Near Eastern Studies doctoral student Eilis Monahan received the most votes for her entry featuring a tagged cat sleeping on an artifact processing table in Cyprus. As first recipient of the CIAMS Archaeological Photography Prize, Eilis wins $100 for purchasing books of her choice.
When contacted about her win, Monahan gave the following background:
“Pottery Cat, AKA Michael or Μιχάλης, was a stray in the village of Pera-Orinis, where the Politiko-Troullia project lives and where we have our lab space. I think it was the second day this summer [and] this adorable little orange cat followed me meowing the whole way. After that he just set up shop… he’d meet us every morning, and guard the school house at night. After about a week of students sneaking him food off their plates, we went out and bought him some cat food. We’d feed him in the plateia, but immediately after his meal, he’d be right back in the lab, sleeping on boxes, windowsills, artifacts or laps. He particularly liked sleeping on my lap every morning while I cataloged pottery. The project as a whole came to a consensus that there was no way he could stay in Cyprus [...]. Nearly everyone on the project chipped in, and we got him everything he needed for a trip to the U.S. Which would have gone without a hitch, but [...] Michael lost his seat, and his hard-sided carrier was too large to fit under a seat …, so he ended up wedged into the space between my seat and the seat in front of me, and I spent the whole trip with my knees up to my chin! But he’s now happily ensconced in my downstairs, so he doesn’t torture Ma’at my other cat, who is very sweet, but a total coward.”
Congratulations to Eilis, and to Pottery Cat! Thanks to all those who took the time to vote or submit images, some of which will be featured on the cycling website banner.