Patrowvisual © 2006
“SURVEY ON CYPRUS: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL DOCUMENTARY”
Production date: July 2005
Introduction Cyprus The Site Grid Squares Students Collection Analysis Final Note
TITLECARD: PATROWVISUAL LOGO
WILLIAM CARAHER: The crucial thing is perceiving a documentary as not separate from the project, but as actually integral to the way in which the project is understood in the future.
SCOTT MOORE: It will be a great opportunity
to show students back at IUP, on a much larger scale, where I work and what I do.
MICHAEL FRONDA: And like I said this often involves a lot of hard work -- hard physical work and hard intellectual energy.
DAVID PETTEGREW: So to see all these elements come together in the form of a documentary I think should be fun.
INSERT QUOTE: “Reflexivity occurs as project
members are asked to explain their work and assumptions before the camera” – Ian
WILLIAM CARAHER: And Necro is just the word for dead and polis is city, so these are dead people’s cities.
NARRATOR: In the fall of 2004, Dr. William
Caraher, a professor at the University of North Dakota, asked one of his
graduate students if he’d be interested in using his background in film and
history to produce a documentary on an archaeological expedition to Cyprus. The
student agreed and produced the following presentation.
AIRPORT ANNOUNCER: Lindberg Terminal Station, exit left. Please take your belongings with you.
NARRATOR: Nearly a thousand years ago, Cyprus was part of a thriving trade network and subject to multiple conquests. Even today Cyprus is divided. A UN peacekeeping force separates a Turkish régime in the north from a Greek republic in the south, and three British military bases dot the island.
The British Dekelia base is particularly important because it contains remnants of an ancient settlement dating back to the late Roman period. Through the corporation of the Department of Antiquities, the British Ministry of Defense, and the Larnaka District Archaeological Museum, PKAP gain permission to survey for artifacts on Dekelia’s military firing range, which may provide clues about life in ancient Cyprus.
MICHAEL FRONDA: This is an island that is divided between Turkish and Cypriot rule – there’s this tension. We’re at an interesting crossroads in the Mediterranean, between sort of an East and West if you will, or Middle East and Europe. So throughout history, on this island, a lot of pressing questions that are affecting the contemporary world have played themselves out here, and continue to play themselves out here.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And as you will soon see, everything here is incredibly expensive this year. And this is the best Kebab house on the entire island, which we have not gone to as often as we should.
MICHAEL FRONDA: We’ll have Kebab’s tonight in honor of it.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Right. Home cooked Kebabs.
MICHAEL FORNDA: They really don’t look very good.
SCOTT MOORE: The team was originally composed of Dr. William Caraher, David Pettegrew, and myself. I was looking for an area to survey and so I needed some help and they were very good at what they do, so I approached them. And we’ve been sort of expanding outward each year since then, bringing on specialists and other people we enjoy working with.
MICHAEL FRONDA: Is this the sacred bathtub?
SCOTT MOORE: He tends to be a smart ass, which is just incredible. I was going to say a burial – a Christian burial.
It’s a fun place to work. It’s very laidback – I sort of fell in love with the island. It gets a little hot on occasion. The sun is pretty bright, but other than that it’s a really enjoyable place to work. It’s where Greek culture and Near Eastern culture really interested between the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Egyptians, Persians. You know? You name them, they came here. And the Department of Antiquities here is very interested in finding people to help them survey different areas, so it was very fortuitous for me.
WILLIAM CARAHER: That’s the height of Vigla. That’s the height of Kokkinokremnos over there – see the really prominent ridge? Our sight falls sort of between those two. On Kokkinokremnos there’s Late Bronze Age – a big impressive Late Bronze Age fortified site that people are a little bit confused about. And on top of Vigla there’s quite a bit of Classical. This is covering buildings, basically. And it’s almost all Late Roman. I mean eighty percent Late Roman.
This is Late Roman, but its interesting because look at this mortar. And this is not the same as the mortar that John Leonard was saying was like the Kopetra really fine grain stuff.
SCOTT MOORE: PKAP is a survey of the southern coast of Cyprus in the area of Pyla-Koutsopetria to examine the ramifications that trade, both long distance and local trade, would have had on the vicinity in the periods from – really my main interest was the Greek period through the Byzantine period – but we are trying to cover all periods now.
