At the Souvlaki Stand


Three old Greek ladies with gold cross necklaces, swimming and smoking, smoking and swimming. They wash their feet off in the little beach shower and join their friends at a larger table.

It’s windy and the shirtless boy that serves the dakos and souvlaki and raki puts the napkins under the bread baskets, a bracelet guarding against the evil eye sliding down his wrist.

On the west side the stand is bordered by a buttressed Ottoman building that everyone pees inside of.  East is the beach, a small shower head mounted in concrete by the shore, a Byzantine wall eroding out of the sand, more beach, then the site at the far end.  I could probably see people working there from the stand, but I’m always the one working, and I wonder if they watch us hopping on walls and scratching the dirt during the day.  Mountains rise above the shore, craggy and cloudy in a very Greek there-could-be-gods-here sort of way.

The sunsets are always lovely, but not spectacular with gaudy colors. I’m watching another one, alone, drinking my second big Mythos out of a small cup and eating some salty peanuts. I hunt through the shredded pile of skins, find another one, and pop it into my mouth.

There are grape vines everywhere, and trees shade the diners. Two old men shout across my table at each other, discussing their day or the weather or I don’t know.  An ice cream cooler is next to the beer cooler, so it’s a popular spot for the archaeologists after we finish our day. The plunge into the ocean after a brutally hot day on site is too sweet for words.  So we come by and swim, and chat about our day, dripping salty water into the dust under the trees at the souvlaki stand.

The souvlaki stand has a puppy out back, and just yesterday I noticed that there is a low wall behind him that is built into the bedrock that eats through the shore.  The bedrock has been rounded off on top, and a few flower pots are placed in the crevices.  We have been uncovering rocks just like it on site, with obsidian blades tucked in between them, the neolithic less than a meter underneath the Byzantine.

I’ve finished my beer and my peanuts, the sun has gone down and the tables full of greek families are emptying, one by one, to go eat dinner and tend to the large olive groves that line every road. We are lucky, archaeologists, for being able to stay in one place for this long, and we tend to find things like the souvlaki stand to make us comfortable, so far from home.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

5 thoughts on “At the Souvlaki Stand”

  1. Loved the post! I cannot tear myself away from your blog, I think I have almost read every single post! Keep em coming !!

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