Yesterday was July 4th. But it was also Wednesday, so we stuck to our usual daytime work schedule. Nevertheless we planned to celebrate our unique American holiday in our unique Samothracian fashion.

We invited Professor and Mrs. McCredie over for Ouzo Hour. They arrived in Sylvester, a Thing that was a popular model for VW in the 1970’s. There was deep concern during the first week that Sylvester might have breathed his last. Evidently he broke down somewhere between Kavala and Alexandroupolis as the McCredie’s made their way to the island earlier in the summer. The mechanic evidently had difficulty obtaining parts. Nevertheless, he was ultimately successful and Mr. McCredie was able to fetch Sylvester last Friday.

Between 6 pm when we knocked off work, and 8 pm, the start of Ouzo Hour, a great deal of preparation took place. An appetizer of watermelon cubes, speared with a leaf of arugula and a slice of feta, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar was made, as well as zucchini fritters. Others set the table in a holiday appropriate theme:

(You may not be able to see it so well, but the centerpiece is a vase containing a handful of small American flags.)

In addition to the hot appetizers, we also set out olives, pretzel sticks, bread and tzatziki, peanuts, and the requisite Ouzo. Actually, I should say “they” did all this, because I was in my room, packing up my belongings.

The McCredie’s arrived promptly at 8 pm, with Sylvester sporting both the American and Greek flags:

After the Ouzo Hour, the McCredie’s retired to their house, while we continued to celebrate with another uniquely American tradition: pizza delivery, new to Samothrace. It was wonderful pizza – and, as it turns out, the proprietor ran a pizzaria in Connecticut for a couple of decades before returning to Kamariotissa. We enjoyed peach cobbler for dessert.

I retired early, since I had to catch the 7 am ferry this morning. I am now ensconced in a hotel room in Athens, and have to catch a flight at 6:50 am for Paris in the morning, then on to ATL later in the afternoon.

Although I have loved being here this year, I am excited for my next adventure – I get to see all of my family in a week as we gather for my nephew’s wedding near Dallas, Texas.

So that closes the dig blog for this year. Since my daughter is getting married next summer, I am not planning to return to Greece before 2014. So I will see you then. Thanks to all of you who have been reading! And stay tuned…


Right now we are at the peak prevalence of people associated with the excavation team: the former site director, Mr. McCredie, and his wife, the current site director, Bonna, and her daughter, the glass conservator (Steve Koob), 2 Harvard-associated architects, 2 NYU and 1 Emory students working in the conservation lab, 1 Princeton, 1 NYU, and 1 Emory students working on archaeology, and me. So we posed for a group picture this morning:

Wait, was that a goat herd running by?

A short time after this photo, Steve left to return to his home in Corning, NY, and I will leave tomorrow morning. On the other hand, Steve’s and my places will be taken this weekend by Michael Page, a geographer from Emory, and his wife. Also, Steve will return in 2 weeks. After that people start to trickle out around July 20, although 2 more Emory students also arrive then. The excavation officially closes on August 6.

More later!

As I have written before, one of our tasks this summer is to work on the precinct where Champoiseau discovered the Nike statue. Several of the archaeologists have gone out to the site each morning to clean it, cutting down some of the weeds and troweling a little bit around some of the edges to increase their definition in order to prepare for some photography. In particular a gigapan of the precinct. Now I had taken two gigapans of the precinct two years ago, one from the front and another from above it along its eastern wall.  You might notice from the frontal view that you can’t really see the floor of the interior due to the two massive boulders. This very short photographer is unable to get the gigapan up high enough to really get a good view inside.

So one goal this year was to provide a way for me to get up high enough to take the necessary photographs, shooting a bit over top of the boulders. Our ultimate decision was to put the tripod on a table top, then I could mount a ladder to set the process into motion. So yesterday morning we did just that. I mounted the gigapan on the tripod, then the camera on the gigapan. Then I put the tripod on top of a table, and climbed up a rickety ladder, and made the necessary camera settings and robot settings, and let it go. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the settings I was making as well as I could if I were working on terra firma, so to speak. I ended up with a massive failure. I aimed the upper row to be too far up so eventually the camera twisted on the screw holding it to the robot, and fell back away from the button pusher mechanism.

Here is a picture of the table-tripod-gigapan-camera assembly:

So today we will try, try, again, this time with a sturdier ladder. But here is the bright side – I lugged the gigapan all the way here, I ought to at least have taken some shots with it. And, I had an interesting conversation on my way up to the site yesterday, with a professional photographer from Turkey, who was curious to know what the gadgetry was all about. Of course he did not speak good English, and I speak no Turkish, so we ended up having the conversation in Spanish.

