The team gathers for their second breakfast.
A room in the lab where people are working on their notebooks and drawing pottery.
A student from the University of Washington teaches a group of British students about making and drawing pottery.

By Jennifer Ross, Ph.D., Professor of Art and Archaeology

In case you missed the previous post: 
Part One: Another Year, Another Dig: Archaeology Professor Jennifer Ross Writes from Turkey

Our archaeological team here at Çadır Höyük, in central Turkey, has now reached its maximum number of people, though we’re still early in our digging season. There are about 30 of us, speaking a number of different languages with a variety of accents.

As anyone who has been on an archaeological project knows, one of the most important elements of the work is food. We are lucky to have a wonderful support staff, including a glorious cook who manages two of our four daily meals, and her husband, our driver, who brings a third out to site every morning at 9 a.m. (We’re on our own for our 5 a.m. breakfast.) Here you see part of our crew at “second breakfast” on site.

Good teamwork is central to good archaeology; while archaeological history is filled with stories of “heroic” Indiana Jones-like figures, like Heinrich Schliemann and Giovanni Belzoni, who capitalized on their own exploits, today’s archaeology is much more interdisciplinary and interdependent. A team like ours includes students new to archaeology, graduate students working on Masters degrees and PhDs, paleobotanists, zooarchaeologists, conservators, and experts in ancient metallurgy, and professors who are knowledgable in a wide range of historical periods and questions.

I’ve recently been reminded of how much we rely on our entire team to achieve a successful season. While putting together a publication about the trench I’ve been working in since 2005, I realized how many Hood students had a hand in the article. I used drawings of pottery by Mary Horabik ’16, Kristen Squires ’16, and Tamara Schlossenberg ’16, trench plans by Amanda Shaffery ’15, photos taken by Mark Sickle ’15, tool identifications by Jeff Geyer ’07, and a drawing that reconstructs what we think was going on in the trench at 1000 BC by Mary Jean Hughes ’08. Without their contributions, and those of our Turkish workers and colleagues, it would be impossible to do our work, and to let the world know about it.

Because it’s expensive to travel and live overseas, we generally spend six to eight weeks working intensively at our site each summer; we live in a sprawling compound with one large house, a lab, storage depot, and a variety of small pre-fabricated houses and tents, and we work 12-16 hour days. It can be both joyous and frustrating at the same time, especially given the close living circumstances and long days. But the results—both what ends up in a publication and the friendships and experiences we share—are immensely rewarding.

Leave a Reply