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!

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Kali mera, y’all!

I left Atlanta on Thursday of last week and flew to Athens. The flight was uneventful, and I met up with my niece, Lisa, in baggage claim. We got our rental car and took off to see parts of Greece before proceeding to Samothrace.

I will update you later on some of the sites that we have seen, but for now I wanted to just give you an idea of Hall E, which is the workroom in the Archaeological Museum of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Last year I took gigapans of the workroom from 3 different perspectives:

This is the view as you enter the space. My work space is on the table on the left hand side, right at the entry. I use the white chair.

This is the view of the space behind my work space (it is obscure from view on both the north-south axial views).

Finally, this is the view of the hall from the back, looking toward the entrance.

I invite you to look around in these panoramas – that increases my explore scores, which is useful to me.

I will have more pictures and panoramas tomorrow, but for the moment I have to go. We are going to have a tour of the sanctuary (the we being Lisa, the new group of NYU students, an Emory alum and his companion, and I), led by Jim Mc Creadie, since our fearless, intrepid leader, Bonna, managed to break her leg last week.

More soon!

A week from today I will be in Greece again, which means that in 6 days I will be boarding a plane to Athens.

The trip is a little different this year. My niece is accompanying me (not so different from last year, when my husband accompanied me), but we are renting a car and driving from Athens to Alexandroupolis then taking the ferry to the island. We are going to see some sights along the way. Delphi is definitely on the agenda, Eleusis is a high priority, as well as Pella and Vergina. Two nights in Arachova and one night in Thessaloniki. We will also be working at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothraki. Gigapans, GPS, metrology, bring it on!

Today after a packed day of analysis (now that I have a dataset that Bonna is satisfied with), taking Gigapans (I got several good ones and will post links after I upload them next week), and finally packing, the Great Gods took offense and decided to throw a thunderstorm in our honor at 5:30 when I was beginning to get nervous about leaving for the ferry. However, it was quickly over, and we managed to squeeze our 8 bags and 3 people into the Micra to get to the ferry dock. We arrived just as the last vehicles were getting off the ferry, so we were able to get our luggage well situated.

Six of the eight bags with which we are traveling, nicely shelved on the ferry

Fortunately we were early enough so that we could get good seats. So I camped out while Rick roamed the top deck to take pictures. I think this one, looking out from the harbor in Kamariotissa, is pretty nice.

A view from Kamariotissa harbor

Although the boat’s arrival had been delayed by the storm, we left more or less on time. Rick took this last picture of the island.

One last view of Samothrace

We arrived in Samothrace after dark, and managed to get a cab to take us the few blocks to the hotel. Erika was just as irrascible as ever, clearly clueless as to how two people named Hertzberg can’t speak German.

It has been a long day, and we have to get up early and go to the airport tomorrow, so I’ll post again on Friday. Until then…

Yesterday was our last full day on the island. I worked my fingers to the veritable bone getting to analytic results. And today I need to do more. But I am also going to take some gigapans if it kills me. So this is a quick post, summarizing the high points and low points.

Let’s start with the low points: Our accomodations here are a little spartan (for those of you who know Montreat, think of Chestnut Lodge), so the Athens Marriott is getting to look mighty fine. We aren’t in our 20’s any more, and it is tougher to leave our luxuries as we age.

But enough about low points, let’s hear it for the high points: Perhaps because of the accomodations, we have developed better friendships here. In addition, Bonna and I have developed a better working relationship in that I am much more familiar with the architecture meaning and archaeological context of the work, while she is much more familiar with what I need in terms of data. And perhaps next summer I can get her to understand the concept of confidence interval.

So keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. And cheer me on when I hike up the Acropolis on Friday, approximately 2 am EDT (9 am here).

More later….

Saturday I slaved away over a hot laptop, programming, checking data, etc, and was at it until 7:45 pm, when Rick had our daughter on Skype. Being the good mother that I am, I opted to stop work and chat with her. All of the team slowly dragged back to the Xenia, and around 9 pm we drove up to Chora for an evening out.

We ate at 1900, a very nice restaurant. Tzatziki, melanzanasalata (eggplant salad), horiatiki (Greek salad), patates, chicken souvlaki, and goat – nummers!

The view from our table at 1900 in Chora.

Sunday morning I woke up when the cicadas started chirping, around 8 am. WIdrove in to Kamariostissa with Bonna where we picked up some hot buzecki, a pastry specialty to northeastern Greece. It is layers of filo dough pastry, each generously slathered with butter, then a layer of custard, then more filo and butter. This whole concoction is then baked until golden brown. when you order, you point to a length. The woman then cuts of that length then slices and dices into little square bits, which she then heaps onto some butcher paper and sprinkles with powdered sugar and cinnamon. After weighing – it’s sold by the kilo – she wraps it up and bags it. It is best enjoyed while still warm.

After breakfast we went to the sandy beach at Pacchia Ammos. I took several gigapans there, which I am processing now. I’ll upload and post links at a later time, after I am back in the world of fater internet.

After lunch, we went to Fonias to hike to the waterfalls. Although there is only the slightest of slopes, the hike is challenging in that one must pick one’s way carefully through rocks, at times crossing over the river then crossing back again. But I am proud to say that I made it all the way, although by the time I arrived I was too exhausted to swim. I had to save my energy to get back to the car, although the return trip was slightly easier since it was downhill – the incline was slight, but enough to make a difference that way.

Michael along the way.

I'm getting there, slowly but surely!

Now I am back with nose to grindstone, or rather, fingers to computer keyboard. I hope the great god of SAS continues to smile upon me.

More later…

A few days ago we promised you gigapans. We have been so busy here in Hall E, slaving away over a hot computer writing SAS programs and analyzing data, that we have hardly had time to take any. The three gigapans that we have taken are of (you guessed it) Hall E. Here is a link to one of them.

Michael, the wonder-geo-spatial guy, has been so busy taking a survey of the site that he has hardly had time to take any, likewise. However, he has managed to sneak off for a few shots. Unfortunately for all of us, the internet connection here is so slow that he has not uploaded any of them yet.

If you are interested in more gigapans of Samothrace, you can find all of the work by Michael and yours truly on the island by going to this link.

Now we had best be getting back to work – more data to analyze. More tomorrow!