Ahhhh, Friday… our weekly break started this afternoon and ends tomorrow night. Because we can sleep in tomorrow, we’ve decided to have our 4th of July celebration tonight, complete with BBQ, chips, and other quintessentially American things. We’re all very excited, even though the field director has forbidden us from blowing anything up. Shucks.

Internet has been patchy for the last few days, so right now everyone is feverishly typing away, catching up on correspondence and global news. Internet and barbeque??? We’re seriously spoiled here at the compound.

It’s so amazing here. Everyone on the team is hilarious, and we have a great sense of community. We’ve been having fun overcoming language and cultural barriers with the Turkish archaeologists who have come to work on the Alalakh project. Just yesterday I taught four Turkish students to draw pottery, and today we worked on reassembling some pots unearthed during the Woolley excavations at Tell Atchana during the 1930s. Between my ten words of Turkish, their ten words of English, and a lot of creative hand motions, we’ve established quite a working rapport.

Ashley and I decorated our building today. “Our” building is a small mud-brick house designated for illustrators and pottery workers, of which there are currently only two. We have named it the “Cave of the Illustratrixes” (as female pottery drawers are obviously called) and claimed some highly in-demand desk space. We put pictures on the walls, a mailbox on the door, and hung an Evil Eye above the workstation next to some dried flowers. Oh, and we put a mattress in the corner that we can pull out at random whenever we feel like napping… or working while lying down.

Life is difficult in the Cave of the Illustratrixes

Life is difficult in the Cave of the Illustratrixes

It’s wonderful to have some personal space, especially since the mud-brick building is cooler than other places in the compound. The temperature has been hovering in the high 30s for the past week (Celsius is confusing…), so a little respite from the heat is always welcome.

It was brought to my attention that my last few posts have been… a little negative? Perhaps the part about surveying the bowels of hell? Well, apart from that anomaly, things here are actually WONDERFUL!!! I can’t even express how amazing it is to be in a place like this, surrounded by my peers, studying the ancient past. I hope to return to Turkey every summer I can.

Well, that’s all for now! To recap: Everything is wonderful. Turkey is amazing. Tonight we’re going to blow things up (just kidding, Murat… or am I???).

Happy 3rd of July!!!

-Sarah Hawley

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