(guest post by James Gross)
Last week I was proud to have learned just enough Italian to successfully order my biscotto gelato in downtown Marzamemi. Today I realized that I have a long way to go before I know enough Turkish to get myself an ice cream in Eski Datca. As I pulled myself onto the boat for the last time at Marzamemi, hastily cleaned dive gear, packed the dredges into storage, and prepared to leave for the airport I had to simultaneously come to terms with the end of one excavation season and the beginning of another. There is still so much more work to be done at Marzamemi, and the possibilities for next year are tantalizing, but there is a definite feeling of satisfaction and relief when you are there to close the doors at the end and truly feel done. It was a strange feeling at that moment to realize that I was only halfway through my season.
The next day took me to INA’s Bodrum Research Center where I hastened to prepare gear and myself for the trip to Datça to meet the rest of the team and begin excavation at Burgaz. That day and the rest since have been filled with feelings of déjà vu. Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones feels a bit strange when it was only a few days earlier that I said goodbye to others. And there is nothing that leaves one more confused than taking apart and packing away dredges one day only to take different ones out of storage and put them back together. Despite these bizarre feelings, diving into a new excavation has been exhilarating. Just as I began to feel worn out and tired, the new faces, new places, and general excitement at Burgaz renewed my energy. Memories from last year flooded back and I have adjusted to my new environment far better than I had expected.
This is not to say I haven’t caught myself looking for the marble and columns of the Marzamemi II shipwreck in the harbors of Burgaz, but I am well on my way to settling into my new routine. My excitement to learn more about the site has returned in full, and I look forward eagerly to a long and successful season here.