This is a slightly delayed post I’m afraid. It’s a busy time for fieldwork and preparing for the next HARP field school. Well, we have finished up with our Cyprus field schools for Spring 2016, and I certainly enjoyed my time out there. Our Introduction to Archaeology group this year came with a variety of backgrounds and from various places around the world making it a really unique team. We spent the first few days learning how to properly record archaeology – how to draw plans, sections, elevations and profiles. This included working with a dumpy level and taking archaeological site photographs which can be used to illustrate contexts for publication.
This year, we were also lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to the on-going HARP experimental archaeology project on Bronze Age Beer Making by partially excavating one of the old drying kilns. This experience gave the students a chance to practice their context recording and identifying archaeological features, while providing information on the destructive processes affecting the kiln and thus informing on the original excavation of the kiln at Kissonerga-Skalia.
The second week of the Introduction course also included quite a few site trips, including to the local UNESCO world heritage sites of the Mosaics and Tomb of the Kings. These visits were led by local archaeologist and faunal specialist, Paul Croft, who is able to provide a unique and interesting perspective on the archaeology in the area. We had a couple of guest talks as well – Paul spoke to us about archaeozoology and why animal bones are so important in archaeological site recording. And Lisa Graham came back to talk about pottery analyses, using real Cypriot material derived from the multi-period site of Prastio-Mesorotzos to illustrate her talk. It was really great to have two specialists come out and provide us with a good understanding of what they do.
As the second week was more about the post-excavation work that archaeologists undertake, we also had the opportunity to do some artefact drawing and photography, and of course, I did a presentation on human remains in archaeology and gave the students a chance to look at archaeologically-derived human remains. The students also had the opportunity to learn the basics of standing building recording. We used the Lemba experimental round houses to introduce the concepts of how to recording built heritage and give the students more chances to practice their plan drawing and context recording.
Finally, we ended the two-week session with a trip to the Paphos Museum and an end-of-project BBQ! Thanks to Amandine, Chris, Ellen, John and Maria for participating in the course!
Next up for HARP is our Jacobites, Clearances and Scots field school in Blair Athol! This project is one of my favourites and I am really looking forward to getting back to this beautiful part of the world and back out into the field. Next post we’ll talk a bit about what we did last year, and what we hope to do this year!