Sunday is a day for cleaning the dig house and washing pottery. So after a bit of a sleep-in, we all pitched in to mop, wipe and vacuum. Actually all that really happened was that the white dust that covers everything, dislodged then resettled. It’s still early days so there was no pottery to wash and after brunch, we were free to do our own thing.
For some of us it’s our first time in Cyprus so we spent the weekend exploring around Paphos: a basilica (accompanied by a friendly cat intent on tripping us up, Paphos has lots of cats); the catacombs under the “hanky tree” (where people tie bits of cloth to pray for help); and the maze of huge Hellenistic caves cut into Fabrica Hill. In the afternoon we caught the bus to Coral Bay and then on to Agios Georgios where we sat at a restaurant at the top of the cliffs eating haloumi and dips, watching the sailing boats and feeling like we were on holidays. Some of the others got soft serve icecream from the Rambo Whippy van, worth it for the name alone.
Today (Monday) I went for an early walk in the archaeological park, the ruins of the Roman villas casting long shadows, where there is room after room of intricate and gorgeous mosaics of mythical scenes. After breakfast we headed out to the birthplace of Aphrodite, where she is said to have emerged fully formed and lovely from the foam (a couple of other sites make the same claim but this did seem like a good place for a goddess to be born – dramatic white cliffs and turquoise water) We hunted for heart shaped pebbles and then swam around Aphrodite’s rock three times - because according to legend, that night you will dream of your true love.
This is my first dig and as fun and relaxing as the weekend has been, I can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow in trench 10F and really make some progress. We’re still working through topsoil. At the north end we came across the remains of a medieval structure within the first 10cm, a couple of walls and what appears to be a courtyard. However the southern end of the trench is much harder work. We’re breaking through the remains of several modern roads. Lots of hacking away with picks in the hope that eventually we’ll reach something Roman. Time to go to bed and dream.