I leave the comfortable confines of the American School early tomorrow morning for the beginning of my field season in Cyprus. It was an exciting year to be at the American School for many reasons. First, I was able to focus heavily on my own research including my work on Cyprus on the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, on Early Christian epigraphy, architecture, and decoration. I was able to develop a small (but rapidly growing) project on "dream archaeology" and begin to conceptualize more formally how to approach editing the autobiography of a scholar as accomplished as Elwyn B. Robinson. I was also able to form many new professional and personal relationships. I learned more about the Archaic religion in Athens, the Peloponnesian agora, the Great Mother, Greek landscape and survey archaeology, Roman figurines and magical objects from the Athenian Agora, and the official and unofficial history of the American School.
I also had front-row seats for some of the interesting changes taking place at the School. The lecture series at Cotsen Hall was more extensive than I could remember or even imagine. The regular program included a trip to Western Macedonia and lectures on GIS and Survey Archaeology. There was a new website. Women wearing uniforms with the words "Cleaning Team" on the back introduced a new policy where all members of the school community will be required to wear uniforms clearly marking their position in the community ("Regular Members Team", "Academic Team", "Management Team", and the very important "Board of Trustees Team"). This will certainly cut down on those awkward moments when you accidentally assume that a member of the Board of Trustees is the person responsible for cleaning your office!
The Blegen, Gennadius, and neighboring British School Libraries continue to amaze me. If you think that you need a book that is not in one of these three excellent libraries, it is probably the first sign of a much deeper problem with your own research model. I might be kidding, but it is hard to say.
I also was supported by a good group of colleagues in the new director, Jack Davis, who generously gave me time off to pursue my own research, in the Mellon Professor, John Oakley, who welcomed my onto his flawlessly organized trips and encouraged my regular contributions, and the two Whitehead Professors, Kirk Ormand and Barbara Barletta. Chuck Jones at the Blegen consistently impressed me with just how much he understands about the digital media and Maria Georgopoulou at the Gennadius gave me a venue to pursue and present my research. The staff at Loring Hall made the American School a welcoming place to call home and patiently saw to the slow improvement of my Greek.
The other people that I need to thank here are all those back at the University of North Dakota who allowed me to take advantage of this year away. My colleagues in the Department of History kept me in the loop on things. More importantly, however, my wife made my stay here possible with her patient support.
I leave for Cyprus tomorrow and the beginning of the PKAP season. This will bring some exciting changes to this blog! So stay tuned even as I end one thing and begin something else...