DAVID PETTEGREW: This is kind of a characteristic Late Roman tile which is found in large quantities at other Late Roman sites on the island, like Kopetra and Mulroney Petra has these things. And we find these all over the place here.
Right now we’re surveying a significant coastal Late Roman site and, in traditional historiography, the Late Roman period was a period of stagnation and decline. You know, the great decline of culture, life, politics, religion during the third and seventh centuries A.D.? So the world became something barbaric and medieval. And I think here we have a site that dates to these centuries, which is not barbaric. It’s not insignificant. And it’s obviously a very wealthy site with significant monumental and architectural remains.
WILLIAM CARAHER. This is gypsum. There’s no
marble on the island and so they use this indigenous Cypriot marble, which is
just called gypsum. And I don’t know if you’ve seen this in Mageto, but it’s
just like a lament.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Last year we managed to survey nearly two-hundred grid squares in the course of two weeks and we have almost a complete data-set from which we can begin to analyze the data and to report on human activity and the nature of settlement and habitation and land use at this important Late Roman site.
NARRATOR: PKAP’s research method is to study the range for artifacts remaining on the surface. To do this they plot an invisible grid across the landscape, and then they search each square unit for finds.
WILLIAM CARAHER: See, ancient revetment!
NARRATOR: Units are measured outward from a single spot – or datum point – marked by a metal pipe, and located by a global positioning system in full view of the entire grid matrix.
WILLIAM CARAHER: The easiest thing is just to look in here. There should just be a pipe. Oh! Easy! We found it. Datums! Good.
DAVID PETTEGREW: The important purpose of going into the field yesterday was to clarify and correct a gridding problem, which we didn’t quite workout before the end of the 2004 season.
The grid appears to be incorrect.
And we simply misreported. The more points
of reference that you use when establishing a grid, the greater potential for
WILLIAM CARAHER: And the easiest way to fix this is by going and getting GPS points on it and just shifting it.
DAVID PETTEGREW: In affect, we were able to slide about seventeen units, which had been shot off the bad datum point. We were able to slide them to the northeast and fix the problem. This is a relatively minor problem, but it’s important to correct all your mistakes.
NARRATOR: It’s a good time to make corrections before moving on. At this point, the team is still assembling on Cyprus, with some members like Dr. Scott Moore and his student still on route and scheduled to land shortly.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Well that’s good news. Mike just talked to Dr. Fisher – Mr Fisher.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Okay.
WILLIAM CARAHER: – and the Larnaka and Paphos airports are closed indefinitely because of some big strike.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Oh my gosh.
SCOTT MOORE: The baggage handlers and other people went on strike and we were in flight. And so we had to turn around and land at Athens until the strike was settled.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Now they’ve shut down everything?
WILLIAM CARAHER: Yeah. …I’m at four meter accuracy.
DAVID PETTEGREW: We could send him through northern Cyprus.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Uh huh? Okay. Once again, Dave, on your project you can do stuff like that.
KATIE PETTEGREW: You can send him to Tel Aviv and then have him ferry over.
SCOTT MOORE: I’m sure in a year or two it will be a really great long story that I talk about at length, but it’s a minor bump in the way.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Provided that Scott does in fact get here before indefinitely, we’ll come out with a transit and we’ll start dropping our grid up that way. We’ll walk up that way.
MICHAEL FRONDA: I figure that I’m just burning now, like that’s just the reality. So what’s going to happen is that I’ll just go back and I’ll put on my t-shirt – put a lot of goo on it for the next two days before I go out again. The burn will start to fade, as long as it’s not a preposterous burn, and eventually it will just be tan.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Yup.
WILLIAM CARAHER: South of that thing we may want to drop another layer of --
DAVID PETTEGREW: -- Units.
WILLIAM CARAHER: -- Units.
DAVID PETTEGREW: -- Just to show that we’ve defined the order of the site.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Oh, I need water dude. You just changed t-shirts?
MICHAEL FRONDA: Yeah, to the long shirt – to long sleeves. See, you wear the other ones until your arms burn, and then you put these on; and pretty soon you’ll have a tan.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Uh? Good. Here they come! Yeah, Larnaka airport is open. Apparently being closed indefinitely meant until twelve-thirty.
