Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shall we do this again?

Our next field school will be in the Philippines. In April-May, 2010, another group of hardy souls will travel to beautiful Palawan Island to join Dr. Victor Paz (University of the Philippines) and me for excavations in the El Nido area. Check out our new website for more info (http://faculty.washington.edu/plape/palawan/), or follow our new blog (http://archaeology-philippines.blogspot.com/).

Meanwhile, we have been working away at analyzing our finds from the Banda Islands. I hope to have some results to post in the next few months. Emily Nancy, Josh and Emily P. have all spent time in the labs here in Seattle, and Nia and Daud have been busy in Yogya. My research assistants Andy and Mark have been helping with the collections and getting the section drawings ready for publication. I will finally have some time to work on this all now that the spring quarter is over. More news soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Still echo

Our trip was ended a couple weeks ago, Came back and prepare for a new(old) life here in Thailand. I felt like it was good to be home again as other person says. Plane landed into some place that i feel like I never know this place before but suddenly, it was my town "Chiang Mai". How could I forget about it, full of memories, mountains, people who speak the same language as me that i could just smile and shake my head, they will definitely understand what i mean. I felt like I'm fulfill with these memories. I was walking down to find a taxi to get to my apartment which i think it would be nice to be there and take some rest from the whole trip. I was wrong... some people says it 's good to travel somewhere sometime, when you come back you will feel better and ready to face everything again. But it 's not happen to me... for a first couple days...I was addicted to some activities that i used to do before, woke up early 2 hours going to have breakfast that i never do that before, feeling like walking somewhere for 20 minutes and back to my place and then I feel like I need to do some exercise and many things like that.... sometimes I felt like some people talking to me about the field survey tomorrow...All of those activities make me happy and I never forget the moment from the place far far aways from me now ... It was great to be there and learned something that predictable and unpredictable and you 're still feel good to talk about it... i bet that is call great experiences... Finally I have become someone who work hard and pay attention a lot of thing around me and promise myself that if I could have a chance to go back I will still enjoy it ... still echo echo.... I hope it's not too drama !!! hehehe!!!! Watana

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Long Haul Home

We are finished, and now in the midst of the long haul home. We left Banda Sunday night aboard the Kepal Taman Pelita, a small passenger ferry with accommodations reminiscent of a slave ship. 100 humans stacked in a 12 x 18 two layer cabin, spread out on mats and cardboard. A few of us found greater comfort in the bow of the ship laying upon stacks of green bananas or in the small kole-kole (canoe) nestled among the bananas. There we drank some mansion house whiskey, smoked cigarettes for warmth, and adjusted our posture every 3 minutes or so, hoping to find some kind of comfort. Following the moon westward across the Banda Sea we made our way to Ambon. Within several minutes after leaving Banda, the waves of the Banda Sea were doing there work on our crew. Most everyone sequestered among the slave quarters found themselves offering up their dinner, lunch and breakfast to the sea gods. One by one I could see them make their way to the rail, except for one student who awoke in shock at the rumbling of her innards and let the contents of her stomach fly into the lap of Laura, who somehow remained composed throughout. Amazingly by light of dawn, 14 hours into the journey, one hour from Ambon, all were smiles. Hell of a crew! 

Now we are departed, some of us in Bali, others back home in Jogjakarta, Peter and Emily working out the details of bureaucracy and exit visas in Jakarta, and Sarah back in the states, hopefully experiencing restored vision to her infected eye. 

The archaeology was a great success. The bonds we formed on the expedition are the sort that we'll carry through our lives. Many thanks to everyone for your help in the video and photographic efforts. Though there's no film completed, as was the original ambitious intention, the elements of a delightful journal of our experience on the beautiful Banda Islands is 'in the can' as they say. I look forward to stitching together our story and sharing it with you all in the months to come.

Sampai kita bertemu lagi, Selamat Hidup!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Coming Back Home

Just 40 mins ago, the group disperse. The students heading to Bali and the staffs headin 4 Jakarta. It's been a great months 4 me. Meeting a new friend, gain more experience, etc. I'm hoping that all of you also gain valuable experience from this field school, either experience bout archaeology or experience about cultural stuff here in Indonesia.

Well...Guess im comin back home now...back to my daily habituation...will be hard after havin so much fun and meetin great people in this field school...ah well....if there's a beginning, there's an end.

I will miss you all. Keep in touch guys. Hope I can see u all again. Thanks 4 everything, and i also apologize if I've done something wrong. Take care.

PS: for our fallen company, Sarah. We have our last group dinner last nite, we all surely miss you. Get Well Soon. A toast for Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ambon Manise

Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, is the transportation gateway to the Banda Islands. It's tagline "Ambon Manise" means "beautiful Ambon." But years of conflict, rapid unplanned growth, pollution and traffic have made it less than beautiful. For those who make it to the truly beautiful Banda Islands, waiting in Ambon is the price you pay. And I am here now, paying once again.

