Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pottery, Pottery Everywhere

We are up to our ears in pottery around here.  First, it took over Owen's office and the large storage area; then it took over our apartment floor; now, it's also taken over our table.  We've been kept busy organizing, sorting, washing, and hovering over the sherds like a jig-saw puzzle with missing pieces, trying to make sense of the jumble. 

Where does it all come from, you ask?  At the very beginning of this month, Owen finally got all his permission letters in order from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities to haul all of their Safut material from the Department Warehouse to ACOR (see Owen's blog on the subject), so that it is easily accessible for him to scan and study.  He rented a big truck with workers, and at the end of the day we had 115 crates of pottery and dirt from Tall Safut (and some other random sites--oops)...each crate filled with hundreds of sherds, many of which also need to be reconstructed.  It's a MASSIVE job, and we are feeling completely overwhelmed.  Too bad it took half of our time here just to get the material, but I guess that's how governments run: inefficiently.  After this mountain of pottery is done, there is still more material at the Warehouse that accidentally got left behind, as well as another museum to visit.  Phew!  I'm panting just thinking about this crazy race against time.  While Owen focuses on the stuff only he can do, my job is to sort through all the crates and find the most important stuff, to help wash the pottery, and to rudimentarily reconstruct pieces for scanning.  (Anything important goes to a professional pottery re-constructor.) 

The children also help where they can...Safita often finds herself sitting in a pottery crate of her own, beneath towering stacks of even more crates, while Jack wanders around the basement maintenance area to see what trouble he can find.  He usually finds plenty.  (It's not an ideal location for a 2-year-old, but we can only do what we can do!)  He also loves helping with the washing.

The other "commune" kids seem to have found our pottery stash rather exciting, and enjoy trying their hand at washing and fitting pieces together.  We're thinking about hiring them...Except, wait--they'll do it for free!  Even better.

pottery sherds make great "roads" for toy cars

It seems like we're always under a gigantic amount of pressure with a quickly ticking timer, frantically trying to accomplish unreasonable amounts of work in absurdly short periods of time.  And every time, I naively think, "As soon as we're done with this stage, things will calm down and we can relax."  Never happens.  I'm starting to feel a bit like our life resembles the pottery that's taken over it of late: jumbled, scattered, disorganized, a mess of broken pieces...The good news is, each piece is valuable, broken or not!  And one day soon we'll find some glue to put the pieces back together again!  One day soon, we will function normally.  And I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds fascinating to me! What fun to work on such a tangible and important job. It sounds like it would be a huge rush to "complete" some pot.