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August 2006 & July-August 2007Interactive Dig Black Sea: Shipwreck Research Project
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Hiedi, Brian, and Derek bring back some of the first finds collected by the new team. Nice job guys, keep up the good work!
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Lecture on ceramics: As new students at the fieldschool, there's always a lot to learn. Lectures on identifying ceramics and amphora types are just one of the many components designed to help students understand just what they are finding underwater and how to accurately record their finds.
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Russian lessons are usually held in the morning on the beach before each day of diving. Though many of the Ukrainian archaeologists can speak English, students make their best effort to communicate in Russian when possible.

Photos courtesy BSSRP. Click on images for larger versions where available.
by Derek Irwin

From the Field: August 25, 2006

[image] Frederik, Brian, and Derek sit down at camp to work on their first update.

Our first week here in Ukraine is coming to an end, and it's been interesting to say the least. A few of the team members met in Kiev on Friday, August 11, and shared an overnight train from the bustling city to the quainter town of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea. While on the train we shared drinks with some friendly Ukrainians who told us a little about their country's history as well as the customs and traditions of Crimea. With this new knowledge in mind, we arrived at Sudak, our final destination, eager to meet the other members of our team.

Sunday night took us back in time to the mediaeval period for a re-enactment of a battle inside the walls of the Sudak castle. This was followed by a personalized guided tour given by our kind and well-versed Ukrainian colleague, Ivan Kisil. As a special treat he threw in a night-picnic on top of a 13th-15th century cemetery site located beside the fortress that he had excavated. We enjoyed the view of the bay of Sudak while we tasted the local Tatar specialty chebureck, a pancake type roll filled with cheese or minced meat. Kisil also introduced us to a typical Ukrainian sour milk drink called kefir.

The following day our excavation director, Sergey Zelenko, introduced us to the site in the small picturesque bay of Novy Svet. After his informative orientation talk, our enthusiasm was such that a horde of Slavic warriors could not have kept us out of the water. The site lies roughly within a 40 by 40 meter area and consists of amphorae, plates, glassware, glazed pottery, cutlery, and other odds and ends possibly associated with a ship's cargo.

Over the next three days we spent our time in the water meticulously measuring the excavation area and laying grid lines. This was done in preparation to start excavating at the beginning of next week. Those of us not used working in the water found that a simple task on land--such as tying a knot--becomes increasingly difficult below the surface. Another hindrance is the reduction of our visibility caused by our movements close to the seafloor. The stirring up of sediment, however, also acts like a dinner bell for the beautiful sea life in the area. The local fish we run across seem just as curious about us as we are about the artifacts we find.

[image] Our Ukrainian colleague, Vanya, displays some of his recent finds.

For now, we look forward to the weekend, when we will have some time to explore more of the region at our leisure. We also have some interesting lectures on ceramics and Byzantine seafaring planned to keep our minds from wandering too far from the excavation. We value this time off as we all need some rest, but we can't wait to get back in the water.

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