There are lots of bugs here, and you can see some of the fine specimens here. They have been particularly problematic this year, since our leader, Bonna, was bitten not once, not twice, but three times by a centipede while she was asleep on Saturday. One bite would be bad enough to cause nausea and vomiting, but she had three. Fortunately she is just about recovered today.

Nevertheless the bugs constitute an important part of the environment here, as does the wind. Moreover they constitute the major part of the aural environment. Major contributors are grasshoppers, like this guy.

One of the criticisms of the animated fly-throughs of the reconstructed model of the Sanctuary is that there is no sound. So I have taken it upon myself to record some of the ambient sounds. Here is a recording I made yesterday afternoon. Nothing much happens except that the chirping volume waxes and wanes, as does the sound of the wind. Anyway, here is your short taste of the Sounds of Samothrace:

Crickets attempt 1 from iphone


On-line education is currently a hotly debated topic now in the higher education circles that I frequent. It is not that people doubt the technology, rather the controversy evolves around the extent to which it should be incorporated into the collegiate experience. As an example of the extent of the controversy, the president of the University of Virginia recently lost her job. Part of UVA’s board’s reasoning was that she was too slow in incorporating online learning. (The other part, from what I can tell, is that she was dragging her feet about killing the Classics and German departments.) (UPDATE: President Sullivan has been reinstated. You can read more about the controversy here.)

Online education is here to stay, and those of us in higher education are going to have deal with it. I will be amused to see, however, how many of the children of proponents of the online only institutions actually “send” their children there.

Enough of that rant. I am really thankful that I work at an institution that is as supportive of education in all of its forms as Emory. An example of one of the many guises of education is how my colleague Bonna Wescoat brings a new team of students to Samothrace summer after summer and guides their field experience. Here is a picture of the most formal part of this educational experience:


This picture was taken at the start of the tour of the site, and we are sitting in the block field for the Propylon of Ptolemy II. The Propylon is the point of entry for initiates into the sacred cult that conducted its rites here. Bonna is on the far left, placing the building in the context of a map of the site. There are three Emory students here (third, fourth, and fifth students from the right), as well as students from Princeton and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Now these students can sit at their computers in the comfort of their homes in NYC or ATL and learn about the process of initiation, but NOTHING will replace the experience of being in this place.

One of the major things that these students will be working on this summer is the precinct that housed the famous statue, Nike, aka The Winged Victory of Samothrace. She sits atop the Daru staircase in the Louvre Museum in Paris, as seen in this picture:


Here is a closer view:


The statue was discovered here in the 19th century by French archaeologists and shipped back to Paris. The arms and head are missing, although a hand was discovered here in the 1950’s which was reunited with a finger later found in a drawer of an Austrian museum. The hand is also on display in the Louvre.

Speaking of education, the members of my department, students and faculty alike, all received departmental T-shirts. Our charge was to take them along on our travels and be photographed in them. So here is my picture, in which I answer the charge about the T-shirt, and pose as the Nike. This is taken in the precinct where the French found the statue.

More tomorrow!

Some of you may know that I have started working out with a trainer, Jeremy, aka ETG for Excellent Trainer Guy (although sometime I substitute Evil for those 60-90 minutes every week during our sessions). I have made a lot of progress since we started in April, and I wanted to continue my momentum.

So that raises the question, how does one maintain one’s girlish figure while on an excavation? I can’t pack up the Blomeyer Center in my suitcase. My answer is “Blomeyer in a Bag”.

At least once a week, Jeremy has had me working out with elastic bands. I recalled that several years ago, the Emory EVP of the Health Sciences Center sent a set of elastic bands to all of the faculty as a holiday present. I dug those out of the cupboard, thinking that those would be a relatively light way of bringing along resistance training. I asked Jeremy to write out a workout that I could do with the set of bands, which he obliged. So yesterday morning I arose at 5:15 and got my workout done before the heat of the day made it an impossibility. It remains to be seen if I can manage to repeat that feat tomorrow morning.

So now, for your viewing pleasure, I present, “Blomeyer in a Bag”:


Other than that, I spent yesterday setting up my workspace, and getting myself organized for working the rest of my time here. More later!

The Greek expression for “Hello” is “Γεια σας” (sounds like Yah sis). I’m back on Samothrace for my abbreviated season, and back in the blogging business.

I left Atlanta on Thursday June 21, taking the 5:30 pm flight to Amsterdam (dratted Delta has discontinued direct flights to Athens), then flew on to Athens. The first leg was delayed in ATL for equipment repair, then delayed getting to the gate in AMS due to water leakage into the gate area. Other than that my flights were remarkably unremarkable. I checked into the Sofitel right at the airport, and fell asleep. I had hoped to watch the Greece v Germany match for a semi-final berth in the UEFA 2012 tournament, but I could not stay awake, then I slept right through my alarm.

The next morning I grabbed a cab and went to the Archaeological Museum in Piraeus. There I got a picture of the object known as the Salamis relief, as well as a couple other objects related to metrology. There is a saying that the best camera is the one that you have at the moment, and at that moment I had 3 cameras so I took pictures with all three of them: iPad, iPhone, and my big girl camera, a DSLR. On the ferry to the island I played around with the Snapseed app on my iPad. It was very intuitive and really pretty amazing. Two thumbs up for Snapseed!

