When the team realized that we would probably not have internet access at the gîtes near the dig site, we were slightly anxious and more than a little peeved. How, we wondered, would we contact “our people,” stay updated on the happenings in the world, and keep the world updated on our own escapades?
While the first day being weaned from the World Wide Web was slightly painful, as soon as we descended from the bus to enter our gîtes, I realized that it might be a good thing to just appreciate my surroundings for a few days. Blocking the horizon and clearly visible from our gîtes sat the Pyrenees mountains. Green and lush at the bottom, the massive mountains were capped with snowy peaks and rocky outcroppings.
In the miles of land that separated us from these inconceivably large mountains were rolling hills of farmland and forest. Sheep grazed on the property just across the road from us, and the owner of our gîtes had two donkeys roaming the property just below our homes.
Our first morning in the gîtes, I woke up early to swim in the pool on the gîte property. I have had few moments as peaceful as the early morning in the Pyrenees with the sun just breaking over the mountains and flooding the sky orange.
Our drive to the dig site each day was equally stunning. I never needed to bring a book or music on the bus, as the view from the window was entertainment enough. Fields of cows and sheep sped by, framed by the mountains, gorgeous French homes, adorable towns, and dark forests.
Sitting on the top of a mountain, digging for ancient artifacts, surrounded by PA students and accomplished archaeologists, and learning about prehistoric peoples, I found myself living completely in the moment. After a few weeks learning about the history of France, its people, and their culture (see some modern culture down below), our time in the Pyrenees was the perfect conclusion to a fruitful trip. We finally had the opportunity to appreciate one of the world’s most beautiful areas and learn about a history that pertains to all of mankind.