Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukah, Kwaanza, & Solstice!

Christmas week involved attending my first Hanukah candle lighting, and in fact, I made it to 4 of them, plus going to midnight mass in Bethlehem, which was sung in Latin, with passages presented in many languages. I had lots of time to mill around, meet Santa, and visit the grotto of the Nativity before the 2 hour High Mass. I think I like Hanukah: what's not to like about 8 days of donuts, latkes, and prezzies!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Au Revoir Jerusalem

I'm about to board the plane home to cold Melbourne. Yesterday we took the final aerial photos of the site and last night, my friend Linda and I celebrated the end of a successful season, where else, but at the American Colony Hotel in J'lem. Then we had a serious discussion the merits of mojitos v. martinis. Stay tuned - I hope to put some photos of the last 2 weeks up soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dean Leaves For Cyprus

Here, Dean is demonstrating his technique in excavating an ox scapula - sorry, no notches.

Dean receives his completion certificate from project director, Aren Maeir.

Dean ended his 3rd week at Tell es-Safi/Gath on a high note. He clearly has what it takes to be an excavation director!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our week 3 team

Gilad and Linda joined our team in week 3 after part of the Melbourne contingent left for home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Team Melbourne At Tell es-Safi/Gath

Our Melbourne team just finished excavating this building at Tell es-Safi/Gath.
We had a great time and our students did a fantastic job. Dean, Brent and I continue on for a bit longer and hope to have more fun photos from Tell es-Safi/Gath!

A look at the 10th century at Safi

Elisabetta from the Weizmann Institute of Science demonstrates her talents at excavating our 10th c. "Aegean-sytle" hearth.

We found the hearth while trying to uncover the westward extension of the wall you see in the foreground. Instead we found a plaster floor in close association with the hearth, which in turn is under a large 9th c. wall.

Here is the sealing in the style of Siamoun, a 10th c. pharaoh, which was found on top of the hearth along with a pile of grape seeds - which will help with dating.

Linda Models Her Big Find

On her first day back at Safi, staff member Linda Meiberg found this electrum pendant while cleaning a wall and demonstrates an alternative way of wearing it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Completion Certificates

Our team celebrates at the Thursday night bar b q after collecting their well-earned completion certificates.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Area is Spotless!

Team Melbourne did themselves proud in preparing this early Iron Age Philistine Area for Friday's trench tour!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brent Tells Us About Aegean Scripts

One of my PhD students, Brent Davis, wasn't too tired from record keeping to deliver a lecture to the Safi team on Aegean scripts and languages. My turn comes next week!

Mycenaean 3C in Area A2 at Safi

This unusual Mycenaean 3C rim for a deep bowl turned up in our area toward the end of week 2.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Astarte Appears in Area A

Today were were cleaning pottery from the rubbish pit that Shannah and Lauren have been excavating in the northeast corner of the "Melbourne megaron" and found this really cool mould for making plaque's or figurines of Astarte. It is broken, but you can see her hips, pelvic region, belly button and one of her upraised arms.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More of the Philistine Buffet

Sharon excavated 4 more mandibles from another rubbish deposit across the road and Brent helped.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Philistine Buffet!

The rubbish pile in the northeast corner of the "Melbourne megaron" in Area A2 of Tell Safi seems to have the full Philistine buffet including a sheep scapula, boar mandible, fish vertebra, bovine astragali (not pictured), and a nice little basalt mortar for grinding up some spices.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Meanwhile Elsewhere on the Tell...

Project Director, Prof. Aren Maeir gave us a tour of the exciting things happening in Area D. If you want to know more, then read his blog!

Mycenaeans at Safi

Dean and Vaia were digging a fill with earlier material set into it. Shannah and Lauren were digging a similar fill on the other side of a wall. Lo and Behold, they both found joining parts of the same Late Helladic IIIB imported pyxis - a type of box.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alex Gives Us A Lesson

We couldn't have done such a great job without help from Alex Zukerman - he puts the A in Area A.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It Begins With Cleaning

We began cleaning our excavation area in Area A. In cleaning the area, we found this bi-chrome Philistine bird sherd.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Endorsing Shelmerdine Wines and Vineyards

I recently convened the 12th International Aegean Conference, DAIS: The Aegean Feast on 25-29 March. The lead up to the conference and catching up have kept me from blogging much. But I want to relate one of the best experiences that I had with the conference. One of my presenters was the prominent Classicist Cynthia Shemerdine from the University of Texas. Out of the blue and on a whim, I contacted the Shelmerdine vineyards with regard to sponsorship. Stephen Shelmerdine and his lovely wife Kate met with me and a friend Stephie, who has been helping with the conference. Then they invited me, my husband, and Cynthia Shelmerdine, and her partner for a wonderful afternoon lunch where we also met Stephen's mother. I spent some time looking at family photos for resemblances and hearing about the family history of the Shelmerdines - I now know more about them than my own. Before they started a vineyard, there was a felt hat factory in Melbourne.

