Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cyprus fieldwork: research data; eczema; votive graffiti

Cyprus fieldwork notes extracts

On the 4th of February 2006, I tried to piece together some of the problems I had faced that hindered my research data collection and placing significant blame upon my unpleasant and unsightly eczema, which was nearly completely out of control, before I made some mental notes about devotional or votive graffiti I had seen in Lefkosha.

At 6.20am, I observed that,
I've been here a full month now. I've generated far fewer data, however, in the month that I've been here, than I had in the month I was in Kosovo.

There are many factors and trying to find a place to stay, instead of resigning myself to the expense of hotels, took up a week; administration has taken up days; and the language course consumes fifteen hours a week - and valuable ones, too, between 6.30 and 9.30pm, when I ought to be in cafes.

Despite all of the newspapers' articles that deal with or make reference to cultural heritage, I haven't had access to any public debate(s) and I haven't been privy to any insightful discussions.

I need to start working cafes into my day and networking relevant people - internationals, archaeologists, et al, into my circle. The broken-up structure of my fieldwork so far, too, has contributed, as I haven't even been able to work on other things, like the looting submission, in the meantime.

Other, normally peripheral, issues have also become prominent, especially my eczema, which is significantly interfering with my personal and working life now, as my entire body is covered in scratches and cuts, my torso marked by weals and the sides of my feet split with infected eczema.

Thankfully, my face is just flaky dry, in an unsightly way, but my hands are red raw and my neck and arms also marked with scratches, cuts and weals. Walking is slow and painful, making site tours or photographic surveys unappealing and socialising is challenging when you look or feel like a leper or plague victim.

Self-flagellation may not invoke divine intervention but it certainly eases the chronic, burning itch of the eczema. I'm off to scratch until I draw blood, again.
At 4.40pm, I jotted down,
"Ekklisia=Ellas", "Church=Greece", the completed but obscured writing on St. Dimitrios Church. Positive or negative comment? Desecration or votive inscription [as Kirsty Owen asks of Medieval church graffiti]?
Walking around the old town a while after that, at 9.50pm, I copied down that,
by a notice that reads,
To ktirio eleghetai apo ilektroniko systima parakolouthsis.
Video surveillance system in operation.
Trapeza Kyprou Ltd,
there's graffiti reading, "koitaxte ligo pio pano sas parakolouthane", with an arrow pointing to the camera, "look a little further up - they're watching you".

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