Spinalonga

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The permit arrived on Friday just after breakfast, so we spent a bit of time tidying up the site and finalizing area assignments before the long (Saturday AND Sunday) weekend.  On Saturday I realized that I hadn’t had a day off in two weeks, and one day I had before that I spent hiking up three waterfalls inside of Wadi Mujib, a gorgeous canyon  in Jordan. So, needless to say, I was tired and spent the day mooching around site, resting, and swimming.
On Sunday I was feeling restless and while I was still tired, it was time to travel.  All of the ferries in Ayios Nikolaos had gone for the day, so we caught a ferry in Elounda to Spinalonga, a small island fortress.  Spinalonga was built in 1579 to guard against the Ottoman threat.  There are some nice ruined Ottoman houses on the island.  During the early 20th century it was used as a leper colony, and seeing as I’ve already excavated at one leper colony in Hawaii, I thought I’d visit another island leposarium.  Besides, who wants to see another classical site? Yeesh, not me.

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It was a blindingly hot day, so the hike around the island was a little tedious, but there were some nice details in the architecture and reuse of the early fortress ashlars that made it worth it.  I was also worried that it would be completely overrun by tourists, but it seemed like it was mostly Greek families who came for the nice swimming off of the battlements.  The ruins of the leposarium were unsurprisingly grim, even in the lovely setting.

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So, I got a bit of touring in. I’m not sure where I’ll go next weekend and I suppose I’ll try to fit Knossos in at some point, but I think I’ve gone into archaeological site freefall, where one pile of stones starts to look a whole lot like the next.  Speaking of piles of stones, progress in my part of the trench is a bit slow, but we’ve started to move a bit today, getting rubble cleared and walls disambiguated.  I’m working in a part of the trench that has been actively avoided until now, so that maybe says something.
More about the archaeology when I actually find something, I suppose.

3 responses to “Spinalonga

  1. I have only recently found your blog, but find myself completely addicted. I will be starting college in the spring, hope fully (if all goes to plan) to study archaeology. Your blog is amazing and I look forward to reading more.
    p.s. Good Luck on the dig!!

    -Lindsay H.

  2. haha I completely forgot you excavated at that leper colony on Hawaii! Was it you who gave that paper at ARF so long ago about that project?

    Enjoy the sea! It looks lovely.

  3. Catherine – Nope, that was my good friend James Flexner, who just got hired!

    Thanks Lindsay! Good luck with college.

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