“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week 2 of Dig Posted July 31

The second week of digging commenced relatively uneventfully, but we
certainly can't seem to get any decent weather as "Wednesday" (it was
actually Sunday) was a day we spent the whole day at camp instead of
at the site because we had so much rain. It was my cooking day, and so
I made burritos—yum. Several people asked what's needed, and here's a
brief description of why it was so special: Tortillas need flour,
water, oil, and a pinch of salt, but also it is required that they be
rolled with a beer bottle that has had the label rain cleaned. Flies
and dirt are optional but certainly make extra seasoning. For the rare
Vitebsk bought beans, they must be campfire cooked (so including ash,
yellow river water, whatever strange seasoning the shop had – reading
labels should not be attempted) slowly next to the rice (a whole,
packet, why not??), also on the fire. Sticks must be used as pot
holders and if the pot is not covered with burnt charcoal dust then
they will not have that delicious taste necessary for a true camping
feast. Don't forget the sour cream!

We did some more drawing this week, which is really quite prescribed.
I found a fantastic fish knife with a hole in it, which we are not
sure what the true purpose is for, but there have only been one or two
other similar items found anywhere in the region. We also found a
couple of really cool teeth pendants, which are easy to mistake for
just teeth (which I still find just as cool) because of the caked
dirt. Lots more flint scrapers (to the point where we don't even find
them interesting anymore), and I must say that I am quite sick of
pottery clusters (i.e. pots that have fallen in one place and broken
into many shards). They are tedious to brush off, and slow down the
process enormously, plus they are so completely delicate that getting
a complete piece out is a trial. But seriously, it's a joy to be
finding so much—I feel honored to have found the most field objects of
anyone, but that's simply because I picked the busiest square.

When a new volunteer arrived for the "weekend" (read, the real
weekend, but our mid week), he brought with him a volleyball which he
proceeded to blow up and invite all to play with him. Luckily, the
machines and men clearing the fields for hay had flattened the area
surrounding the campsite that very day. Honestly though, when we went
out at dusk for a casual pass around, I spent more time swatting
mozzies than hitting, and I swear I killed as many of the apparently
genetically inferior beasts (so easy to kill) as I passed the ball.
Miserable pests, they are! Whoever invented those was obviously in a
bad mood.

After all the crazy rain of the past few days, we discovered our
"bridge" has now become submerged. Still, crossing the precarious
structure saves us at least 20 minutes, so we are still game to cross.
On Thursday, it was my turn to make a sacrifice to the rain gods—I
fell in. I guess I was getting too cocky and crossing too quickly, but
the wooden logs rolled and I was in the water up to my waist before I
even realized I was falling in. Luckily, I had on my quick dry pants
so I had cleared every drop by lunchtime—just in time for the walk
home and a humble apology to the bridge and rain gods again!

The highlight of our week, though, has to be the shop on wheels, the
"auto magazin" which plies the villages with produce a couple of times
a week. We line up for our chocolate bars, bread, pickles and other
odd items, and of course, the archaeologist's staple item: beer.

Pics: Shop on wheels.

No comments: