We arrived about a week ago in various groups by plane from around the world. There is one airport in Naxcivan, and it isn’t large. They oddly have a classic airport shuttle though to take you the 50 yards to the terminal. It took us a few days to unpack and organize the house and buy the long list of needed supplies in the Naxcivan City bazaar, including anything that was too big to bring from America (shovels, tables, plastic chairs, plastic shelves, plastic drawers, plastic…well you get the idea).
At the beginning of this week we finally could hire 16 local men (many really boys doing a summer job) and begin excavation. We opened four different areas of excavation: 3 in the valley to expose what we hope will be the houses of an ancient village, and 1 in the hills in an area peppered with kurgans (piles of stones that mark burials). So far, we have mostly cleared surface areas, but in the next week we hope to figure out what is really going on. The kurgan excavation (directed by our senior grad students Selin Nugent (Emory 2012) and Susannah Fishman) are particularly intriguing as today while cleaning to outline the stones of the potential burial Selin found a phalanx of a young child which had gotten worked to the surface by rodent activity probably. We have high hopes for an intact grave with grave goods. As always in archaeology we end the day saying…we’ll find out more tomorrow.