We are currently the only team from New Zealand working on an archaeological project in Egypt. So, on Saturday we were visited by the New Zealand ambassador.
The day started out normal as we continued to work on transect 24 in the L-Basin, which we had been working on for a few days previously. This transect was particularly dense with artefacts, and so it was decided to leave the centre and southern arm unexplored to use as a demonstration for the ambassador.
The ambassador arrived with a small police escort. Simon introduced our visitors to the crew, and while he was explaining exactly why we were out in the middle of the desert meticulously recording small pieces of rock, two teams went ahead analysing the artefacts, one team shot them in with the total station, and a final team were off excavating hearths.
The ambassador and his group took a particular interest in what we were doing, and lots of questions were asked. Overall, the visit was a great success. As was the day’s work – another 400 artefacts were analysed, bringing the total to the 1000 mark.
The day was not over yet, though. We returned to the dig house (only slightly earlier than usual…) to a fantastic BBQ with Australian beef and New Zealand sausages which the ambassador had brought, and which was cooked to perfection by our camp manager, Hamam. Even better than the food was the selection of New Zealand wines, much to the delight of a few of our team members. But the best part was the beer – Mac’s Rock hopper. Egyptian beer is good, but it was great to drink something familiar, especially one of your favourites. And all the other members of the Fayum project appreciated the feast. Score one for Kiwi hospitality.
At the end of the night, everyone went to bed in high spirits. So all up, it was a pretty decent Saturday.
Now only one and a half weeks of field work left!