Several days ago, Sarah, one of our students from the US, developed a serious eye infection that required treatment beyond the capabilities of Banda's tiny health clinic. So, she and I made our way from remote Pulau Ay to adaquate health care. We started in the early morning on Tuesday in a torrential downpour on a small motorboat for the 1 hour trip to Banda Naira, then onto the bi-weekly ferry overnight to Ambon. After checking in with a doctor in Ambon at 3 AM, we then caught a 7 AM flight to Jakarta, where we met another doctor who accompanied Sarah to a hospital in Singapore. She will be there for a week before heading home. Sarah was our resident expert in ID of human bone, a skill that came in handy when we unexpectedly uncovered a 19th century grave in the Lautaka site (we were able to leave the grave intact and continue with our excavations into the 1500 year old layers of that site). We will miss Sarah very much for the last two weeks of the field school, but we are all very glad she is in good hands.

I caught an early flight this morning from Jakarta back to Ambon so that I could rejoin the team for the last 2 weeks of the field school. But the last 120 kilometers back to Banda is always the hardest part of the trip. The weekly flight on Saturday has been cancelled (a common occurence), and the next ferry is too late for me. I spent the afternoon asking around the cargo docks of Ambon for any smaller cargo ships that might be making the trip, with no luck. My only hope at the moment is for Emily to send a boat from Banda to pick me up either here or in the next island over, Seram. We just talked via sat phone and she is now working on organizing some kind of transport for me. She reports that excavations on Ay are going well--we have three sites opened, two open village sites and one rockshelter, all dating to the Neolithic period (3400-2000 years ago). I have been given a shopping list: skippy peanut butter, ziplock bags, screen, bandaids and benadryl (that pretty much sums up our lives!).

So, I may make another post before I leave. Our dreams of using the sat phone to upload blog posts have not worked out--we get about 4-5 minutes of connectivity before getting cut off, not enough time to log in at 7500 baud (anyone remember when dialup modems were that slow??). So, like with postcards sent from the Banda post office, you may be reading about our experiences after we return!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hello Mister!

By Josh Diles

It has been over forty days since I left snowy Seattle for the warm climes of Indonesia. My mind has been crammed with the history, language, and culture of Indonesia as well as a plethora of archaeological techniques and practices that will serve me well as I pursue a career in the field. We are entering the final stage of our journey, once again stepping down the technological ladder as we leave the 24 electricity, ice cream freezers, and phone stations that Banda Naira provides, and head to the island of Pulau Ay, where the generator only stays on for a few hours in the evening. I am going to have to get used to sleeping without a fan.

In addition to all I’ve learned, I will be taking much, much more home with me. This trip has truly been life changing. One of the fondest memories I will be taking back with me is that of the children of Indonesia. I have never met a happier bunch of kids in my life. They turn a stick and a rock into an afternoon of fun. They can whip me in badminton (which should NEVER be played in a sarong). They help me with my Indonesian and I help them with their English. A group of kids can always be found playing right outside our guest house when we return from a hard day in the field, and they are always very happy to see us. Shouts of “Hello Mister!” are still music to my ears after all these days. I have even been reading to the kids, from a book I found at the airport, written by my favorite author, and translated into Indonesian. Its entitled Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, and while I’ve read it in English a few times, I’m on about page 12 in the translation. I don’t have to understand it, however, to read it to the kids. They help me with the difficult words, and I know they’re understanding it, because they all seem to laugh and go “Awwwww” in unison at certain parts of the book while I’m reading. I’m hoping it’s due to the book’s content and not directed at me.

Well, in just over three weeks I will be back in Seattle, enjoying a Stacia’s pizza with triple cheese and anything made out of pork on it, while\ watching a movie with my much missed friends and family. I’m kind of regretting a return to toilet paper, but maybe I’ll do some plumbing when I get home and install a mandi. All my love to TB, Jana, Mom, Dad, Jeb, Jess, and PQ. I tried uploading some photos but it’s pretty impossible at 14.4k.

Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano

Laura Phillips

It wasn’t until after 8pm last night that the field crew finally made it back to the Flamboyan. Exhausted, but triumphant having finished excavations at BN1 (Banda Naira Site 1 near Lautaka, if you have a detailed map on hand), the hungry crew celebrated a final dinner. The lab crew worked until just before 8, too. We almost finished packing up all of Peter’s collections from his 1998-98 excavations. This morning, Kelsey and I will finish up the final boxes, so Wuri can courier the collection to Ambon next Tuesday on the cockroach-infested ferry-from-hell. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Bemoli boxes make it. Bemoli is the frying oil that everyone uses here to fry bananas, cassavas, and fritters. I am told these boxes are quite strong, but I’m worried the signs of dripping oil on the outside of the boxes will undermine our packing job. Nevermind what the bugs will do…

Right now, everyone is gathering o on the Flamboyan porch, bags in hand, ready to stow our gear on Ayub’s trusted boat. A small group will head over to Pulau Ay this morning; the rest of us will catch a larger boat (2 engines) after lunch. In the meantime, it’s Friday, our free day, and we’ll wander around the town that has become our home. Many of us are no longer known as “hello mister,” and instead, are called Ibu or by our first names (Selmat pagi Kelsey…or Wilson, Ari, Watana, Pippit…)

Today is also our last opportunity to use telecommunications. I’ve heard there are no public phones on Pulau Ay. It was great to hear Clara, Yari and Eric’s voices this morning. I’m looking forward to sharing all the amazing stories. In the meantime, I hope you are all well. XOXOX, laura (mommy)