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…

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….

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!

Yesterday was very productive. I was able to analyze the data of another author and arrive at the same answer as he did, so I feel confident that the SAS programs that we have devised (thanks Paul and Margueritte) are working well. I always love it when SAS is working for me.

Here’s the issue: Jari Pakkanen, a Finnish archaeologist, has been using a statistical method called the cosine quantogram (CQG) for the last 10 years or so to define the quanta that have been used in the design and construction of various buildings from ancient Greece. There seems to be no one in the archaeological world with the expertise to know if he is doing this correctly or not. My colleague has brought me in to confirm his application and results. Then we want to extend this methodology to the data that she has been gathering in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. There are over a dozen structures here that were built mostly over the course of a century, and many of the blocks remain. Her question, beyond the one regarding the appropriateness of the method, is one of hypothesis – can we then use the CQG or some other methods to compare the quanta found in two or more structures? Due to the secrecy surrounding the cult here, there is little known about it from written records. The structures were built under the royal patronage of Macedonian kings as well as the Ptolemies. If we know the quantum units (units of linear measure) used in the design and construction of the buildings, can we then infer something about the architects who designed the building and the stone masons who built them? This question goes beyond the boundaries of statistics, but one can use the tools of the discipline to test the commanality of a quantum unit to a collection of structures.

The subject of the quantum used in ancient Greek architecture has been intensely debated among scholars dating back to the 19th century. Although the Romans and the Egyptians had standardized units of measure used throughout their empires, it appears that the Greeks had standards that were more local in nature –  i.e., there was no National Bureau of Standards in ancient Greece. A relief (such as the Ashmolean relief or the Salamis relief, housed at the Piraeus Museum) would reside in the village marketplace (or agora) and would serve as a local or regional standard. Some scholars insist that there were no more than 3 standard quanta used throughout the ancient Greek world, while others aver that many more were used. If the latter is true, and if we can identify differences in quanta used in our different buildings, then we gain further clues to the origins of the architects and /or stone masons.

For the moment we are dealing with measurements from the footprint of the buildings. We also have the measurements from the blocks used in construction, as well as the finer measurements from the blocks (think triglyphs, mutules, and guttae, for all of you architectural aficionados out there). Now that I have beaten one of Pakkanen’s datasets to death, I will be moving on to our data this week.

Thus I really felt that the great god of SAS was smiling on me yesterday. Now if only the great gods of NIH and NSF will smile upon me AND shower me with gold…

I leave you now with a couple of pictures of our workspace in Hall E.

I am occupying almost half of this table with my stuff – I have the side where the chair is, from the corner where you can see a bit of a green file folder, all the way down to the tripod legs (projecting over the table toward the fan), on which my gigapan is mounted. Here’s another shot:

Yes, I’m packing two computers. The one on the left is a MacBook. It is truly my personal computer – I manage my pictures and music on it. I use it here to write my blog posts, check email, surf internet, etc. while the machine on the right (my work laptop) does the heavy lifting. Right now it is uploading a Gigapan (more on that tomorrow) and later on I will use it for SAS analysis.

More tomorrow…