Anyway, here is the SOOC shot of the Salamis relief (from the iPad)


and here it is after applying the Sharpen and Black & White filters to it


Pretty cool, huh!

Another cool object there is one for measuring liquid volume which was found in the agora in Piraeus. Here it is SOOC:


and here it is after some post-processing with Snapseed


Finally this shot is of a stele found in Piraeus


I took this shot with my iPhone and have not yet played around with post-processing yet. It definitely needs it. Inscribed on this stele are reports from market inspectors, reporting on the prices of meat. Pork is the most expensive, then goat, then beef.

I arrived yesterday and we have spent thia morning setting up – daisy-chaining extension cords from the one working electrical outlet around our work space, so that we can power 5 computers, a scanner, a printer, lots of lights, and fans. This afternoon I will get to work on analyses. More tomorrow!

In ancient times, prospective members of the mystery cult of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods would sail to the island, putting in to the harbor at Paleopolis, the ancient city. They would proceed up the hill through the city, then go through the city walls and into the Sanctuary for initiation rites, starting from the Propylon of Ptolemy II. One of my tasks here this season was to help to “plot” the walls of the ancient city, so that our geographic / cartographic expert, Michael Page, could feed the data into the geographic information system that “we” are developing for the site.

Originally I had planned to hike the wall with my niece, but her ankle was twisted. With Bonna’s leg broken, and the memory of my broken foot of 2 years past still fresh in my mind, I decided that perhaps hiking the wall was not such a great idea for me. However, some of the NYU students were interested and willing to climb the wall and collect points into my handy dandy GPS device. Here are some pictures of their adventure yesterday.

on the way up against the wall

Above are two of the team as they start the ascent.

It's a long way up there

It’s a long way up there.

Taking a point

Here are two of the students taking a point reading.

They made it!

Their perseverance paid off and they made it!

It's a long way down.

It’s a long way down – yikes!

They made it back, with no serious injury although with varying percentages of skin removed from their legs. Neverthless, I want to publicly thank Amy, Arielle, and Emily for their willingness to take on this important task, and the good cheer with which they returned!

Lisa and I are on the mainland. We left Samothraki on the 4 pm ferry today, and drove due east to the coastal town of Kavala. Tomorrow we will stop in Vergina, the site of the tombs of Macedonian royalty, on our way south to the Peloponnese, where we hope to visit Epidaurus and Mycenae on Thursday. I hope to have a picture or two for you tomorrow.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to Samothraki…

I am writing about 9:30 am and our ferry is at 4 this afternoon. We would stay for one more day, but there is no ferry on Wednesday’s before the summer season gets underway on Friday, July 1.

Since last night was our last evening, we went out for dinner, returning to the “bean restaurant”. I realized that sometime between my first visit to the restaurant in 2008 and now, the parachute that had created a sheltered space had been replaced by an open-sided roof structure. I was not able to get a great picture, but here it is.

outdoor dining at the bean restaurant

Of course the roof is barely visible for all of the vegetation.

I will update sometime soon – I have to run and finish some analyses now! Ciao…

We live pretty close to nature here, and so there are, of course, bugs. Spiders, grasshoppers, and flies, primarily, but this year the bug is the moth. There are an incredible number of moths flitting about in broad daylight. Everyone is remarking on it, that they (who have been coming here for years) have never seen anything like it.

I can’t capture the effect fully (actually, I can’t capture it at all) with still photography, so here is a video:

Saturday night we go out to dinner, so this Saturday I was allowed to choose, given that Lisa and I are leaving this week. I would have chosen Sotiros, but it does not open until July 1, so we went to καρυδιας (which translates to walnuts), also familiarly known as “The Bean Restaurant”. Although I was disappointed that they did not have gigantes, they did have another bean dish that was simply delicious.

Sunday is our free day. The NYU team and Steve Koob, the visiting conservator, went to Fonias to hike to the waterfall. Since Lisa had twisted her ankle before the trip and it was sore, we felt it best that she not make that hike. However, we did drive down along the northern coast of the island, and stopped at the trailhead. We walked just a little way up the trail (increments of meters). It had rained Saturday night, and the first obstacle on the path is a teeny tiny waterfall:

Teeny tiny waterfall

In this view we are looking straight through at the path, which continues to the left of the tree in the background. Here is a long shot:

on the trail to the Fonias waterfalls

We turned around and went back to the car, continuing on our journey along the northern coast road, which ends at Kipos (i=ee) Beach. Since the tourist season does not start here until July 1, there is hardly anyone in town, and almost no one was at the beach.

You can see Turkey from the beach:

view of Imbros from Kipos Beach

In the far distance is the island of Imbros, which is part of Turkey. I like the view of the end of the road:

land's end at Kipos Beach

Well, folks, there are still a lot of data here yearning to be analyzed, so I had best attend to that. More tomorrow!