End of the First Week of the Dig!

This first week was a bit crazy. Monday was almost a complete waste of a day because for Field B we didn't know exactly where we were going to set up squares and everyone needed to put up the shade cloths. The first thing was to figure out where the squares would go, which took a long time and a lot of discussion between Sam and Steve and Elliot and thinking about what the Park's Authority would say...I think they even called them up at one point to try to get permission for something...

While half the group in Field B set to work clearing the brush around the site, the other half worked on shade cloths. Didn't work very well and we spent the entire morning on Tuesday doing the exact same thing with the shade cloths. After second breakfast we were assigned squares and I was going to work with Mendy...until right before fruit break. Then I was told I'd be getting my own square...but only two volunteers, Roger and Lan, who are about 70 years old each. They live in Canada, but Roger is from Germany (whoop!) along the Rhine somewhere near Dusseldorf, and Lan is from Philippines but only the 4th generation born there; her family is originally from China. So we worked on measuring and stringing out the square for quite literally the rest of the day. I hate stringing balks. Thank God that only happens once during a dig.

Wednesday I worked on pilfering another volunteer from another square and got Peter, one of the Danes! Unfortunately, he leaves on the 4th, but the other Dane (who was here last year! yay for Hans!) is supposed to be arriving that weekend. So I'll be taking him. whoop whoop! We moved slowly on digging since none of them had ever worked on a site before and I had to teach them the ropes. We're on a teaching dig, so I have to teach them anyways. Lan said I was a good teacher and very patient. That made me feel good. We also moved slow because I wasn't sure how exactly to run the square and I was afraid of making mistakes. I asked a lot of questions of Elliot, Sam, and Lynn, and a few times from Mendy. Whenever Jason (who's all the way on the other side of the field) would walk by, he'd stop and ask me how things were going and if I had any questions or needed clearing up of things. He was an assistant supervisor last year and made quite a few mistakes himself, so he understands what I'm going through. I ask him a lot of questions about paperwork when we're back at the dig house.

Haha, one of the volunteers on Friday jokingly asked Sam why the directors never do any work in the squares, so Sam came into my square quite often to help move dirt. He said he felt a little guilty...but I didn't mind the extra help. Especially because I'm very wary about moving too much dirt at one time and missing something and my volunteers are even more cautious. Sam comes in and just blows us away, so we're getting more confident. We found a huge chunk of plaster about 1.5m x 1.5m near the NE corner of my square. Sam got all excited and said it was a floor surface, but Elliot wasn't so enthusiastic. He said it was probably tumble destruction. He says we'll find the extents of it, measure it, take elevations, draw it, get quick photos, and then rip it all out. haha. I was starting to feel a bit more confident about things that day, especially when Sam said I was doing well and all the other supervisors praised me on I was keeping my square very level (we're supposed to dig level).

Just as I was feeling very comfortable about everything, we came out for first breakfast on Friday, and Mendy came up to me in her PJ's still. I think I probably went white. Mendy found out a few weeks ago that she's about 2 months pregnant and has been suffering from all day nausea for the past 2 or 3 weeks. She handed me her Daily Notes and said, "You're going to also be in charge of my square today." I could have thrown up. I freaked out. I was just starting to get comfortable with everything and then a wrench was thrown in. I ran around the entire morning before fruit break like a chicken with its head cut off. I told both squares to move slow for me, and they were all totally understanding. Luckily, Mendy's square is just moving fill, so they're only blowing through dirt, but they also have a Hellenistic wall that I was awfully cautious about. My square was still removing top soil, and I had them all slow down from time to time to articulate the plaster and brush up the square. Sam probably spent half the day with either one of the squares to really help me out, which is awesomely amazing of him. I told him at second breakfast how much I appreciated it and nearly broke down in tears. I was on the verge of break down 2 other times during the day. After fruit break, however, I was starting to get it all down. I made a few mistakes, like forgetting to take some elevations or labeling the soil for a specific basket the wrong thing. I was more worried about messing up Mendy's square, though. She has a very set and specific way she does things and I didn't want to lose that. I felt much better when we got on the bus.

But then I found out we had pottery reading to go to immediately after lunch. This meant no time for a shower. But pottery reading is always a blast. Sam, Gary, and Steve are the most amusing group ever. They sing songs and say funny things. For instance, they're looking at the pottery, and this one piece came out that's shaped like a blunted end of a bullet. Sam held it up to his chest and went, "Look! Nipple Ware!" We nearly died.

