Zagora 2014 begins

By Hannah Gwyther

Hannah Gwyther
Hannah Gwyther, who will be posting about the Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) in coming weeks. Photo by Irma Havlicek; © PHM
As the calendar pages turn and the long evenings of the Greek summer slowly start to draw in, anticipation mounts for the return to Andros and the start of the new season digging at Zagora.

There are ferry tickets to book, dig clothes to dust off and endless supplies of Bandaids and Voltaren to purchase (in preparation for the Known Ailments – blisters of slightly scary proportions and joints and muscles aching beyond redemption), we pack and prepare for the season ahead.

On embarking the ferry, you sneak a peak at your fellow travellers, could this be a new dig friend? Looking around for those tell-tale signs – a dusty looking bag or possibly the unavoidable fashion faux pas of the dig boots. While they do no summer frock or board-shorts justice they are simply too heavy to pack and make for an interesting ‘look’. As the boat comes into the port and the ramp is lowered, people, bags and cars all tumble out into the gleaming sunshine of Andros. Then, with the ferry accomplished it’s onto the distinctive little blue island bus, and you are bound for Batsi.

Fast Ferry at Rafina
A ferry at the port of Rafina, east of Athens, just like the one that takes us to Andros. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek

The excitement rises as you pull into this quaint little village, memories to relive and memories to make. Suddenly the faces of old and new friends surround you, all bonding over the unique experience that makes Zagora. Amid much laughter and high spirits, bags are carried to rooms, new roommates are found and everyone starts to settle in.

ZAP dinner 1 at Kantouni
Zagora 2014 team members at the first dinner in the courtyard of the Kantouni restaurant. © AAIA; photo by Annette Dukes.

First up is the obligatory trot down the street for the first gyros of the season (souvlaki to Australians). After happily munching away on these delicious creations, the sea beckons. Following a good swim and some hours soaking up the sun, dinner is served and talk slowly turns to the next day. With breakfast scheduled only a few hours away, the groups gathered at the tables begin to dwindle. Gradually the team members disappear into their rooms to gather their strength and revel in the anticipation of the weeks ahead filled with hard work, much laughter and the hope of lots of exciting discoveries to come.

ZAP team members at the first Kantouni dinner
Another table of ZAP team members at the first Kantouni dinner. © AAIA; photo by Annette Dukes.

Note: Hannah wrote this post as the excavation season, which commenced on Monday 22 September 2014, approached.

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10 thoughts on “Zagora 2014 begins”

  1. Wonderful evocation of the beginning to any archaeological season – ramped up markedly by virtue of being on a Greek island! All best for first half of the season, and looking forward to joining you all early October.

  2. And are you all staying at the Kantouni? – what, about 20 of you? – it must be mayhem in the evenings – but at least the food’s good! I’ll be wearing my Zagora t-shirt with pride when we’re there next June!

    • Actually, it’s more than 20 people. Most stay at the Kantouni – the ZAP team pretty much fills it up – but some stay in other apartments close by. The evenings are a lot of fun in the Kantouni, eating the fantastic dinners cooked there by Maria, and served by our hosts, Giorgos and Alexandra. And enjoying the spirited dinner conversations. Archaeologists do a lot of travelling and fascinating work so they have heaps of stories to tell.

  3. Hi Everyone, my son Lachlan is in the ZAP team at the moment and have just had a good look at your blog. The photos of the dig site really give me an insight to what you are all doing and makes it so much more real from here in Sydney. Good luck with your digging and have a wonderful time together. The town of Batsi looks lovely. Lots of things to see and do when you have some time off.

  4. Hi Hannah,
    I’m glad to see you are back at Zagora – I guess Jebel Khalid is but a distant memory! As I look at your blog from Isfahan (Iran) I must admit a glass or two of retsina would go down well right now!
    Cheers and have a good season.
    PS Say hello to Meg, Lesley.

    • Hi John!
      Good to hear from you!
      I still think of dear old Jebel Khalid and was chatting to architect Richard A about it as he went there too! Enjoy Iran I hope the season goes well there also!

      Yamas 🙂

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