Episode Two of Emerging Cypriot is up and ready for download or viewing. "Learning to Fieldwalk" is a short introduction to intensive survey field walking. From its first formal field season in 2004, Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project has been part field project and part field school. Consequently, we put a good bit of energy into teaching basic archaeological skills to a small group of graduate student and undergraduate volunteers. Over a 3-4 week field seasons we work closely with the students emphasizing both the practical and the theoretical (or at least methodological) training in archaeological survey. The short gives you some idea what their first day in the field is like. We run the first day of practice on a very high density unit atop the hill of Vigla where the walkers are likely to encounter almost all of the artifact types that they will see in the survey area (with the odd exception of large, flat, Late Roman roof tiles that are ubiquitous elsewhere!).
This film short condenses long hours of work with the student in the field into one blustery afternoon. It does broach the not insignificant matter that most survey (and many surveys) have to confront: how does our training of field walkers, diggers, or even supervisors impact the data that our projects produces. One of the most persistent critiques of survey archaeologist is that inexperienced field walkers produce unreliable results. We examined our walker data for just this kind of irregularity and some of the results are available in a short working paper: "Notes on the Relationship between Walker Collection Figures and Total Artifact Densities" based exclusively on PKAP data collected between 2004 and 2006. It clearly does not represent the last word on the effect of walker variability on the data produced by surveys, but at least attempts to problematize our data in a coherent way.
The first three installments of Emerging Cypriot work together to provide a brief introduction to our field methods and expand the detail provided by the Survey on Cyprus. If you are more of a text oriented person you can read about our methods in our two articles in the Report of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus (2005, 2007).
Next week, we'll debut "An Artifact's Journey" which clever web-surfers have already seen as it accidentally appeared on an early version of the Emerging Cypriot interface. The good news is that it received decent reviews from discerning eyes. Feel free to make comments here on each of the episodes.
A few technical notes
The video is all in QuickTime which you will need to download to watch it. If you right click and download the video, it is formatted for viewing on your iPod or even iPhone or iPod Touch. When a new installment is made, the image will be a rollover. I borrowed the idea for this format from a video series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The center square in the last row is a link to the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project web page where you can read more about everything that you see in these film shorts.