Today is my last full working day here – I leave on the seven o’clock ferry tomorrow morning. I have so much left to do here today. So I had best get with the program. I will try to post something tomorrow once I get to my hotel in Athens. There is no wifi on the ferry, and, as I recall from the afternoon I spent there a few years ago, waiting for my lost bag to show up, the airport in Alexandroupolis has no internet. And I will have hours to kill between my ferry arrival at 9:30 am and my flight at 2:30 pm.

More later!

Over the weekend, local fishermen found an amphora while out on their boat. They brought to the museum:

It is so well preserved, at least as the physical object goes. I wonder what is underneath all of the sea slime.

And in other breaking news, over the weekend a retaining wall in the sanctuary gave way. So the archaeology team is busy looking at what has been revealed. The wall is near the Neorion, what is more commonly called the Ship Monument, pictured in this gigapan. The wall that gave way is in the foreground on the left hand side. What will we find?

In the meantime, I continue my search for ancient quanta.

Tune in tomorrow!

Yes, viewers, Kansas City has nothing on Kamariotissa. New to the island this year: a solar panel farm, as seen below:

And, in other news, I am finally analyzing data. Film at 11.

See ya tomorrow!

1. The Customer Support team in the Office of Information Services, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, really saved my bacon yesterday. I now have a SAS license good for another year. Thanks to Reuben, Sidney (who did 95% of the work), and Belinda, who was emailing with me at 4 in the morning EDT yesterday. Now I have no excuse for not finishing these analyses.

2. Yesterday I told you about using the iPad app, 123D Catch. Here is the link to the view of the object in the AutoDesk gallery. I had a blast making that one, I think I’ll make a few more while I am here.

3. If you listened to the media player file in the Sounds of Samothrace post, you might have heard a lot of wind causing an unpleasant situation with the microphone. I have crafted a solution to this problem that would make MacGyver proud:

Thanks to my Dear Husband and my future Son-In-Law for helping me figure out what to do, and to Stephen Koob, who is here teaching the students in the conservation lab, for helping me with the taping. I knew that extra piece of foam would come in handy!

4. Now I’m off to work on my analyses. We don’t work on Sunday, so no post tomorrow. See you on Monday!

I have a lot of gear with me. Approximately 100 pounds of gear. I would guess that only 20 pounds or less of that is clothes and toiletries. The rest is all manner of computers, associated drives and cables, cameras (I am packing 4 of them), the Gigapan. And then there are the plugs, adapters, and batteries, lots and lots of batteries. Here is a picture of my work station.

iPad, MacBookAir, iPhone, plugs, cables, adapters, thumb drives galore.

Alas, yesterday the Great God of Technology  was vacillating in the favors shown to me.

The Good: About a month ago I ran across 123D Catch, a product of AutoDesk that has an iPad app. The app supposedly allows you to take pictures with the iPad of a person, place, or thing, then it stitches them together to produce a 3d model that you can rotate in space. It was free, so I thought, why not?

Yesterday, during the Ugly, I tried it out. I decided to see if I could reconstruct this object:

This is an architectural fragment from one of the buildings here.

So I took a bunch of pictures of this object and let 123D Catch work its magic. It is difficult using just still photography to get a really good sense of how easy it is to manipulate this “object” as it has been reconstructed by the program. But here is how it initially appears

and now I have swiped my fingers across the screen to rotate “it” “in space”

It took 45 minutes from the time I started the tutorial until I had this finished “object” – this is just too cool for words.

The Bad: Internet service is really slow here. We must be only one step up from dial-up in terms of speed. And cell phone service is even worse. A lot of the time I have no coverage, and there are at least 3 different companies that alternately appear as the roaming service provider.

The Ugly: My focus on this trip has been in doing statistical analysis, and I depend on SAS, a widely known software package, to do this. Now for days my SAS log has been saying that my license is due to expire in 45 days. But yesterday afternoon I noticed that the log said that my license is due to expire TOMORROW! Yikes!!

I dashed off an email to the help desk back at home. I even tried to talk to them twice, but the call was dropped both times before I could do much more than to say hello. Fortunately both Reuben and Sidney were most responsive – Thanks, guys. Unfortunately I might be out of luck beginning midnight EDT until sometime late afternoon my time on Monday if they don’t figure out how to upgrade my SAS installation to the next version, then renew my license. That means I would lose all day Saturday of working as well as most of Monday. Since I leave on Thursday on the 7 am ferry, I am not very happy with this prospect. Let’s hope that they can figure out a way…