Saturday, September 19, 2009


We got into Poros, the town where we’re going to be living for the next three months, on September 11th. So I have been here for a week, I am just too busy to update. Or lazy, whatever. I have definitely become accustomed to the continental lifestyle. Nice.

So! This is Kefalonia. We’re in Poros, in the south-east corner. Our excavation site is at the ancient Pronnoi acropolis, which is just west of the town. Kefalonia used to be divided into four city states, and Pronnoi was the southernmost. I shall talk more about our excavation, and the island history, etc., in other posts, because it is darn interesting.

This is the view from the balcony in the two room suite I’m sharing with another archaeology student. Yee-ah. Idyllic. Just a little.

The excavation site is a cemetery on the north-west slope of the acropolis and is a 15 minute drive up this gorge from Poros. Poros itself is very small, but very very friendly. It feels like most of the people in the town recognize our program director, Geoffrey, or one of the townspeople helping organize the excavation (Hettie and Makis). Makis used to be the mayor of the province of Pronnoi on Athens, and Hettie is his wife. They are both so, so kind and accommodating. They’ve organized so much of the trip for us and our stay, and Hettie is always turning up with a special treat or day trip for us. All the islanders involved in our stay – from the bus driver to the reps from the Greek archaeological services – knows somebody whose son has a boat for us to use or has a brother who can get us bike rentals or owns a bar we should go hang out at, etc. etc. Greek hospitality can be a bit overwhelming.

Our apartment complex!

We’ve had two days at the site so far...kind of. Day one was cleaning up the detritus from the past summer and spring. The site excavations began last September with a previous group of SFU students, so no topsoil digging. Yet. Somehow I earned the right to sit on my butt and sort through pebbles for bone fragments with our resident osteology person-about-town, Julie, instead of shifting rocks and using pick-axes to delineate the trench walls again. Not bad for a first day! I will never, ever turn down the opportunity to look for human remains, especially when the alternative is hard labour, haha. A few of the graves have been robbed or disturbed or accidently plowed through with farming equipment over the years, so we worked through a portion of the site where someone’s bone fragments had been scattered. Not much to find – mostly shards of long bones or skulls – but we did find two distal hand phalanges, which are the very tips of your finger. I didn’t say much to anyone, but I was pretty thrilled to find a complete carpal phalange on my first day. I am a great big dorky newbie and all day I was thinking back on the site.

The next day I was really geared to go and start moving some walls and capstones where Geoffrey believed skeletal remains were hidden, but we got rained out. We were taking line measurements (or watching people take line measurements) at about 8:30 in the morning and a thunderstorm poured over the valley on top of us. Le sigh. We’re not back up there for two days, four days after the last day on the site, and I am vaguely worried that some of the bone we exposed has been washed away.
But we’ll see. In the meantime the group has had three organized trips out of town, so it’s not as though I am without things to do.


  1. gah, this is so exciting!! Who is this person you're living with? what are they like? I found another girl on the green floor this year who watches Doctor Who and Firefly! What do you do on days when you're not excavating? Have you talked to your dig-mates yet? What's your daily routine like?

    Okay, enough interrogation. these are things you should write about in your next post. heart.

  2. Hi Ginny,

    I finally wrestled the address to your blog from your Mother so I could see for myself what you have been up to! Your pictures are very impressive!

    I totally concur with "eegeorge" - simply because we wish we were there and could experience everything you see, hear and feel.

    Expound dear girl, expound!

    Just teasing! I know you are not on a holiday and that you have classes to take and dirt to dig out from underneath your fingernails.

    I have gone into total withdrawal after watching the last episode in existance of Veronica Mars. I don't care what the writers were plotting, in my over 50 romantic world Logan never gets killed off and they live happily ever after. What is Firefly about?

    I'd better stick to Bronte and Austen; I know can predict the ending.

    Your Uncle David has finally hit 60 years old and I think his warranty attached to his sense of humour might be running out. He now gazes forlornly in the mirror in the morning, tugging at his little sagging jowls, and whispering to himself about hair color for men. Of course you know how much sympathy he is going to get from a woman whose boobs are somewere around her knees.

    Take care, Ginny! Luv you a lot!

    Aunt Wendy