How did that happen? Anyone? Hello? Anyone still reading?
Boy does the time fly. The last four weeks of the dig were completely and utterly mad. The end of a season is always mad; on a four-week project the last week is non-stop mayhem, on a five-month project… well, let’s just say it was a blessing that we learned to brew our own refreshment. That and the generosity of ex-pats. Bless those ex-pats! Gin is a wonderful thing, don't you agree?
At the end of the project I’d catalogued 802 objects. There are still more stones to catalogue. But I’m not really enthusiastic about possible hammer-stones. I mean, it's a rock. Maybe someone used it to hit something once or twice, but does that mean it's a cultural implement worthy of my time? Or architectural fragments. At what point, exactly, do you stop cataloguing architectural fragments? Do you only catalogue the really pretty pieces? What about the pieces that aren’t pretty but are interesting because they show construction methods? What about the random crap that comes up that I’m supposed to store but would rather accidently drop down the loo? (This is the vast majority of plaster artifacts that come out of the field. I look down at them and think, why, god, did you give me this chunk of plaster doorframe? We know they had doors.)
Apart from cataloguing, there was also the matter of storage. Over 300 crates were packed. Each crate needed a tag and a list had to be made that indicated what was in each crate so that we knew a) what we had and b) where it was. MSExcel and anal-retentiveness are our friends. Once packed we then had to move all of these crates. Half went to the fort and half went to our house in town. Using our hired workmen, we moved everything in two days. While the goddesses of registration were doing this (that would be me and Miss H) everything else, including my office, was packed up and put away for next year. I can tell you where the ceramics from locus 1215 are, but not where you can find a ball-point pen.
The last day we were in camp, we got up at 6 am and were out of the tents by 7 am. This is vital, because the tents started to come down at 7:30 and if you weren’t out with your stuff, you were likely to be surprised when the whole thing came crashing down like an unwieldy umbrella. By breakfast at 10 am, the entire camp was dismantled and packed up. We left camp at 2 pm for Doha.
I don’t think I’ve ever been part of such a smooth breakdown and pack up of a site - ever. Especially considering how much stuff had to be moved and cleaned and boxed and moved and packed and moved. I think it really shows what a great group of people I spent five months of my life with - no one had to ask for help, people did what needed to be done and then asked if they could help someone else. It was smooth and easy and really stress-free. How stress-free? So stress-free that I finished typing up the last of the lists, walked out of the office and discovered that all I needed to do was get my bags and get in a vehicle. There was this amazing double-take - "wait, what, we're done??" followed by "yeah, okay, I'll get in the car, no complaints, I'm ready."
I still can’t believe it’s over. Where did five months go?
I also can’t believe I’m not going to get up in the morning and hear AW and TR in the kitchen, meet KC in the bathroom and trip over the doorframe going into my office. I don’t have to shake my shoes out before putting them on… in fact I don’t have to put on my shoes to go get coffee anymore! I certainly do not miss the public toilets, but I sure do miss the people. Thankfully, they don’t live too far away. (Odd, isn’t it, England now qualifies as “not that far away”?) Many of them are even trying to get jobs or into university here in Denmark, which would be Very Convenient as far as I am concerned.
But after five months of seeing the same people day after day? All day. Well into the night, every night, in fact. To suddenly not have these people in your life, right at your fingertips, is very jarring. Especially since I really really like them.
A moment while I get all maudlin and melancholy.
This post wraps up the general boring posts from Qatar. There’s a few random stories to tell, but I really must post about What Happened While the Archaeogoddess Was Not in Denmark, because my husband got a job and moved us to a small island and I only just started to unpack in my new huge house when I was swept into the car and back to the big city to camp in a caravan for a week so he can finish a school project (so as of this moment I am still freaking camping!!) and then we’re flying off to Spain for a week before another week of camping back in Denmark and *then* I might be able to go back to my GORGEOUS house and finally unpack from Qatar and the move, but only if we can buy a new washing machine so that I will be able to wash my clothes properly for the first time in five months (now going on six). But for the moment I need to see if I can post this, er, post before I run out of battery, because I’m using mobile internet in a café and there’s no damn power sockets. WTF??*
*Note: still couldn't post this in the cafe because the internet crashed and I had to go back to the caravan for power. This is attempt to post take #2.
Hugs to all and hope to post more frequently in the near future!
BY THE WAY FOR ALL THE PHOTO NUTS OUT THERE... THERE ARE PHOTOS (not mine, but taken by a lovely woman who will let me post some of them) AND I STUPIDLY LEFT THEM ON MY EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE WHICH I CANNOT PLUG IN WHILE I HAVE MOBILE INTERNET ON!! I'M SORRY!! I'll try to get you some soon.