Well, this summer’s wonderful archaeological experience is now officially over. I arrived back in the States on the 26th, and while it’s nice to have hot water and deliciously awful food again, I really miss Turkey.

This summer was long and full of hard work, but in the end we all learned so much about how to survey, excavate, and perform archaeological analysis. I ended up spending most of my time with the home team, drawing and inking pottery illustrations. I’m now quite proficient at inking despite a few days of horrific failure and periodic pen explosions. Some of my illustrations may be used in future publications, and I can’t wait to see them in print! I plan to return next year for the Alalakh study season to draw EVEN MORE pottery and help out Mara, the amazing local pottery specialist, with her work.

Now the fall season of fellowship applications, grad school apps, GRE preparation, and all the rest of senior year responsibilities has begun, and Turkey has changed from a fascinating and complicated reality to a wonderful memory. In fact, I am currently sitting in the ARC lab at 9:30 AM, thinking about the things I miss about Turkey and preparing to begin my draft for the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (which all USC archaeology students should apply to!)

Soon it will be time for the first STARC meeting of the semester… get excited!!!

I’ll add some pictures later… right now it’s time to work.

-Sarah Hawley

Exciting day today!

At the beginning of the season, my trench essentially contained 3 walls and a large buttress.  Our goal for the season was to find the floor, which sounded like it was going to be incredibly dull since a floor is usually just packed dirt.  However, after 13 days of excavation, we have uncovered 2 benches, a platform with plastered sides, a large pile of mud with ceramics stuck in it, and a mysterious line of mudbricks running through the middle of the room. We noticed that some of these features were running under the buttress, so today we got to remove it using the büyük kozma (big pick).  Everyone gets really excited to use the big pick since we are all used to excavating in 2-3cm increments, so the energy today was very good.  

I decided that picking looked very fun, so I tried my hand at it for a little bit.  Needless to say the workmen weren’t very impressed, so I was banned from picking anymore.  However, as a consolation prize, Yahya and Muharrem gave me rides in their wheelbarrows while they were taking the dirt to the refuse pile.  They then proceeded to empty all of the contents, including me, onto it.  It was really great to see everyone laughing and having fun while working, and we actually got a lot done!

At the end of the day, we found out that we were all invited to an Atchana wedding later that night.  I had heard about these weddings from people last year and they sounded fun, so we were all looking forward to it. Going to a wedding definitely sounds more exciting than my normal routine of sitting around the compound doing sudoku.

The wedding venue was a hay field next to the Atchana village, so we were looking pretty stylish when we rolled up in our tractor.  The area was decked out with white lights, a DJ, drum dancers, and even a wedding singer with a sweet mullet!  The traditional wedding dance is more or less a line of people moving around in a circle, holding hands, doing a kind of walking-dance around the married couple.  People occasionally break free from the circle to strut their stuff in the middle… Luca and I were pulled in many times by one of our workmen who was particularly energetic and excited to see us – his nickname is Michael Jackson, and anyone who saw his patented jumping-somersault dance move knows he more than deserves this title.  It was very fun to watch and even more fun to participate in, I’m really glad we got to go!  I only wish I had remembered my camera!

-Lexy Sinnott