After washing off the dirt from our bodies, we headed up to the pool and had a blast. Then I got some laundry done, went to dinner, Skyped with Stuart (FINALLY! Haven't been able to talk to that boy in forever...), and then bought an ice cream bar from the lobby, and bunch of us hung out on our porch. Every room has a little porch out back with a little table and some chairs. Lesley and I realized that we got the same room as the Danes from last year. Everyone would convene on their porch, drink a bit, sometimes they made us tea or Turkish coffee, and they'd smoke like fiends while 10-20 people would pack on the porch or hang off around the railings. We decided to keep this tradition going and last night about 10 of us hung out talking and playing card games. It was fun.

The volunteers went out to the Negev, Masada, Arad, and the Dead Sea for the weekend. Those of us who stay back at camp for the weekends were thinking of going out to Jerusalem or maybe Elvis Burger for dinner, but we found out that most of the cars would be taken or were already taken and we couldn't get a ride. So we're at camp here again for another weekend. I have to do my paperwork, anyways, so maybe that was a good thing. But NEXT weekend, we're going to plan on going to Tel Aviv. Not sure how to plan this out, so we're going to ask around, I think.

Alright, well, that's all for now. I've been online for an awfully long time, so I'm going to move along. Hopefully more updates later today or tomorrow with the rest of my Germany pictures?

Pictures update! Still in Germany, unfortunately....

Ok, finally more pictures...

This is the famous "Ampelmann" (pedestrian traffic light) in Berlin. I didn't get the green guy. His hands are down and legs apart to show "walking". Some people are obsessed with these guys and all kinds of touristy merchandise is covered with them...

Here's another super cool traffic light...I'm not sure what it's exactly supposed to be for, but it's got a pretty heart and rain drop. I took these two pictures by the Flomarkt that I went to one day.

Here's Sachenhausen, the concentration camp we went to. This is the entrance into the actual camp. I went here with Tanya, Carles, and the Danish girl.

On the door is this: Work Makes Free. The idea was that a prisoner could buy their freedom through work, however this never actually happened. I believe this camp was used mainly as a quarry? You can see how cloudy it was. It was on the verge of rain all day. Really added to the atmosphere.

"Neutral Zone". If you entered the stoney area, you'd be given a quick warning to go back into the camp and then you'd be shot. If you can make it past that, there's a nice roll of barbed wire and then a high stone wall with barbed wire on top.

In the background are reconstructions of the barracks houses that the prisoners lived in. Inside were cramped sleeping quarters with beds stacked 3 high, an eating area with lockers where prisoners could put their "belongings" without locks. This risked theft because any possession was extremely valuable, usually just a bowel or a spoon for food. If you didn't have a bowel, you didn't get the food rations. There was also a wash room, but if a prisoner would wash their feet, they'd be beaten and even drowned in the basin.

These are the memorials for the people who died. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it's a Jewish tradition where they put the stones on the graves.
This is where the worst political prisoners were housed.

Here was one of their forms of torture. They'd tie the prisoner's hands behind his back and hang him up on the pole, breaking his shoulders.
It says "The Dead Of Sachsenhausen."

The memorial.
The large tower I think is also part of the memorial. At the top are the triangles that would be put on the prisoner's clothes. Different colors and combinations would represent different things, like if they were political prisoners, Jewish, gay, and other things that were disliked at the time.

I don't remember what the building on the left was, but the one on the right I think might have been the kitchen. There was no way to get inside, so I'm not exactly sure.

This was the firing range. They would lead people down in front of the little shed down there and shoot them.

This area was the crematorium. There were candles set up in the shapes of the Star of David to memorialized those who were killed here. I didn't take any other pictures of the crematorium. I didn't think it really appropriate.
Some of the original barracks. These ones were further away from the others and I never found out what the exact significance of them were for...

Here were plaques from other countries to recognize the horrors that went on here, I think. They were all from other countries, except I didn't find one from the US..and I don't think from the UK either...because I don't remember being any English, so I don't know exactly what they memorialized. I think they were from countries of people who would have been imprisoned here. That's Tanya up at the wall reading one of the plaques. It was either from Russia or Ukraine...

Ok, to cheer things up a bit, Tanya, Carles, and I decided to go out for dinner together. We ate at a yummy Vietnamese place and then stopped at a cafe afterwards.
At the cafe I got myself a latte and the swirls looked almost like a heart! tehe.

Um, this was the "New York Cheesecake" that Tanya and I split. Yea, doesn't look like a New York Cheesecake. That's a chocolate crust, a mild cheese cake layer, and a lemon creme layer on top. It wasn't New York Cheesecake, but it was still super yummy!

