The Trash

I’ve been thinking a good bit more about trash this summer and had the chance to check out two interesting assemblages of modern trash in the Argolid in our first week of field work.

The first was at a crossing of the Inachos River in our 2014 survey area. The scatter of modern trash extends in a 8 m x 60 m strip down the center of the now-dry Inachos River parallel to a seasonal road along the river bed.

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The trash consisted of a combination of building debris and modern household trash.

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The most interesting concentration was a dump of school books perhaps deposited at the end of that academic year.

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There was the typical clusters of water bottles as well as clothing, household furnishings, and detritus from agricultural work.

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The other dump that caught my attention this week was around the small church of Ag. Panteliemon.

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The church is probably Early Modern and has a fantastic scatter of broken tile associated with a re-roofing project over the last few decades. The modern tiles on the church feature a 5-digit Greek phone number of the kiln placing the manufacture of the tiles prior to the change in the Greek phone numbers to 9 and then 10 digits.

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The tile scatter on the north side was complemented by a scatter of tile and plastic bottles that probably once contained oil left at the church for lamps. Clean up at the church involved dumping the used plastic containers over the side of the little paved area. 

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This parallels a little study that David Pettegrew, Tim Gregory, and I did a few years back (I summarize some of this project here) where we documented the artifact scatter around Byzantine churches on the island of Kythera. We discovered that the vicinity of churches produced more fine wares than elsewhere in the landscape. This is hardly remarkable, but perhaps the modern practices of trash disposal provide insights into the historical distribution of artifacts.

Blood, sweat, and fleas

Some days are better than others.

Today I was tripped by a metal wire while walking around this house and jacked up my shin:

This farm house is evil.
This farm house is evil.

Sarah says that nobody wants to see a picture of my jacked-up shin so I’ll just post a link here for those of you who want to see it. In the process I also destroyed the lens on my brand new camera (a Sony α6000). Now it takes pictures like this:

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After we got back to the car and I cleaned up my wound, we then decided to explore a nearby abandoned village. While taking a look at a threshing floor that had been turned into an animal pen, we got fleas.

It hasn’t been much fun today. Sometimes archaeology hurts; today it hurt more than usual.

The beginning of the 2015 season

We just began the first (half-)week of the 2015 field season. Whereas last year we worked in the dramatic mountainous valley around the village of Lyrkeia, this year we’re operating in the lower reaches of the Inachos river, near Schinochori and Malandreni, as the river begins to spill onto the Argive plain:

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It’s an equally pretty part of the Argolid, albeit much more intensively farmed. There are, for instance, many more vineyards in this part of the Argolid, and in the 1:5000 maps produced by the Greek army in the 1960s, there were many more investments in the agricultural landscape, especially wells and threshing-floors. Today we experienced on-again, off-again rain in the field, something that has become something of a tradition for us early in the season. Eventually, however, the clouds parted and the sun shone down.

Here are some pictures that I took in the first week:

Fieldwalking on the first day
Fieldwalking on the first day
Dark clouds looming on 5 June
The clouds begin to part
The clouds begin to part
Surveying a vineyard after it cleared up
Surveying a vineyard after it cleared up
Dawn, 3 June
Dawn, 3 June