The Shelmerdines donated several cases of wine for the conference banquet at Ablas Lebanese restaurant, which they attended as my guests and sold us wine below cost for the reception - which was decorated with the felt hats of the Shelmerdine factory, and organized our winery tour. When we visited his Lusatia winery in the Yarra Valley, Stephen personally explained all the wines to the archaeologists, and also the iconography of the labels and even the bottle cap. One could not ask for a better service than this. He is a great raconteur and story teller.

I can very much recommend Shelmerdine wines and their Heathcote winery.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Visit to Sydney

I gave a seminar at the University of Sydney last week. It went really well and then on Friday I attended the meeting of the Council of the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens, and I got taken out to the Australian club both nites.

I spent Saturday walking around the city. I went to the aquarium, then on to the parks and botanical gardens. Then at sunset I had a glass of champagne in front of the opera house (it looks smaller in person), then ate lobster at a restaurant on the harbor with a view of the bridge, then walked around some more and that was it.

I really like Sydney - it's much warmer than Melbourne for one thing. The tall buildings reminded me of New York, the old buildings reminded me of London, the harbor reminded me of San Francisco, and the weather reminded me of LA. So, it's not like any place I've visited.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Toeing the Line

I haven't been posting much.

Between trying to finish my paper for the conference I'm organizing, polishing up an article, reading student work, giving guest lectures, planing the conference, I've been flat out. I still have to put together a ppt for my talk, stuff the conference bags, and make final arrangements with the caterers. I had other "fun" things go on last weekend. I wrote something like 24 recommendation letters for 6 of my students who are all applying for the same 4 scholarships. Poor students. I also bumped my toe on the bed and from the crunchy sound I knew it was broken. I put it "back" into position, taped it, and iced it. I had my toe X-rayed - it's definitely broken, but I had set it and taped it correctly so there was nothing the Doctor needed to do - maybe I should be an MD instead of a PhD!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Petition to Protect Sites in the Lakonian Wetlands

I am posting this information on behalf of Chrysanthi Gallou of the University of Nottingham:

There have recently been reports in the Greek press for the plans of a private company to build a power plant in the area of Viglafia, just opposite Elaphonisos, in south-eastern Laconia,id=58549520
The site is an important wetland and has been included in the proposed list of Natura 2000 sites. It is also of great archaeological importance since a large number of prehistoric and later sites will be SERIOUSLY affected, including the very important submerged Bronze Age site at PAVLOPETRI (see Annual of the British School at Athens 64 (1969) 113-142).

The local authorities and the Committee for the preservation of the site, assisted by the local politicians, have made appeals to the Greek and European Parliaments. In addition, they have set up a petition and they would be extremely grateful if we would sign it. It only takes a minute!

More details on the subject can be found at,id=58549520 (where also the support offered by Nottingham's Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies is mentioned)

Feel free to circulate this message to anyone whom you think might be interested.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The HOTTEST ticket in Melbourne

We've had a really good last few days. We went to the big day out on Monday - to hear a lot of bands we've never heard of, to see if Bjork would wear her swan (she didn't), and mainly to hear one of my favorite bands - Rage Against the Machine. We saw them again tonight at Festival Hall. I over paid for the tickets on e-bay, but when they broke up in 2000, I never thought I'd get a chance to see them again. I spent endless amounts of time kicking myself for not driving to downtown LA when they protested the monopolistic 2 party system at the Democratic National Convention. So, seeing them 2 x this week was cathartic for a number of reasons. Now I'm sore from all of the jumping up and down.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Cold weather hasn't been a problem since a couple of days before Christmas. In fact, we have had a record hot NYE at 42 C (113 F). It felt more like being in Las Vegas or Syria heat-wise.
We still managed to have a fun though low key New Years. We met up at this new really cool bar (Gerald's) with one of my students (Rod) and his girlfriend (Maria). In addition to writing a PhD in Classics, Rod is also a novelist and has written a very interesting novel called Prince of the Lillies, about the Minoans and about living in Sitia, Crete, where I used to dig.
Gerald let us get pizzas from La Porchetta next door and we stayed in his bar drinking and eating till about 10:30. Then we got Asta and a bottle of champagne, and miraculously found a cab and went to my student's friends apartment building in East Brunswick. The friend was from New York and has been here for 5 years. It was a little like Melrose Place with this big apartment building and everyone gathered around the pool partying. Our friends went out to the street to see the fireworks and we stayed at the pool. At midnight everyone jumped in the pool and Asta got really excited. She started running around the pool barking, then she finally jumped in and alternated between swimming in circles around the pool and riding around on a boogie board. It was really hilarious - unfortunately I left the camera at home that night. The pool was cold but refreshing. We finally walked home around 1:15. I think this was the first New Years since I had to march in the Rose Parade that I didn't have too much to drink.