The Search for Ancient Eleon

by Braden Stanley
This summer I embarked on an incredible journey to the beautiful country of Greece to take part in an experience I will never forget. It is hard to captivate the entirety of my experience with mere words, so I decided I would try to express my summer in Greece via video. When I first began this journey I often wondered what exactly I would be doing in the trenches of Eleon. Would I become the next Indiana Jones uncovering the temple of doom, or would I be an average person just moving dirt? As cool as Indiana Jones is, I would have to say that my experience at Eleon was far superior to any adventure that Jones took part in, and I say that for one simple reason…The big pick. In the infamous indy movies you never see Indiana wielding the big pick axe doing actual archaeology, where as in my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than swinging the big pick doing a clean 10cm pass, and uncovering an ancient history in the process. I feel obligated, however, to mention a particular illness that will take over once the smooth wooden handle first touches your fingers. To the common man your body may just feel warm, as if you have received to much sun, but to the experienced archaeologist it is known as “the fever.” The fever can be described as the irresistible desire to big pick, disregarding all cautionary measures to maintain locus levels and to observe differences in soil change. The fever will take over your body and mind in a way you never thought possible, and without realizing it you will have done three full 10cm trench passes before first break. By the end of the day you will have moved 150 buckets of dirt and ask yourself…what happened to me? Some may say they cannot tell if they have the fever or not, but perhaps the easiest way to diagnose the disease is when someone has been asked to do a shallow 5cm pass, but in reality they were digging closer to 10cm. Your body will do this on its own as it is something you will not be able to control. It will be up to your supervisor to get you out of the trench, feed you a cookie, insist that you take an Almora rehydration tablet, and tell you to go sit under the tree for some shade in order to get rid of the fever for the time being. I myself am burdened with this illness, but I do not intend on treating it. In all seriousness, my time in Greece has been something I will never forget. From the gorgeous beaches of Dilesi to the breathtaking 6am sunrises, from the incredible friendships to the amazing food, this experience will be an ever lasting memory. Being able to take part of an excavation at the incredible site of Eleon cannot be described with words – it is something that you will have to experience for yourself. But I warn you…if you do ever make it into the trenches, beware of the fever. 
Along with the video below, I have included a few time lapse clips to demonstrate the work we do in the trenches – Enjoy!


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