We left base camp this morning at 6:30 am for Zincirli, Karatepe, Anazarbus, and Kastabala and returned at 9:15 pm. Needless to say it was a long day but well worth it. Our first stop was Zincirli, a Late Bronze Age and Neolithic site in upper Cilicia. The Chicago team heading up excavations do not arrive until July 15th so there was little to see at the site.
The next stop on our journey was the late eight through ninth-century Hittite site of Karatepe. The orthostat reliefs were amazing as they depicted various motifs such as the Tree of Life, religious scenes (see picture below), animals, soldiers, boats, and many others. Jeff Herrick and I crouched down in front of a large statue of Ba’al while Juan Tebes did his best Ba’al impression (see picture below).
The last two stops were particularly interesting for the Romanists. The site of Kastabala provided great entertainment. The site itself was breath taking. The remains of a Crusader/Armenian castle, a bath, a theater, a colonnade, and several archaeological features are well preserved. When Jeff Herrick, Thad Olson, Andrea Gatzke, and I explored the theater we entered an arched hallway. I entered first and was admiring the tumble at the back when all of a sudden I spooked a bat. It flew by me and I yelled “bat.” Jeff was right behind me and Thad was behind him. Funny enough Thad had his camera ready and took a picture. We have been laughing at Jeff’s expression for the better part of six hours. Luckily my back was turned and the camera did not preserve the look on my face.
The last stop was Anazarbus. It too preserved the remains of another Crusader/Armenian castle, a bath, churches, a theater, a colonnade, an aqueduct, a fortification wall, and much more. The highlight of the trip was the difficult hike to the castle. The view down to the Roman remains was my favorite. No matter what happens the rest of the season, my Turkey trip was worthwhile based on this one day of field trips. Below I have posted pictures of an orthostat from Karatepe, Juan’s best Ba’al impression, me on top of the Kastabala castle (it was really windy), Jeff’s priceless expression, the plain of Anazarbus with Roman material, and the Anazarbus castle.