Meet the Ostermeyers, friends of Zagora through the blog

Malcolm (Mac) and Carol Ostermeyer with archaeologist Paul Donnelly at Batsi, on Andros, in July 2015

From left: Malcolm (Mac) and Carol Ostermeyer with archaeologist Paul Donnelly at Batsi, on Andros, in July 2015. Photo by Tiffany Donnelly.

By Tiffany Donnelly

Malcolm (Mac) and Carol Ostermeyer have spent their summer holidays on Andros almost every year since discovering the island in the mid 1990s. The couple, who live in Lancaster, UK, first came on an organised walking tour of the island and heard about Zagora from a local tour guide. They continue to stay in Batsi every summer, attracted by the lovely beach and the fact that it’s a little off the beaten tourist track. The Kantouni, home base for the Zagora dig team, is their favourite local haunt, and although the Ostermeyers have never been in Batsi during the dig season, they heard about the excavations and were immediately interested in knowing more. Encountering archaeologist Dr Paul Donnelly on a family holiday at Kantouni recently has further piqued their interest.

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Conical beehives in dry stone wall near Zagora

Paul Donnelly, in front of a stone wall containing beehives

Paul Donnelly in front of a dry stone wall containing beehives.

by Irma Havlicek
Web content producer

On Sunday, the Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) day off, some of us take things slowly and rest up for the work of the week ahead. Others among us take this time to further explore the island of Andros.

Last Sunday, three members of the ZAP team, intrepid explorers, Paul Donnelly, Brady Kiesling and Andrew Wilson decided they wanted to explore the promontory to the south-east of Zagora.

Beatrice McLoughlin had originally conceived this plan – but then the opportunity came up to visit the olive oil museum, so she went there instead.

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A party for ZAPpers at Batsi Gold

ZAPpers getting into the spirit of the night with some Greek dancing

ZAPpers getting into the spirit of the night with some Greek dancing. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek

Last night most of the Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) team attended a party at Batsi Gold, the jewellery shop of Eftihios Tsivourakis, who had kindly invited us all to the party he put on especially for us. He taught team members how to make a variety of Greek specialties, such as spanakopita and tiropita (spinach and cheese pies both made with freshly made, hand-rolled filo pastry), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), tzatziki, barbecued rissoles (bifteki), lemon chicken and sweet honey treats.

Eftihios bought all the food, wine and soft drinks, and the barbecue and cooking vessels and tools to make everything.
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Pure water spring near Zagora

It is customary for there to be a cup in springs such as these so a thirsty passer-by may drink the sweet water

It is customary for there to be a cup in springs such as these so a thirsty passer-by may drink the sweet water. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek

by Irma Havlicek
Web Content Developer

I was walking up the hill from Zagora with Beatrice McLoughlin one day when she mentioned that there was a spring not far off the path, and would I like to see it?

Well, sure I did, so off we went. It says a lot about the people’s hospitality here that there is a mug at the spring so that wayfarers can refresh themselves on their travels.

I tasted the water – it really is crystal clear and pure. Delicious.

Here are some photos of the spring.
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New ZAP team members visit Chora

by Irma Havlicek
Web Content Producer

The Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) directors provide excursions to team members so that they get as much of an introduction to the island of Andros as is possible in the time available.

ZAP team members who visited Chora on Sunday 19 October 2014

ZAP team members who visited Chora on Sunday 19 October 2014. From left, starting at the top: Maria Karagiannopoulou, Megan Sheppard Brennan, Aspasia Efstathiou, Marco Schugt, Valeria de Scarpis, Roza Beshara, Francesca McMaster and Susan Wrigley. © AAIA; photo by Annette Dukes.


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Greek chairs at the Café Kantouni

Kantouni sign

Kantouni sign. © PHM; photo by Paul Donnelly

by Paul Donnelly
Archaeologist, and Decorative Arts Curator, Powerhouse Museum

Furniture numbers among the items I help to look after in my role as curator at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (Powerhouse Museum) in Sydney, and inevitably my eye was drawn to the characterful wooden chairs on Andros.

The Café Kantouni where the team are staying beckons passers-by with its attractive outside dining space, typical of a Greek island pensione.

It is an extensive space with simple but well-made furniture under large shady trees supported on white-painted trunks and white-washed textured walls that morph into inbuilt benches upon which sit geraniums, thriving (seemingly against the odds) in tight terracotta pots or olive oil can containers. And joining it all together is slate paving outlined in white.
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From Rafina to Andros

by Irma Havlicek
Web content producer

Paul Donnelly with our host at the seaside pavement cafe in Rafina

Paul Donnelly with our host at the seaside pavement cafe in Rafina. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek

Paul Donnelly, Archaeologist and Decorative Arts Curator at the Powerhouse Museum, and I were both able to participate in the entire Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) seasons of some six weeks in 2012 and 2013. This year, however, we are both only able to join the project about mid-way through. We travelled at the same time (on different flights) and met at Athens Airport to catch the bus to the port of Rafina, from which the ferries to Andros operate.

In 2012, the first year of the project, several ZAP members met at Rafina and we chose this Rafina cafe for our refreshments before catching the ferry to Andros. The service was friendly and the food fresh and tasty. So last year, in 2013, Paul and I sought to repeat the experience – which was just as good the second time.

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Enjoying Andros sights

Andros Harbour looking towards Nimporio

View of Chora, Andros, from the harbour. © AAIA; photo by Annette Dukes

By Annette Dukes
Finds management assistant

I’ve been in Chora since early September working on the 2014 Zagora Archaeology Project pre-excavation study season.

Our time in Chora has not been all work. We have had the opportunity to visit the Cycladic Olive Oil Museum and a trip via boat to the beautiful Achla Beach thanks to our host Jannis at the Karaoulanis – Riva Apartments where we were staying in Chora.
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Ancient technique using cuttlebone moulds to make jewellery

by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Web Producer

Artisan jeweller, Eftihios Tsivourakis, who creates and sells jewellery in his shop*, Batsi Gold, kindly demonstrated the ancient technique of mould-making using cuttlefish bone to some of us who were on Andros for the Zagora Archaeological Project in October 2013. In the video (6 mins 26 secs), below, he uses this technique to make a sterling silver pendant, an approximately 2/3 replica tetradrachm (coin) of Athens, c. 449 – 413 BCE.

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Glorious dawn and spooky sheep

by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Web Producer

Big Moon over the Aegean on the walk to Zagora on Monday 21 October 2013

Big Moon over the Aegean on the walk to Zagora on Monday 21 October 2013. © PHM; photo by Irma Havlicek

I just thought I’d share with you a couple of the sights that greeted Lesley Beaumont, Lea Alexopoulos and me as we walked to the Zagora site recently – a beautiful dawn with large Moon above (I think the Moon had been full the previous night), and also some sheep which passed by us on the way down. They only turned spooky in my photographs (because of a ‘white eye’ effect – like ‘red eye’ in humans) – but the photos made me smile, so I thought they might make you smile as well. Continue reading