Three days ago we spent our last day in the field. During the few days students will finish their photo journals, written journals, and GIS projects while staff write final season reports. Despite the loss of my luggage, two broken cell phones, a broken GPS unit, and an interesting geomorphologist I have had an excellent season. My competence in ArcGIS continues to grow and we collected a nice assemblage of Eastern Terra Sigillata pottery. Below I have posted a few pictures from our second annual soccer game against the kids of Guzelyayla. Like last year there was a sizeable turnout and like last year we lost but the game was much closer 10-7. Despite scoring 4 goals (5 if you count the one I scored on our own goal) and I did not almost cut my finger off (like last year), I still hate soccer! Note the wonderful gravel playing field, the random cars and tractor parked on the field, and the nice crowd. Thanks to everyone for a great season and see you next year.
Monday, June 22, 2009
There is nothing more amazing than seeing a site you’ve read about in person. There was no longer any question in my mind about whether or not I was going to be an archaeologist. Seeing what Professor, Doctor Halet Çambel had accomplished here was inspiring. The fortifications of the southern gate came into view and I thought if I breathed it would disappear. I felt a tingle run up my spine upon seeing the ancient words carved into the Orthostats that had been painstakingly reconstructed from scattered, badly damaged fragments. I reached out and traced one of the hieroglyphs. I had never been able to put the pictures from books into perspective, but being able to trace the words of a human being that had lived and worked nearly 2700 years before my time left me with many questions that have yet to be answered.
Moving on I saw my first Phoenician inscription carved into the statue of the Storm God. The thoughts racing through my mind were and still are difficult to express. The Phoenician was more human that the Luwian hieroglyphs and so clearly made for efficiency that I was left with a sensation of pride. Pride in the knowledge that these primarily commercial seafarers had, with these elegant carvings, helped breath life into the writing system I use today.
Progressing quickly we rushed on to the Northern Gate. There was deep sadness in me because I knew we had to hurry and I would likely miss some of the most amazing parts of the site. Walking down a steep path that wound down toward the Northern Gate I began attempting to reconstruct the fortress in my mind. Trying to picture people and buildings, ancient streets and livelihoods gone with only their foundations, pottery and inscriptions to mark their existence. This footprint of humanity had lain untouched for nearly 2500 years and now, I could see it in my mind as the Northern Gate came into view.
Here were the best preserved orthostats with the sphinxes and lions that guarded them. Carvings of Egyptian Bes and obvious Persian symbols mingled with traditional Hittite art to create a beautiful fusion. I stood gazing at them for a time, camera held limply in one hand, forgotten in my racing thoughts. I jolted back to reality as I remembered how little time we had here. I had friends take pictures of me with some of the orthostats and the lions that guarded the entrance. I marveled at the nearly perfect carvings and finally at the maybe 2 meter high walls that were the remains of what had been fortifications. Restored by the excavators they stood as tribute to what men could do when they used their minds to better their lives.
We headed down the trail back toward the museum and I paused to look back at the gate standing serenely in the forest as it had for countless centuries. Light slanted through the trees casting even light across the gate allowing me a glimpse of history I’d never experienced before. In that moment I realized how different reality was from what you read in a book. Reality was so much better.
Hurrying down the trail I caught up with the group and asked them to take a picture of me walking down the forest trail alone.
“and even in those places which were formerly feared,
where a man fears to walk the road,
so in my days a woman walks alone with her spindles.”
- from the Inscription of Azatiwatas at Karatepe
Info on me
Name: Kirstie Hudson
Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean studies, potential double with Information Science and Technology
Year: Rising Sophomore
Age: 19 on July 6th.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
My name is Ben and I'm having a good time in Turkey. I'm a rising senior at PSU majoring in CAMS and Religious Studies. This is my first field work in archaeology and my first time in Anatolia. My classmates and instructors are a pleasure to work with and I have much to update my family and friends on back in the States. So far we have intensely surveyed two sites and visited many others. Otherwise, we are worked like slaves (just kidding, kind of). Either way the weather is wonderful and the early wake-ups have established an edifying regimen. Hopefully the good habits I am picking up here will translate back home, if I return alive. Tomorrow we will be heading to Nimrud Dag (spelled in a plethora of ways), and it should be an exciting time despite the 12 hour round-trip bus ride. A few of our finds have been of some significance but otherwise a good amount of my classmates enjoy collecting amorphous rocks instead of sherds so that we may all scrub and discard of them (haha). Oh, and we've found a bunch of turtles, packs of wild dogs, feral cats (as many as squirrels are numbered in State College), snakes, lizards, and various spiders. Until next time...
Monday, June 15, 2009
Yesterday we spent the day at Nemrut Dag. Nemrut Dag is one of my favorite archaeological sites. Built by Antiochus I Commagene during the first century B.C., the site sits atop Mount Nemrut. The monument served as a place of worship for Antiochus and a series of both western and eastern deities. The sites consists of a large tumulus, eastern and western terraces, and a large fire altar. Simply amazing! P.S. Sorry about the beard, going on 12 days without my bag!
Friday, June 12, 2009
One of the primary goals of the 2009 Mopsos field season is to create topographic maps for a series of archaeological sites discovered during previous field seasons. Most of the sites are mapped by taking several hundred points with a Total Station and uploading the data into ArcGIS to create the map. The ancient city of Alexandria in modern Iskenderun must be mapped but modern development and urban sprawl have made Total Station mapping impossible. One of my tasks this year is to rectify a series of municipal maps to a Quickbird satellite image and digitize all the modern roads and contour lines of the ancient city. I have rectified all the municipal maps, digitized the roads, and, along with a student volunteer, have began the digitization of the contour lines. The whole process will take some time but in the end we will have a nice accurate map of ancient Alexandria.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
My name is Nicole Tan, and I’m (going to be) a junior at Penn State University, studying Archaeological Sciences and Sociology. I heard about the study abroad to Turkey program way back in the first semester of my freshman year, when I took my freshman seminar with Dr. Killebrew. I couldn’t go that summer, but when I heard about it again last fall, I jumped on board!
For the past week or so, we’ve been surveying at Dutlu Tarla and Dagilbaz Höyük, two related sites near Iskenderun. We’ve been doing random samples of 10 meter squares and working on taking points with a total station in order to create a topographic map of both sites. One of the most exciting finds so far has been pottery slag at Dutlu Tarla, meaning they were making pottery at that site, and an Iron Age potsherd from the top of Dagilbaz.
I’m not going to talk about the total station. Suffice it to say that we made an offering to the god of technology two nights ago, and we’ll go from there.
So, I was working on washing pottery out on the balcony earlier. All the pottery we collect from the survey squares has to be soaked, washed, sorted, read, and either discarded or properly documented. Anyway, someone decided to collect a shoe along with the pottery from one square. When I find out who that was…
Right now a few of us are sitting in the classroom and talking about nicknames. I’m Thorns. :P
Well, nice chatting! If you’re my mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, or boyfriend, just wanted to let you know I miss you, but I’m going to bring back great pictures!