Episode 5: Basecamp

BaseCampRO

Episode 5 of Emerging Cypriot is now posted.  This episode again focuses on the social dynamic of archaeological field work as we started to see in Episode 4.  Unlike Episode 4, however, Episode 5 emphasized living, eating, and working together as a good opportunity for intellectually productive debate and discussion.  One of our favorite topics of discussion involves the nature and goals of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project.  At present we are not a pure field school or training project, but have many elements of that kind of project.  For example, we try to introduce our students to many aspects of archaeological work, and this is particularly important because most of our students do not come with a background of archaeology.  We also take the students to important sites on the island, talk with them about the history of Cyprus, and even run informal archaeological method seminars.  On the other hand, our primary responsibility is our fieldwork at Pyla-Koutsopetria, and this responsibility shapes our goal to document our results in a timely and complete way.  So we are (to use my word of the year) a hybrid project. 

PetrouBrothersPart of the excitement of being a project that is part field school and part field project is that we constantly evaluate and critique our day-to-day activities to  determine whether we are fulfilling our obligations both to our research and to our students.  David Pettegrew and I, as this short will show, have differing opinions on how this balance should be struck.  We’ve had some of the debates, in fact, right here in this blog: Field school or field project? and Archaeology as Field School, or why Bill Caraher is certainly wrong.  Most of our discussions (and arguments), however, play out over meetings, lunches, dinners, and the odd cocktail party at our (dramatically named) “Basecamp”, the Petrou Brothers Holiday Apartments in downtown Larnaka. 

One perspective to this discussion is that all archaeology is in some ways a field school (and I recognize the risk of sounding sappy here).  Both the student and the archaeologist are constantly learning and teaching one another through their regular interaction.  In fact, I often tell my wife, Susan, who often regrets abandoning her academic study of archaeology, that you learn far more about archaeology from your colleagues and students the field than you can in a classroom.  Much of the most intense archaeological debates do not take place in the remote seminar rooms, but in the far more modest and chaotic confines of the basecamp. 

A few technical notes
The video is all in QuickTime which you will need to download to watch it.  If you right click and download the video, it is formatted for viewing on your iPod or even iPhone or iPod Touch.  When a new installment is made, the image will become a rollover image.  We’ll add a short a week.  I borrowed the idea for this format from a video series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  The center square in the last row is a link to the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project web page where you can read more about everything that you see in these film shorts.

We have posted a particularly frank interview with the director of Emerging Cypriot and Survey on Cyprus, and you can read the commentaries on the first four shorts (with links to those shorts) below.

Landscape_MontageROLearning_FieldwalkingROArtifactsJourneyRO FormerStudentRO

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  1. Kostis Kourelis
    March 5, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I think BASECAMP is my favorite episode so far because it gives a good raw flavor of the theoretical polarities within each field project. Good job. I may not know the scene too well, but I’ve personally never seen such documentary honesty before. This is serious stuff.

  2. March 6, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Kostis,
    Thanks!
    Bill

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