Later on, Goethe had a trip to the Reichstag. This is the equivalent of the House of Parliament in Germany.
Here's the front. It caught on fire either right before or during Hitler's reign and the original dome collapsed. Once Germany got all their independence back, they rebuilt the dome but made it from glass. You can sort of see it here.
Some flags. I think the blue one is for Berlin? The writing under the triangular frieze in front of the building reads "Dem Deutschen Volk" which means, "Of the German People.
Yay! Deutschland!
Ok, we had our own tour through the Reichstag, but at some point, these two men with white hair, glasses, business suites, and khaki trench coats joined the tour. It was a little creepy and we had no idea who they were...
The seating for the representatives of the political parties! There's the German Eagle super large behind the leading politicians' seats!

Die Hoppel (the glass dome)!! It's made of glass to represent the openness of the new German government.
We got to walk up to the top of the building where the dome is and this was the view. It was a gorgeous day.
There it is again!
See the Fernsehtor in the distance behind the large rectangular building? I swear, you can see that atrocity from anywhere in Berlin....

Haha, here's Bahaous, Yoshiko, and Michele (left to right)! It was a tradition in our class that at the Pause during class that the two guys would pick Yoshiko up in her chair and carry her to the front of the classroom. They did it on the roof of the Reichstag and at one point pretended like they were making for the edge of the roof. She got a little mad after that. haha.
From inside the Hoppel. There were all these mirrors and it was really pretty.

Where the cone thingy with the mirrors meets the roof of the Representatives' room with the German eagle.

That's all the pictures for now. I'm going to make a separate update for my first week as assistant supervisor in charge of my own square!


My First Square...

So today I started digging in my square. It was awfully slow moving, but we got a nice 1m/1.5m x 4m strip dug out about...um...15cm deep? Not too shabby for my first day of my first dig with only 3 volunteers, who are all inexperienced. At least Sam told me I was doing a good job, and I really appreciated that, especially since he's one of the directors. I'm putting off paper work a bit because there weren't any Field B supervisors in the dig house who explain things to me in a simple way. Elliot can be very confusing sometimes and Mendy doesn't always seem too willing to help...and also Elliot is always telling her to change how she does things because he doesn't like it. I'm going to wait for Lin to show me.

Oh, but I'm not in the dig house now because the internet was super slow. Which reminds me, if anyone needs to send any important emails to me that needs to be seen, like, immediately, send it to my Lycoming email (davalli@lycoming.edu) because the internet in the dig house doesn't like yahoo...stupid dig house internets. Well...our make-shift dig house is also the bomb shelter for the guest house. haha. At least we have a full pantry! Don't worry, we're not stealing from the guest house, we bought our own stuff. haha. But I got to watch the sunset. It was very pretty. I forgot how pretty the sunsets are here. Next time I'll make sure I have my camera with me.

So anyway, I really feel disconnected from home because this is all going mostly one way: away from me. What's going on with everyone at home? I'm starting to feel a bit homesick because I haven't been able to talk with anyone in over a week. But at least I have a bunch of friends from Lyco around to keep me distracted. I hope I don't get too homesick when I get back to Berlin. At least there I should be staying with people I already know! Which reminds me, I need to email her. Ok, I should get back to paperwork soon...

Picture posts shall be created on weekends when I have lots and lots, LOTS AND LOTS of time...haha.


First Dig Day!

Hello all. No pictures because I don't have much time before I have to go to the first lecture of the season! Today was our first day of digging! Well...except that no digging occurred. Come one, this is archaeology: things never go exactly on time, never go exactly how you plan, and starting up always takes longer than expected.

So to begin, I'll explain our set up. We have two fields of excavation, A and B. Last year I was placed in the northern most square of Field A. This year I'm in Field B. We were all told that there would be enough squares opening up that we would all get our own squares, which made me super nervous. However, we got up there to find out that in Field B, this may not be so. We don't know. It seems that everything going for Field B right now is "we just don't know yet." It's quite frustrating. Elliot, our supervisor, hasn't really been around enough for us to ask questions and learn things, so we've been asking Sam Wolff and Steve Ortiz instead...but they don't exactly know because Elliot isn't around to discuss things with them. Well, we all went up today, cleared out the central balk to provide a wheel barrow path and begin markings for square divisions and bench marks for levels and height measurements. We all went down for second breakfast, had the volunteers separated out into their fields, and told to begin with whatever the field was going to do.

Except that there was no Elliot. We had no idea what to do. Luckily, most of the squares were mapped out with steaks, so we started by clearing out all the weeds. Finally Elliot arrived 15 minutes before fruit break and had us start setting up shade cloths. But he wants us to sow them together...and there's only one needle. I felt so lost the whole time and kept asking the other supervisors what we should be doing, but they had no idea. All in all, both fields were in total chaos today. However, I learned the hard way (meaning being slightly reprimanded without it seeming like I was being reprimanded and thinking for a long long time on it) that "supervising" means "finding things for other people to do" not me looking for things to do. So I shall be keeping a closer eye on the volunteers and doing less work myself, I guess, which makes me a little sad. I like doing the digging. But I do remember last year my supervisor said that he wished he could do more hands-on stuff in the square instead of writing notes. *sigh* oh well.

