The 2008 PKAP season ended with a flurry of activity. We completed three chaotic, but important challenges faced PKAP as we rushed through our last days on Cyprus.
1. We lost the services of our loyal and efficient camp manager Bret Weber. His blog posts at the PKAP Season Staff Blog became quite popular among our readers. More important than his blogging however was his culinary expertise. He planned, coordinated, and in most cases cooked our meals for the three busiest weeks of the season. When he departed, the senior staff had to suddenly find it in them to not only run the project but to cook for our crowd of hungry, hardworking, undergraduate and graduate volunteers! We managed through, but with far more fast food and far less elegance. We hope we can lure Bret back to the project next year!
2. Final report writing! We collected a vast quantity of qualitative and quantitative data this season from both the survey and the excavation. Typically the data gets entered daily as we collected it from the field, but since we were working flat out this past season, some of our data was not recorded digitally until the very end of the season. I spent much of the last few days digitizing trench plans. We digitized each SU (or stratigraphic unit which was the basic unit of excavation), and we will eventually be able to link data from our ceramic finds (and other finds) as well as elevations digital photos and qualitative information all to a unit in the GIS. This is relatively easy in concept, but a substantial amount of work in practice. At the end of the season, we needed to get enough of the material digitized and processed to allow us to compose our final report to the Department of Antiquities and our various donor agencies. The report will be made public by the end of the summer, but most of the writing took place in the field on Cyprus.
3. Finally, as I have already alluded, we had to backfill our trenches. Since we excavate on a British Military base, they quite reasonably asked that we backfill our trenches so that someone did fall into it during maneuvers or the like. Unfortunately we could not begin to backfill until the day before we were scheduled to leave the island because Maria Hadjicosti, our collaborator and patron at the Department of Antiquities, could not visit our trenches until then. The result of her late visit was that we were backfilling our trenches for almost 5 hours on the day before we were scheduled to leave. At one point we were using the car headlights to illuminate our work! The day we were to leave we returned to the field at 5 am to continue our backfilling. It was a lot of work and we almost got all the trenches filled!
Despite the hectic, end-of-the-season pace, PKAP 2008 was a huge success. Our systems for recording data in the field and in the lab were up to the challenge of excavation and the team worked well together. I was especially pleased how the team pulled together over the last week of the season, working hard both in the field and in the office (so to speak) preparing final reports, food, and the trenches.