Friday, August 29, 2008

End of season

The field season is over. I am currently in Amman, trying to get used to the idea of returning home in a couple of days. A month of fieldwork in Jordan is such an intensive experience that I find it hard to orientate myself to the normal life. I am often feeling strangely detached and a little bit blue. Helsinki looks alien and simple tasks like shopping groceries or taking a tram are confusing experiences, not the least because I can't decide what language I should speak.

To sum up the season in Jarash, I met many nice people I hope to keep in some contact with in the future, I learned lots of new things - although not necessarily those things I expected to learn, and I found out that being an archaeologist is still my dream job. In short, I enjoyed this season in Jarash enormously. Thank you everyone who were there with me. Tusen, tusen tack.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Home abroad

It is very good to be in Petra again. This is only a three days holiday in the middle of the excavation season, but it has been nice to see old friends and acquintances. And to move on my own - in Jarash we ladies are not allowed to go to the town without being accompanied by a male member of the team, due to some incident a couple of years back. Also, after spending altogether closer to a year here (in bits and pieces), this place has a certain feeling of being a home abroad. When I left in 2005 I had no idea when, if ever, I'm coming back. I did not quite fall to my knees and kiss the ground, but... yes, it is nice to be here.

After we come back from Petra, the students (and I) are being rotated to new squares. I might even get to do a little sounding of my own. I'm very excited about that! My previous fieldwork experience in Jordan has been almost exclusively survey, so this has all been new to me. Although of course most excavation skills are transferable to almost any environment. Speaking of which, I got to do my first Harris matrix since my own fieldschool in 1995 yesterday. Heh.

Monday, August 4, 2008

See Jarash and fry

Back in Jordan for the first time in almost three years. For those who haven't read the previous entries, or just forgot, I volunteered in a Danish-Jordanian excavation project. We are digging the remains of an early Islamic mosque, a Byzantine bath house and various other buildings just in the crossroads of the Cardo and the South Decumanus, so drop to visit if you happen to be walking past.

To tell about the conditions here in just a few words because the connection is really slow: The people are nice and the food is excellent - I have developed a taste for Near Eastern cooking over the years, provided there is some variation from the chicken&rice theme. The accommodation is not bad, by excavation standards - we have showers and toilets although of course water is scarce and the toilets do not flush but that is not really a problem. So far in the square I'm working in we have been just removing mixed layers of recent topsoil. The work is hot, dirty and backbreaking and far from glorious, which seems to come as a bit of a disillusionment for the field school students on their first dig. :)

So I am alive.