Our new conservator is super awesome. She's a total sweetheart and I love her already. her name is Heather. She's a ton of fun but also can be very serious when discussing theories and when it comes down to conservation. And due to last year's events with titan clashes between a certain professor who's name I shouldn't mention and one of the field supervisors has lead to a slight switch in supervisor positions.

But now it's lecture time and I must end. See yas!


More pictures! Postdam!

Alright, here are some pictures from when we went to Postdam! There one shall find the awesome gardens and ugly sculpture of the castle Sans Souci and the Orangerie just outside of Berlin.
This is a church. It's under reconstruction. I don't really remember what our tour guide had to say about this. First, because he talked only in German, and secondly because I was slightly tired. This was also a very long tour. I think it took us an hour to walk to Sans Souci from here.

Some government building which uninterested me... haha.

Another pretty church. There was a wedding that had just let out when we walked past it. I should have my map with me as I do this because that would tell me what the name of this church is because I forget. I'm also a little tired out of it at the moment. We stayed up to watch the European Cup match last night between Turkey and Croatia, but fell asleep with 30 minutes left. Then we went back to sleep after breakfast this morning (which was at 8am) and ended up sleeping all the way until lunch (1pm). haha. Then we were going to go for a walk to this little unexcavated tel, but took too long to get ready, apparently, because they left without us. Which was ok with us because it was oppressively hot. So we grabbed our computers to come here and have been doing that for a little while. Anyway, back to the pictures...

On our way to another church on the premises of Sans Souci. It was absolutely gorgeous.

A super cool Jesus statue! lol.

It's the Ten Commandments in German! haha!

The alter inside the church. It was really pretty. See the little dove hanging from the thingy over the alter? haha, nifty. The little old man way in the back was our tour guide. And the two blurry guys on the far left are Michele and Francesco.

Close up on the alter.

The organ pipes! Coolios. The ceiling reminds me of one of the churches in Italy. I believe it was in Rome, but I can't quite remember. Again, the tiredness. But do you see the clerestory windows (the top row of windows which became famous for cathedrals)?
Alright, King Friedrich Wilhelm and his Queen Elisabeth Luise are buried here!

Then we headed out into the gardens. Here's a very pretty sculpture in one of the little flower gardens...

Here's a nice view of the church across part of the gardens...

Haha, this was when we finally arrived at San Souci. The river had thingies in it bubbling to keep the water clean, but we thought it looked like someone was drowning. So I took a picture. Someone from another class pointed sadly to the "drowning" fellow...

The cascading garden around Sans Souci. The yellow building up on top is the palace itself. That's me in front of the large fountain! The gardens had grape vines!

Some of the pretty flowers around. Aw...
Some sleepy duckies around the fountain...

Haha, Francesco with the only original Romanesque statue still sitting on the grounds of Sans Souci. Of course the Roman must be with his kind. He was naturally attracted to it.

The super ugly sculptures on the outside of the palace. No pictures were allowed inside the palace, though. Sorry.

The look down to the fountain...you can see the church's in the background that we passed by way in the beginning.

This is Friedrich the Great! They put flowers and potatoes on his grave. I think the potatoes are because he brought food to the poorer people of Germany or something like that. But he's also known for loving his dogs more than anyone or anything else...

These are the graves of his dogs...

The Orangerie! Guess what kinds of stuff grew here??? ORANGE TREES! Duh. lol. And a big windmill in the background!

And here's the windmill. It still spins! And you can go up to it, but it cost money, so we didn't do it. haha.

Well, ok, that is definitely all for now. I'm getting a bit sick of updating. But things should hopefully go this fast for updates in the future! I have about 8 to 10 more posts for Germany and then I can start on Israel! Not very much at all has happened yet, but by the time all of Germany is finished, I'm sure there will be plenty to post about for Israel.

We were thinking of going to the Mediterranean today, but we changed our minds. They were taking some people into Jerusalem today for whoever needed to buy some things or change money, etc. But Lesley, Marcella, and I don't really need anything and we've already seen Jerusalem so many times that we decided to put it off for another time. Today we just relaxed and, *cough*, caught up on some sleep. lol. The other volunteers will be here in an hour or two. YAY! We get to see Heather and Kristina soon!!! woop woop!

Ok, till laters...