Sunny, stormy, windy, rainy Zagora

Covering up the excavation area with tarpaulin
Covering up the excavation area with orange and white tarps (colloquial for ‘tarpaulins’), weighted down with rocks. © AAIA; photo by Hannah Gwyther
By Hannah Gwyther

In one day at Zagora you can encounter every type of weather. Blasting cold winds up around the 50 km per hour mark, baking sun beating down or driving rain soaking everyone and everything to the core. Along with attempting to protect yourself from these slightly ‘hostile’ conditions, protecting the delicate archaeology definitely takes top priority!

As the clouds drew in on Friday, the thunder started to roll and the rain began to fall, we found ourselves in this predicament. Immediately the teams stopped work and all banded together with one aim – to cover the trenches and the tools as quickly as humanly possible.

Weather rolling in over Zagora
The weather starting to roll in over Zagora. © AAIA; photo by Hannah Gwyther

If anyone has ever jumped from an aeroplane with a parachute, I feel this would be a similar experience to holding onto an enormous tarpaulin as it fills with a gale around the scale of Beaufort 8 (approximately 60-70 km/h or 34-40 knots). Needless to say it is all rather Challenging. As typical of Zagora weather, no sooner did we secure all the tarpaulins but the sun came out, the wind dropped and it was a really lovely day!

According to the weather report this calm would however be short lived. Subsequently at the end of the day the tarps came out again and were secured down with slabs of schist stone and large sandbags. True to the report the weekend produced major storms, it felt as though the island might be broken into pieces by the ferocity of the thunder, the winds and the rain.

Thankfully as we gingerly approached our trenches on Monday morning the tarps were all still in place. We had foiled the weather and protected the precious site. Aside from a few harmless puddles the trenches were perfect. Sandbags were piled up, the schist removed, the tarps folded up and work continued…until next time.

Another shot of the tarped area
Another shot of the tarped area. © AAIA; photo by Hannah Gwyther

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5 thoughts on “Sunny, stormy, windy, rainy Zagora”

  1. We experienced one of these major storms on Andros a few years ago. At Batsi the sea had totally covered the beach and was crashing over the road behind it. The road through Mesaria was like a river, with large stones being washed down it. And in the Chora the power cables on the telegraph poles were hissing and spitting huge blue sparks! It’s astonishing how hostile the weather can be there, especially when as tourists we’re accustomed to endless days of hot sunshine from June to September. Great report, thanks – and I’m pleased the excavation work wasn’t delayed too much.

    • Thanks, Malcolm. Wow – that sounds dramatic. We’ve had thunderstorms while I’ve been there but nothing like you describe. Perhaps we’ve been lucky that any stormy weather we’ve had has passed fairly quickly.

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