“A Day in Field School Life”

Summer sunrise in Athienou occurs around 5:00 AM. Closer to 6:00 your alarm will go off and a bit after you’ll hear an AAP vehicle’s horn summoning you outside. If you’re the ambitious type you’ve perhaps had a breakfast of fresh eggs; otherwise you’ll grab some bread and jam for the ride.

Morning at Malloura.

Around 6:30 you’ll arrive at the site, pull out your tools, and set to work with the day’s excavation. Teams of four or five students work under supervisors in particular excavation units across the site (EUs, or trenches). All dirt is sifted for small specimens, and objects are photographed and documented in situ and collected for conservation and documentation at the lab.

The first person to notice it’s become 9 am yells “cookie break!” and all the trowels are laid down. People alternate providing for their trenches, and cookie break is as likely to be fresh fruit as cookies and lemonade.

Around 11:30 you’ll see the AAP truck come barreling toward the site. Lunch is generally sandwiches, and is always ends with karpuzzis (watermelons), which are a staple you’ll definitely miss when you leave Cyprus.

Around 2:00 you’ll pack up and leave the site to head back to the lab. There you’ll spend time washing the pottery you’ve dug up that day and occasionally doing some object drawing and record keeping. This is also the time when you could have the opportunity to watch and learn from the specialists working at the project, like the ceramicist or conservator.

The time from 4-7:00 PM is your own. Most of us like to shower now — Malloura’s got lots of dust — and take a bit of a siesta. Some people take this time to do some errands, study or go for a run (by late afternoon the temperature has probably dropped a good bit) or play some soccer or basketball.

Several days per the week you’ll attend lectures by the staff and various visiting specialists. Topics range from Cypriot cultural history (from the prehistoric to modern eras), to archaeological methods and technology, to specialty presentations by numismatists, osteologists, local artisans and others.

The 2005 team at Kurion.

Dinner is about 8:30, and varies among Greek and Cypriot dishes from local restaurants—mezé, gyros, souvlaki, sheftalia (a type of sausage), halloumi (Cypriot cheese)—and those cooked at the Palace (AAP’s dig/staff house) and by friends in the village. After dinner you’ll be free to wander Athienou and patronize the many local cafés to catch an evening soccer match on TV.

On Sundays the whole group piles into bus for field trips. On any given trip we visit several other archaeological sites (such as Paphos, Kurion and Choirokoitia), historic churches, monasteries, or museums. Many trips conclude with a few hours at one of Cyprus’ many picturesque beaches or mountain towns.

CAARI, Nicosia.

Mondays are days off, but you’ll find most of the field school students in Nicosia, either performing research in the air-conditioned library of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) or exploring what Cyprus’ historic capital city has to offer. Students have enjoyed visiting museums, cafés, restaurants and shopping in the city.