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The Sissi Archaeological Project - Sarpedon
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I wanted to gain a new experience working with different international team excavating in Crete since the island is one of the key area for my PhD research. I was also very interested in learning more about the site, its wider environment, landscape and the local communities.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Organisation website

Application process

I sent a motivation email with my CV very last minute to the site director Professor Driessen who was very kind and helpful and he accepted my last minute application because of my skills and experiences.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

The very good reputation of the project and team and I was also interested in the site and environment of Sissi.

Main responsibilities

Everybody had to make sure that understood and followed the instructions of the designated supervisor or assistant supervisor and did not hesitate to address questions if it was needed. During fieldwork we were responsible for each small area or unit what we excavated and we had to make sure that each context opened in the morning was also closed by the end of the day, photographed and fully recorded with the field form and the finds inventory. After the final check of the assistant supervisor we had to take the finds to the cars ready to be transported to the Apothiki. During the find-processing in the Apothiki, we had to wash the artefacts what we found on site and made sure not to destroy their surface, decoration and other surface treatments. The washed finds mainly pottery, animal bones and shells had to be separated under the context/unit number where they were found. In the afternoon we had to attend different kind of lectures and presentations related to the site of Sissi, the type of archaeological materials, features and structures found on site.

Typical day

The fieldwork started with sunrise at 6 am and finished before the temperature increased to warmest peak of the day (max. 40 degrees) at 2pm. Each day brought something surprising or different so as each unit and context what we opened. After the first day of topsoil removal, we mainly dug with hand tools such as the triangle, 'skalistiri' namely hand-pick accompanied by the hand-brush and shovel. We were excavating inside different building areas finding destruction, occupation and floor levels sometimes covered with plaster or with amazing moreover very spectacular in-situ pottery deposition. The excavation of these deposition was more time and concentration consuming with more detailed observation and delicate excavation techniques. By the end of the day we had to close each contexts or units which has been opened on the same day and the area has to be photographed and fully recorded with the field form and finds inventory. The lunch break was more than enough to enjoy a delicious home made Greek culinary experience and wash the dirt off with a dip into the sea. This helped us to regenerate and start the afternoon refreshing and attend the lectures and presentations held by different specialists and senior members of the project. The find-processing in the Apothiki was very different and a bit longer day than in the field. It started from 7 am till 5pm. Generally each participant had to work in the Apothiki once in a week. We washed mainly pottery, animal bones and shells.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I really liked the atmosphere of the team as if it was a big family. I really enjoyed every moments of the excavation since this was my first experience in Crete digging very interesting and sometimes complicated features and structures with fascinating and very rich archaeological materials. It was a real pleasure to become part of this team.

Challenging aspects

Sometimes it was difficult to communicate English and French at the same time with other students and try to understand and interact in Greek with the workmen or local people in Greek. I was grateful for this opportunity since I was able to get more responsibility and credit with my hard-work and enthusiasm to get invitation for the next season and to another excavation in Cyprus next year. I really enjoyed networking, building out either academic and non-academic connections which could be useful and helpful for my future career. It was an important self-development progressing my self-awareness and self-confidence in a different and new atmosphere and environment outside of my comfort zone.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I definitely developed my excavation methods and techniques learning new tricks and practising old ones. I also had the chance to learn more about different recording systems and methods and other technical supports such as the total station and drone. I also gained a lot of new information and knowledge related to the Minoan civilisation from the afternoon lectures and presentations and I could also use my language skills speaking French, Italian and learning Greek.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It strongly confirmed me that I would like to become an active and very experienced field archaeologist participating and maybe leading future research projects in the Mediterranean. Since my supervisor and the site director were satisfied with my hard-work, working moral and mentality, I was invited to continue excavating them in the future not only in Sissi but in Cyprus as well.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

I would like to continue working with the Sissi team and participating in other projects as well in different parts of Greece and the whole Mediterranean. I am also planning to apply for a post-doctoral position in order to share and extend my PhD research.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

I can advise to my archaeology student fellows to go and excavate in as many research projects as you can since the direct interaction with the archaeological phenomena, features and materials is very important sometimes essentials for further investigation and theoretical problems! Networking and academic connections are also helpful and important for future career and in self-development.

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Form completed: 01 Sep 2019

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