A very special dig
One of the best things of working with the archaeological expedition from the University of Warsaw was that its leader was of the very understanding kind.
He knew that he was working with a bunch of – hm… – loose people and allowed us to be this way as long as the work was done.
Because of this great approach, the work was always done. The spoil tip was neatly mounded. The dig was clean and organised. No one walked on the ancient walls. Everyone knew their job and was doing it despite the scorching sun, dust, dirt and hangover.
The day at the Roman fort in Balaklava started before the sunrise. It was still dark when we were getting our pickaxes, spades and shovels out of the makeshift shed. Armed with spatulas, brushes and brooms, we marched to our posts.
Whatever was happening after that wasn’t really that exciting, save for the occasional treasure or hoard of coins. Haha! Got you! Everything valuable was long time gone. But we weren’t there for the gold. We were there for the walls. Unearthing them layer by layer, travelling back in time.
Well-organised time = productive time
From about 9:00 AM it was really hot and everyone was looking forward to 11:30 AM. This was the time of the main break. This was the time for something special…
The beauty of the marketplace
Our excavation site was back to back with a plastic marketplace where you could buy everything starting from hand-held fans, electric appliances, clothes, fresh meat, spices, bread, tools, cosmetics and kittens. The last ones were not for sale. You could just take one.
The market also hid the most amazing beer I’ve ever drunk. It was served in a small outlet (it feels too strange to call this place a bar) with one wobbly table standing by the wall. For its 10m2 size, the establishment had an impressive selection of beverages as eight beers were on tap. All of them fresh. Literally. They were still going through the fermentation process and had an extremely short expiry date of less than a week.
The taste of the beer that they served was unique. I like beer. I drink beer. I’m not a beer connoisseur but my taste buds work fine. This was the best beer ever!
At 11:30 AM during summertime, Crimea gets hot. Really hot. Physical work in the sun doesn’t really cool you down, either. The beer place was like an oasis. A shade of hope in the desert. The funniest thing was that in this plastic box they had air-conditioning. Cold beer, air-conditioning, a moment to catch our breath and gather strength for the rest of the day.
Not that we had so much work left to do. This takes me back to our excavations’ leader who had the sense to let the students enjoy the sun, sea and the Crimean laid-back atmosphere.