Around About Town

Having G here with me is great… except I’m getting no work done! Technically, that’s okay, and it was to be expected… this is our Cornell Spring Break anyway, right? Problem is I was hoping to get a bit more done last week. I’m always too optimistic about what I can get done in 3 days with jet lag… then add in being sick, and yeah. Overly optimistic is all I can say about that.

So, what have we seen and done? Friday I dragged him to Ayios Sozomenos, which is the region I will be writing my dissertation on, to show him my beautiful Bronze Age fortresses! He was suitably impressed (they are pretty darn cool, I have to say) and greatly amused by my geeking out. These fortresses are so interesting, because really, no one knows a lot about them. A lot has been said about them, but none of it has been particularly interesting, and its been based on very little evidence. This makes it perfect for a dissertation – if I can add even a little more data, and if I can say something even slightly interesting, then I am contributing to scholarship!! Hurrah!

What was super productive about that trip though, is that there is a fortress that was excavated in the 1920s by the Swedish Cyprus Expedition, called Glyka Vrysis. Only the architecture was every published back in 1926, and although Sjökvist published very nice drawings of the fort, he didn’t publish a map. He gives an unfortunately vague description of its location, and basically everyone for the past 50 years has been putting it in the same spot on a map, which I was pretty sure was wrong, once I became familiar with the area, and had read his report instead of just looking at everyone else’s maps. He claims that the fort was surrounded by a “small settlement” and was on the west side of a stream that runs through a gully between two of the big fortresses on the plateau, but that the fort and settlement are at the base of a hill with a cemetery on it. Sadly, this area bears very little resemblance to its state 100 years ago. There’s a massive sand-mining operation that has dug out about half the plateau, and shoved piles of tailings all over the place, and the stream bed has been almost totally obliterated by a large farm which has terraced the gently sloping ground where the stream used to run. Walking across those fields confirmed my fear – there’s nothing left. Not a scrap… its all fresh sandy soil shoved off the top of the plateau or trucked in from heaven knows where. However, once we were down in those fields, we could see a “hill” that wasn’t part of the plateau, and still appeared to be relatively intact. As soon as we started clambering up it, eureka! Pottery! White Slip, Black slip, some nice Red Polished III and IV, and even (the real prize!) a sherd of Red-on-Red… and then at the top, 6 huge looted tombs cut into the limestone scarp. Bingo. There’s the MCIII/LCI cemetery on a hill, so while the fort is long gone, I at least know where it was (and I was right, its not really anywhere near where we’ve been sticking it on maps for the last 50 years). So yay! I clearly need to have my sidekick in Cyprus with me more often if this is what happens in our first 24 hours….

Dinner that night was at To Steki, a yummy traditional Cypriot food tavern/restauraunt here in Nicosia. We went out at 8 pm, and the place was totally empty. I was afraid it was closed! And then when I saw there were staff inside, I was afraid they were getting ready to close. Oh, foolish, foolish girl! You’re in the Mediterranean!! We go in, and it turns out that 3/4 of their tables are reserved, and we’re the FIRST customers of the night. As we sat, several more couples and small groups without reservations showed up, and were seated in increasingly less ideal tables, and then the hoard started to appear right as we finished our grill plate. Guess we showed up at the right time after all!

Saturday was more adventures, this time returning (again for me) to Politiko-Troullia. It had rained pretty heavily the previous night and morning, and the site was a MESS, but the rain had uncovered some exciting stuff… looks like our destruction layer and room full of pithoi continued even further. Neat! I need to make sure they dig out the baulk between trench O and N… so many goodies, and I really want to know what was going on in that room.

Dinner that night was Syrian-Arab Friendship Club, with my friends Efythmios and Sam. Its one of the best restaurants in town, and has been for years. With 4 people we were able to get the meze, and basically we ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and then we ordered coffee and custard on top of that. Good company, and good food, I was so full that all I could do when we got home to the Institute was lie in bed and watch Inspector Lewis.

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