Monday, 24 June 2013

Greetings from Gazipaşa

Hey folks! Greetings from Gazipaşa, Turkey.
I find myself here embarking on an adventure much dreamed about: an Indiana Jones-esque escapade digging up an ancient Roman city by the mediterranean coast in modern-day southern Turkey. It is pretty awesome.

I have managed to find a tenuous post link, you will all be happy to know. My first night in Turkey was spent in Antalya, where I visited Hadrian's Gate. And lo and behold, when I bought a stamp to send off my first postcard of the trip, it featured Hadrian's Gate. So here it is:

Now I am in Gazipaşa, a good three hour bus-ride from Antalya, where our dig-house is located. Our dig-house is normally a soccer club's football rooms, which have been transformed into dorms for our purposes. It is a pretty great set-up. Our site that we are digging up is about half an hour from here, and is the Roman city of "Antiochia ad Cragum," or "Antioch on the Cliffs."

The above photo is taken from the entry gates to the Roman city, overlooking the countryside with the Mediterranean sea beyond.  The Roman city is amazing. There is a temple that dates to the end of the 2nd Century AD; the remains of three bath-houses - one major one surrounded by an elaborate mosaic inside the city gates, one smaller bath-house outside the gates, and one down by the sea; there is the remains of the colonnaded street, which would have had shops lining it and a stunning view over the Sea.
Getting a site tour
Inside the outer bath-house
Part of the colonnaded street
A road sign in Latin

The focus of our excavations this season is on what we think is the city Agora, or marketplace. And after two days of glorified gardening - removing a thousand different types of prickle bushes - in order to reveal the ground surface, by Friday we were ready to get into it. I am in a trench with Mary Ann, and we are excavating on top of a mound that may be a temple. I am pretty excited to get into it next week.

Mary Ann and I standing in the middle of our trench pre-excavation
Anyhow, after our first week of work, our hard slog was rewarded with a swim in the "Pirate's Cove."

You can't really beat that, right? 

So, that is my first week in Turkey done... and I am very much looking forward to the second.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

World Stamp Expo Fun Times!


So this blogging game has gotten away from me recently, and as a result there is a bit of catching up to do. About a month ago I was very excited to attend the World Stamp Expo, which was being held in my hometown of Melbourne. The WORLD STAMP EXPO!

The Expo was held at the Royal Exhibition Building, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage listed building located in the Carlton Gardens. I dragged my dutiful boyfriend along, who patiently accompanied through the myriad stalls from various postal authorities from around the globe. I also dragged my friend Grant along - but he chose to lie in the sun for a couple of hours in the Gardens instead. Each to their own (but you missed out on some fun, Grant!).

As you could well imagine, I made a few purchases over the course of the day. My little bag was full (and my bank account empty) by the end of it. I got a souvenir minisheet to add to my royal kitsch collection, embossed with the Expo logo on it.  And I just couldn't help myself, also adding to my royal collection I got a Wills and Kate FDC.

Moving away from my tacky fascination with royals, I also indulged my love of maps, and found this amazingly beautiful minisheet from Greenland. What a find!

I also visited Deutsche Post, and purchased this lovely minisheet as it features both a map element and the Antarctic, and I love the Antarctic. The combinations of boats and ice always make for beautiful images. Would you agree?

I also found these awesome Indonesian stamps, which I saw when I visited there last year, but resisted buying at the time due to budgetary constraints.

The stamps depict traditional fabric designs from around Indonesia. They are quite lovely, in my opinion.

Anyhow that is a sample of my many purchases from the World Stamp Expo 2013.  It was a very fun day out for a big stamp nerd like me.

And now this stamp nerd is signing off for the time being. I am about to head to Turkey for six and a half weeks! I am very excited and will be working on a Roman archaeological site on the south coast. It is an absolute dream come true and I can't wait to be archaeologising on the other side of the world. So I will try and post to this blog (probably fairly irregularly) over the coming few weeks, but the posts will be archaeologic rather than philatelic in nature. But watch this space!