TITLECARD: GRID SQUARES
NARRATOR: This evening, members of the survey team return to the range. Having solved the glitch, they are able to reestablish their grid, and begin producing additional units across the site.
WILLIAM CARAHER: So we’re setting up the
transit for the first day, on a known datum point, on our old grid. And then
we’ll shoot a whole bunch of new grid squares to the east and slightly to the
DAVID PETTEGREW: That’s looking better.
WILLIAM CARAHER: So is it supposed to go in the same direction, or the opposite direction?
Our grid is slightly offset from magnetic north. And we originally did it to run parallel to the road. We have a transit that we can set to our grid north, basically.
DAVID PETTEGREW: That is, you can use it to establish a grid relative to itself, or relative to a datum.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And so our primary concern is keeping our grid accurate to itself. We basically pick one side of the square as north and then we do east, west off of it – north, south, east west off of it – which will allow us to set up subsequent grid squares. So then all we do is use a laser range finder to take off forty meter intervals. Scott and Mike are going to bring up our GPS units to fix our entire grid within space.
SCOTT MOORE: Well mine seems to be having a
real problem now. I can’t get any satellites.
MICHAEL FRONDA: You’ve got a bum steer. You’ve got a lemon, buddy.
WILLIAM CARAHER: We have the –. What kind of a crazy device is this?
MICHAEL FRONDA: I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know how to use it.
WILLIAM CARAHER: My specific area of expertise doesn’t really exist. I mean, I do a lot of little things. But my job on the project is mostly technological – is doing data management stuff. And it’s not any expertise; it’s just that I’m the one who seems willing to do it.
You know what’s really fun? The more Dave’s
concentrating, the more you hit this button.
Yeah, I don’t really have any expertise. I could be fazed out of this project at almost any minute.
DAVID PETTEGREW: You get to be really mature and make noises.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Back off. We’re professionals. Alright, Dave!
DAVID PETTEGREW: We’ve now reestablished grid north, so what we’re going to do is to go ahead and layout more grid square units. Mr. Caraher is going to take a stack of flags and a laser range finder, which shoots a laser and then back and computes distance. And he’s going to walk a transect which ninety degrees east of magnetic north. He’s going to walk directly along that transect and we’re going to put in flags every forty meters.
WILLIAM CARAHER: More Roman fine ware.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Okay, take half a step back. And you need to plant the flag right between your feet.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Easy. Hey, I found a found a little molded piece of pottery with a little guy.
DAVID PETTEGREW: Great. Can you mark it for that?
WILLIAM CARAHER: We were really hoping that our site was really contained up there, but now we find that scatter extends quite a bit in this direction. We’ll put in a bunch more grid squares. It’ll keep Scott busy.
NARRATOR: But, if each new grid square contains a high concentration of artifacts, Dr. Scott Moore will not have enough time to analyze them all for the team’s anticipated publication.
DAVID PETTEGREW: I think if we’re going to contextualize our site in terms of the Mediterranean, it’s crucial that we get some units up in here.
SCOTT MOORE: I understand that. We have one problem: we have one ceramist.
WILLIAM CARAHER: I mean, I really think that
once you get through this insanity – once again, the optimism from the guy who
doesn’t do the pottery – once you get through this insanity, you’re just going
to hit a bunch of bags with like three artifacts, four artifacts in them.
DAVID PETTEGREW: I could go survey all the time at this point now that I’m back in the mood. I got my bowl of Special K and my cup of coffee and so this is going to start me off right.
Often times just a patch of vegetation will obscure your view. So it’s easiest to destroy a bush than to actually move the transit.
Go six steps away from me. Stop. Stop. Stop.
Stop. Take half a step to your right. Your other right. There. Right there!
Plant the flag.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Yeah, you see that? Precision! We done?
DAVID PETTEGREW: Yeah, come on in. The light’s bad. I’m not sure I can get the distance.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Okay. We’re done.
NARRATOR: Beyond doing standard archaeology, PKAP also has to familiarize five undergraduates with their survey method and the city of Larnaka.
