Menorca, Spain


Today is my last day on Menorca, it’s hard to believe that I have been here for 6 weeks and have already finished my first field school experience. This week we focused on finishing up the site, BU might move to a new site next year, so I spent a lot of time digging down until I hit bedrock. Although I was working in an area that had two Roman coins found at it this season I just dug up a lot of Punic pottery, small bones, and then finally nothing. There’s something really satisfying about finishing up an area. Knowing there is no way you are leaving and that someone will come along behind you and find something amazing in that exact spot. I might have a control issue come to think of it… Also, just the fact once you get down to bedrock you have just exposed an area that has not seen the sun for thousands of years. To me it’s kind of a weird thought that the dirt my clothes are caked with is dirt that was last touched by Romans or Talayotic people. Weird.

Hiking

I’ve spent a lot of time in the field but I have also spent a lot of time just exploring the island and the city I’m staying in, Mahon. Both are absolutely stunning and I will miss my daily walks around the port. Last night we went out to celebrate someone’s bachelorette party (they’re getting married next summer but who knows if we’ll all be together again) and as we visited the popular bars (Nashville, Texas, i think Europeans might have an obsession with the Wild West) I was just so happy. Just simply happy. That seems like a pretty perfect summer to me.

–Cara Polisini

We’ve been excavating for three weeks now (going into our fourth) and for the most part everything has been pretty charmed. We’ve had great finds for our site this season (a Roman coin, a glass bead, a belt buckle, decorated flooring, a grinding stone, etc.) but today was an off day. At first I thought I might be the only one feeling that way but multiple other people commented on how the day felt straight out of the twilight zone. Basic things, like setting up an instrument to take elevations, took us forever. No one could do anything correctly and all the leaders had differing opinions about the way things needed to get done.

Needless to say lunch was a welcome break. We were supposed to learn about flotation this afternoon but we ended up back at the apartments instead because people weren’t functioning well. The point is that things don’t always go according to plan and some days you just have to go with flow and know that the next day will be better.

I’m okay having these kinds of days every once in awhile but tomorrow i’m praying things go back to normal. Who knows, maybe my area will find a priceless artifact…

–Cara Polisini

Walking around with friends on a site visit.

Walking around with friends on a site visit.

Excavating in a house means there are lots of different areas to keep track of so years ago the BU excavation team named each room (or special unit) a different number. I dig in special unit 8 aka Spu 8. As you can imagine people get very attached to the first Spu that they dig in. This is our second full week of digging (the first was sort of a warm up) and no one wants to change from their areas. The room I am working in is an islamic period house which is extremely unique for the island of menorca. Up until this point all excavations have focused on the talayotic period (the older, native culture). So our house is the first to try and understand and preserve an islamic period house.

We are just at the point where our room is revealing some interesting mysteries (why are there roof tiles over half the house but just a ton of rocks over the over half?) and it’s time to be reassigned to another Spu.

I have loved everything so far so I’m sure I will like my next assignment. As someone who likes the Roman period, maybe I’ll get moved to that section of the house!

–Cara Polisini

As much as I loved my first week of field school I was excited to see what weekends would be like. Turns out weekends are wonderful and another (totally non academic) reason to go to field school! Saturday our group went to a beach on the other side of the island and it was a postcard perfect beach: turquoise waters, white sand, cliffs you could climb…

Gorgeous beach on Menorca

Gorgeous beach on Menorca

Saturday was perfect but today (sunday) it decided to rain. Last year, the first couple weeks of the season were entirely rained out but we’ve been lucky and have had wonderful dry, warm weather. Since it rained today our site will be too wet to dig at tomorrow, which stinks since we haven’t been able to start excavation yet. Instead we will probably do some work washing pottery and sifting.

That’s how it goes, no schedule is set in stone here.

This is my first field school experience and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect location than the island of Menorca. Smack in the middle of the Mediterranean, Menorca has been ruled and used by the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, British, French, and now it’s part of Spain. The site I’m working on is part of Torre d’en Galmes and is one of the largest sites on the island. All of Menorca is actually a biosphere, which means it’s totally protected. This is my first real day of excavation, so we’ll just be cleaning up the site and removing back-filled dirt. The field school is currently excavating a house that dates back to the Talayotic culture (about 800 B.C.).

Site visit in the few first few days at Menorca.

Site visit in the few first few days at Menorca.

If I’m going to be honest, though, you should know that Boston University is extremely kind to their field school students and eases them into the daily schedule. That means we’ve had lectures and toured the site but we’ve also slept in and toured the town. Tomorrow the early mornings begin.

–Cara Polisini