Historic Hawaii

Hawaii is known for beach vacations, surfing, leis, and mai-tais. There is a lot of interesting history here, too, and we had a chance to explore some of it during our visit. We started just down the hill from our house, at the birthplace of King Kamehameha (Kamehameha l or the Great). It’s the bannerContinue reading “Historic Hawaii”

The Spondylus Route to archaeology, Ecuador

Romantically named, the Ruta del Spondylus highway borders the the ocean in places, then dips inland around high hills, making its way from northern Peru to northern Ecuador. It is named after the spondylus shell, brilliant orange or deep purple species that were used to make beads and jewelry by the ancient people of bothContinue reading “The Spondylus Route to archaeology, Ecuador”

Heading North

We decided to visit northern Peru, and headed for Playa Los Organos, on the coast between Piura and Tumbes, stopping for two nights on the way. The first day was familiar territory where we passed familiar archaeological sites. Just north of our home in Barranca is the Fortaleza de Paramonga, southernmost outpost of the ChimuContinue reading “Heading North”

Wari, Peru’s First Empire

We couldn’t pass up a visit to the ancient capital of Peru’s oldest empire, Wari. The site is northeast of Ayacucho and not difficult to find. The site is huge, covering 1800 h (about 4,500 acres). As a capital city, Wari was home to rulers, priests, bureaucrats, craftspeople, and farmers. Circular spaces were probably forContinue reading “Wari, Peru’s First Empire”

Fall Blows in to Sicily

It’s often breezy at the beach. We got out of the car and crossed the fringe of dunes, arriving at the shore to see small waves crashing and the wind rushing east along the sand. Walking into the wind, we started our beach combing, finding smooth oval pebbles and beach glass. Ow, ow, ow!It wasn’tContinue reading “Fall Blows in to Sicily”

Where the Greeks were

Sicily was the largest colony established by Greece. What that actually means sinks in about the third time you visit a vast, partially excavated archaeological site and find a temple, or several, that appear to be transplanted straight from the Acropolis in Athens. The temples may the most impressive sights, but there are lots ofContinue reading “Where the Greeks were”

Piazza Armerina–Roman mosaics at their best

We didn’t know much about Piazza Armerina until we looked for archaeological sites to visit within driving distance of us in Sicily. The guidebook indicated interesting mosaics at the Villa Romana de Casale near the town of Piazza Armerina. The mosaic floors of this villa, owner unknown but possibly the Emperor Maximian (250-310 AD), areContinue reading “Piazza Armerina–Roman mosaics at their best”

What I love about Pompeii

As an archaeologist, I was amazed, surprised, and delighted by Pompeii. Other sites may be bigger (Tenochtitlan, Mexico), have larger temples and pyramids (Moche, Peru), or more spectacular settings (Machu Picchu, Peru), but more is known and brings the city to life inĀ  Pompeii than anywhere else. There are lots of buildings, walls and streets.Continue reading “What I love about Pompeii”

After Ferragosto

Ferragosto is the annual down time for all of Italy. During the two weeks from mid-August until the first of September almost everyone takes a holiday, and every desirable hostelry in the country is jammed to the doors. That’s why we left for Ireland. We returned to Italy when order was restored on Sept. 1.Continue reading “After Ferragosto”