeology students, and eat more prosciutto and mozzarella than can possibly be healthy. and as usual, you people will be subjected to the not-all-that-regular emailings of my antics 'half naked and down in a big hole' (thank you russell for that vivid description). i leave the east coast on the 22nd for a short stopover in san antonio. somehow or another, it is faster and cheaper to fly to italy from the middle of the country, and if you attempt to fly out from washington, they ship you inland to either illinois or texas before routing you out through atlanta again. going to see friends and eat my weight in mexican food and steak.
for anyone interested in the backlog of previous years' emails (this is my fifth year digging with the anglo-american project in pompeii) and some other goofy stuff in regard to what goes on during the summer, go poke around my website at www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/~cweiss (click on the butterfly, then AAPP). goofiness. utter utter goofiness.
this is also a call for snail mail. i love getting real written-on-paper-in-ink mail (and it's something of a matter of pride to get letters), so if you think about it, send me something to the address at the end of this email. and i'll reciprocate with a postcard.
if for any reason you dont want to get these emails, yell at me and i'll take you off the list. strangely enough, some people are clamboring to get put on the list (not a request i'm used to for mass mailings), so apparently i am occassionally entertaining. either way, i'm always sheepish about mass mailings, so tell me if you want me to quit bugging you.
hello from the heat and sun of southern italy!
the season has begun with a bang. got here a week ago to set up shop, hang out with the staff and generally live it up before the students arrive and mess up the proper socializing. ok, that's not entirely true. this year most of us supervisors are friends and have really been using that to our advantage: bouncing ideas off of one another, discussing ideas about our trenches and teaching methods, all good things. and a realy good group.
sunday was our first day of work. the students this year seem to be great, and the general feeling of season is much MUCH more positive than last year (last year was sort of an off year). i'm digging in pat's shrine, a large area that has been dug for the past three years running and i should finish it out this year. more on archaeology later when we actually have some of it (my trench has been digging out backfill for the last three days getting down to the depth that was reached last year to start our excavation there).
the most amazing thing about this place is how little anything changes. we're gone for an entire year, get back, and not a single thing has changed: same staff at the campsite, same staff in pompeii scavi, same general feeling about the area, same dogs (nora is alive! nora is my favorite scavi dog, a little black wiry female with big coyote ears and the sweetest disposition. she sometimes sleeps on the mat in front of my tent and wakes up with me, tail wagging. she's been in pompeii and hanging out with the project for the last 7 years at least).
anyway, this isn't yet much of an email, just a little update that i'm here and well, and things are great. more on saturday, probably.
admittedly, i suck at keeping up with this email thing when i'm in italy.
there are two digging days left before season is over an we fill all the holes back in. i've been digging in the shrine, the stables and the sidewalk of the vicolo di narciso, the shady back street of our insula (insula=city block). claire of the many trenches again. my first year of supervising i was overseeing four trenches by the end of the dig, so three is no problem. heh. right.
the entire first week and then a little bit more was dedicated to the removal of backfill from last year in the shrine. pat, my predecessor in the excavation of the space known as the shrine, had all but finished in the area and had created a pretty substantial hole in the ground which we had to recreate to get down to the remaining ancient in situ stuff. so the archaeology only really started to happen sometime in the middle of the second week. so then in the third week, we opened the second little room in the back of the stables, an adjoining building to the shrine. (ok, i realize that little of this makes any sense to anyone other than the people that have been on the dig, but you come up with a better way to talk about what i'm doing without a power point presentation)
the other... interesting.... development of the summer is what i will refer to as the darren debacle, both for it's accuracy and alliterative ring. darren is, to put it lightly, an amazement of human hulk. he looks like he could arm wrestle the incredible hulk while lifting weights with the other arm and not break a sweat. and he's a supremely good digger. but something of a loose cannon. he was supposed to have been a full on supervisor this year, but sent a message to the directors in the last days before we were supposed to be here saying that he wasnt coming. so other plans for his area were arranged. then the day before the students arrived, he texted someone saying he is coming afterall. um... ok. but other plans were not averted. so he shows up an is given the sidewalk of narciso and is supposed to cull students from my slightly-stacked-for-the-purpose-of-supplying-people-to-darren trench team. fine. then some stuff goes down. i mean really. i'm not entirely sure what, dont want to know, it's not my place to ask, etc etc, and suddenly darren has gone home. restatement of he's a loose cannon. to relieve the crunch of people in my trench and to keep working on the sidewalk, one of the second year students, els, was bumped to slightly more responsibility and is given the trench with my watchful eye at her side. and things have been wonderful since.
meanwhile, the supervisor group this year rocks. we're all friends, we help each other out, we discuss our archaeology, we share ideas about how to cater to the needs of the students more, and we are genuinely trying to improve the dig as it stands. cool stuff all around.
anyway, the shrine has been closed out, entirely done, photos taken and recording completed, we will start backfilling it tomorrow more than likely. the room in the stables is getting weird with little early walls running around in unlikely directions, and it will get opened again next year (hopefully by me), so no worries about having to finish that room. narciso is nearly there, but if we dont get it totally done, we can always finish it out next year as well. though i havent talked to my field director about how they want to handle that.
two days till backfill, but i'm not in the usual insane punch to the finish and happy for that. and then there will be a final report and last bits of hanging out. and then i'll miss the life and the people and the dirt and the sun for another 11 months until next year.