WILLIAM CARAHER: The medieval, early modern
city is back this way, whereas the ancient city is further to the east, and the
modern city sort of stretches between them. So you’ll notice, when you come down
here, suddenly all the roads will go crazy and it will be really hard to find
your way around, and they’ll be a lot of little crazy alleyways. You’ll see
these military trucks, mostly those are Greeks.
NARRATOR: Hands on education is an important component of the expedition. This evening, the students are brought to the top of Vigla and given a crash course in field walking.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Hey guys! Come down here, please!
NARRATOR: To collect artifacts, four field walkers – in this case five – are spaced at ten meter intervals. Using a collection method called the cronotype system, they gather one example of every kind of artifact seen in their swath, while producing a representative sample of the material present in each grid square.
MICHAEL FRONDA: One of the things this project does is it allows undergraduates a chance to come and work and get some field experience. And I’m intrigued by the educational aspect of that. They end up not just getting a hands on archaeological fieldwork experience, but they also get something that’s very experiential. Some of these students are coming from places – from universities – from parts of the United States where they haven’t had a chance to travel very much, certainly haven’t traveled internationally, and certainly will not have experienced a culture as different as what they’ll find in the Mediterranean.
NARRATOR: Later, the seasoned team goes into the field to begin collecting artifacts and expand their grid. Each unit is forty meters square and assigned a number, which will be affixed to all artifacts collected within its perimeter. In this way, artifacts sent to the museum for analysis can be tracked based on their unit of origin, and provide an accurate model of their distribution across the site. This is also helpful if artifacts ever have to be returned to the site.
WILLIAM CARAHER: The downside of doing a regular grid is occasionally you’ll get units with really divergent environmental conditions. What we have here is a unit that has two different visibilities. The southern part of the unit unfortunately is in a deeply, relatively recently, deeply plowed field where you can see almost everything on the surface. The northern part of the unit, however, is unfortunately cut but not plowed grain stubble, which provides zero visibility. So, Mike will find pottery, and Suzie, Greg, and Katie who worked in the northern part of the unit will find no pottery because they couldn’t see the surface of the ground.
BRIAN WILLIS: Which way is my line going?
DAVID PETTEGREW: Look back on a line parallel with me forty meters. So look at the flag forty meters over from me.
NARRATOR: Dr. Caraher, acting as today’s team leader doesn’t just sit and watch the walkers. He’s busy completing forms with environmental data. This includes recording the surface visibility, soil type, and location of a walked unit in relation to all known features. And when the walkers have completed counting and collecting artifacts from a unit, the leader records their artifact counts for the purpose of computing density.
The team bags and tags all their finds with a label designating the unit number and the date it was recovered. This not only provides an accurate depiction of the site and their finds, but also a record of their collection methodology.
DAVID PETTEGREW: I have this feeling that I’m being watched.
NARRATOR: Dr. Moore’s job of reading the artifacts is a daunting, sometimes tedious task. Each item collected in the field is bagged based on the grid unit where it was discovered. Brought to the Museum of Antiquities, each bag’s contents are emptied and thoroughly washed. Throughout this entire process, artifacts collected in one unit must remain separate from another. Artifacts without unit numbers are worthless and even in the extreme heat they take upward of four hours to dry. If artifacts are rebagged wet, they run the risk of developing mold in storage.
WILLIAM CARAHER: The material that we’ve pulled from the field falls into Scott’s range of expertise and we haven’t found lots of stuff that Scott doesn’t know what it is. So Scott really fits into the project perfectly. I mean, this is his material; this is stuff he knows most.
SCOTT MOORE: Well, what I’m doing is taking the pottery that’s been presorted for me and trying to subdivide it further based upon certain characteristics, describe them on our form so they can be entered into a database, weigh them, and then we’re going to bag them back up separately.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And next year, when we have
to do the final cataloging they’ll each be measured. They’ll each be, if
necessary, drawn. And so Scott is able to tell us not only what people were
doing, but also sort of, roughly, when they were doing it. And we’ll hopefully
get to tie this into the material from Maria Hadjicosti’s excavations.
