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Can You Dig It? An Archaeology Student’s Adventures in Cyprus

By Bethany Montague ’18

One week down, five to go.

My first thoughts on Cyprus: So. Very. Hot. While the island is gorgeous, the heat is often sometimes unbearable. On my very first day here it was already 100o. Despite that, though, I am in love with Cyprus, and my dig site. My camp site is another story though. We are living in army tents and sleeping in army cots. While this might not sound bad, with the Cyprus heat, it is terrible. Thankfully we have fans and lots of water. If we’re lucky, there will be a stro ng breeze which brings cool air into the tents.

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Hundreds of pot sherds[1]
Ross and Sharon Steadman, the project’s codirector, sorting pottery. 2012.
Jenni and Sharon sorting pottery[1]
Madelynn Von Baeyer, our paleobotanist, recovering seeds using a “flotation device.” 2012.

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

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

The news story this week that the company Hobby Lobby was fined for illegally exporting looted antiquities from Iraq provides a good opportunity to write about ethics and archaeology, and about the protection of cultural heritage. Concerns about archaeological sites also stand behind some of the recent worries and protests about rescinding the federal protections of sites like Bears Ears in Utah or the archaeological sites on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where the decision was made to go ahead with pipeline construction.

In places like Turkey, and at archaeological sites across the Middle East, these issues stand in tension with the history of European and American involvement (or meddling, if you will) in politics, and with continuing internal political and economic struggles. Recent looting and destruction of sites in Iraq and Syria by ISIS (about which my colleague Dr. Fred Bohrer has written) have been criticized around the world, but most people are less aware that this looting has provided an income to ISIS fighters, who sell antiquities to middlemen. These objects—including priceless cuneiform tablets, sculpture, and more mundane items like pots—then reach the hands of collectors.

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Our Trip to the League of Women Voters Maryland State Convention

By Brielle Rozmus ’19 and Nailah Russell ’18

In case you missed the previous post:
Democracy in Action | Students Study League of Women Voters of Frederick County

Dr. Zaki’s research project on the League of Women Voters of Frederick County, Maryland has taken us to places we never could have imagined. We have traveled to dusty archives in multiple libraries, and to League members’ homes to interview them on their participation. The one place we never expected to go when we signed onto this project was the Eastern Shore of Maryland to the historic Chestertown, Kent County. But, that’s where we ended up for a beautiful weekend in June observing and participating in the League of Women Voters of Maryland’s State Convention. The weekend was full of adventures for our trio, from first rides over the Bay Bridge to becoming voting delegates representing Frederick County’s League.

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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.

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The mound at Çadır Höyük.
View from the mound.
View from the mound
Laurel Hackley, daughter of Mary Jean Hughes '08, instructing a pair of Turkish college students about digging.

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

I’ve just arrived in Turkey for the 20th time in 21 years, meaning I’ve been coming here to dig and research since before most of my current students were born. I’ve also been bringing Hood students here since 2001. This year, I don’t have any students with me, but there are a lot of Hood archaeologists and archaeology alums digging around the world this summer. Workmen ask me about prior students who came in past years, and one of our core team members is the daughter of Mary Jean Hughes (Class of 2008, and staff member in Art and Archaeology and the Honors Program), so the Hood connection remains strong.

I’ve been digging at Çadır Höyük (CHA-dr HOO-yook) since 2003, with a team of American, Canadian, European and Turkish archaeologists from a variety of universities. We live in the village of Peyniryemez (literally, “We do not eat cheese,” which is not true), which feels like my second home. At my desk at the moment, I can hear the bells on the sheep and goats walking down the road in front of our house, while sounds of vegetable-chopping come from the kitchen behind me. Soon I’ll smell something wonderful cooking, which the team will come back together to eat around 1:30 p.m., at the end of the digging day. (The afternoon is devoted to work in the lab.)

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