SUSAN PHILLIPS: What we’re doing here is labeling our artifacts with a unique number according to the unit and batch number. We can then relate this number back to our records as Scott has read them and make comments on them. And the process of doing this is to take our diagnostic piece – whether they be a base, or a rim, or a handle – and to take a clear paraloid and to label our artifact in a discrete place. We write the unique number on there, sealed again with a paraloid. And then they can be catalogued and put away carefully for the future.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Is that a theta or an
DAVID PETTEGREW: Well it’s a funny looking omicron.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And do you think that’s a sigma?
DAVID PETTEGREW: I guess that’d be a pi.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Oh, that could be a pi. Good. Good. Good. ‘Cause you can see the base coming out here.
MICHAEL FRONDA: One of the things that we’re doing is trying to catalog and identify wall paintings excavated a number of years ago by Maria Hadjicosti. We’re bringing in another expert on wall paintings to try to further identify the finds. So she sent us a catalog so we could pull those artifacts and start the process of identifying them.
NARRATOR: Lepinski is an expert in Roman wall painting in the eastern Mediterranean and was specially flown to Cyprus to analyze and interpret images on plaster walls unearthed in a basilica near the survey site.
SARAH LEPINSKI: My name is Sarah Lepinski and I am here to look at the painted plaster, which came from the excavations by the Department of Antiquity. It looks like this material is slightly different material then the plaster I usually work with because it’s gypsum and it’s very, very fine.
I trace the surface so that I have everything in it’s original scale and then I can use my tracing to make it larger or smaller later on. It also helps me examine the way that the fragment was actually painted -- by drawing it myself -- because you look for different types of details as you’re doing it yourself.
NARRATOR: Analyzing the wall painting is
just one of the many ways that PKAP has continued to collaborate with the
Department of Antiquities.
SCOTT MOORE: Hello. How are you?
MARIA HADJICOSTI: Excuse me for coming so late.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Oh. Don’t worry. We just had our lunch.
SARAH LEPINSKI: Hello. I’m Sarah. Nice to meet you.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Communicating with the Department of Antiquities and collaborating with Maria Hadjicosti has been, on the one hand, a real treat because she’s from this area. She’s been so generous and helpful. But, on the other hand, she is very busy.
Will we see you again in July, at the end of July? I think we have an appointment on --.
MARIA HADJICOSTI: On Wednesday, next week.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And just making sure that we can get her attention and get as much knowledge from her as possible to make our project a success has occasionally been a little bit frustrating.
SARAH LEPINSKI: This is part of the cross, actually.
MARIA HADJICOSTI: Yes, but there is an inscription.
WILLIAM CARAHER: Yeah. We saw that.
SARAH LEPINSKI: Yeah. I took it out and looked at it and then I put it back.
WILLIAM CARAHER: And I’m sure that some of this is frustrating with her too. She’s a field archaeologists and she’s being asked in her position within the Department of Antiquities to do lots of different things.
MARIA HADJICOSTI: We found some bones and it
looks like the bones of a baby, but we are not sure. We have to sample – the
specialist has to check it. But it looks like human bones, found in this pit,
together with strange things.
WILLIAM CARAHER: We’re super lucky that what we want to do with the project and our group have aligned so cleanly. Marino Avraam who’s the director of the museum here is awesome.
MARINO AVRAAM: It’s okay, it’s okay.
WILLIAM CARAHER: He’s been so cooperative and helpful. He’s provided us with work space, storage space, Cypriot coffee. Everything.
MARINO AVRAAM: We love all our jobs and we do what is possible to do.
MARIA HADJICOSTI: Filming everything?!
TITLECARD: FINAL NOTE
NARRATOR: After each season the paperwork begins as discoveries are recorded and finds published.
SCOTT MOORE: Archaeology unfortunately can be extremely tedious and that is one of the things that, until you do archaeology, unfortunately you’re not really quite aware of. And even though it feels very tedious at times, when I make new discoveries, as far as when I’m doing the pottery and looking at the pottery and I find a very interesting piece, it really makes what I’ve done that day worthwhile – even though I know people watching me see me just sitting there hour after hour doing the pottery, it looks very boring, But to me it’s the adventure of discovery, that sort of unraveling of a mystery as I’m going about it, so to speak. And I guess I contribute to that whole romantic ideal that archaeologists have, sort of the Indiana Jones version. But, you know, if that gets people interested, I think that might be a good thing.