Archive for August, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Today is my Dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday to you!
Not to much to report from Turkey. I came over all queasy this morning and didn’t go on the Karatepe trip, instead spending much of the day sleeping. There are worse ways to spend a day. Tomorrow, back to work!

moving very slowly

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

This is our ninth day of work, plus our day of travel and our day of sitting around in Gaziantep, and tomorrow is our first day off. Everybody is very ready for it. My response time to any event has been lengthening gradually, and is now about 5 seconds between someone saying something to me & my thinking of the correct response (about 10 seconds in Turkish).
Yesterday I was helping supervise workers as they clear off the face of an outer city wall, and clean off the top of the wall to find its width. I did okay in Turkish. I learned to say, “Are there stones here? Small stones or large stones?” The workers seemed quite interested in what we were doing, and started looking for the types of stuff I was looking for (pottery, etc.); what they didn’t know is that my looking for stuff was just part of my malingering. So if the whole work team seems to be slacking off, we’ll know whose fault it is.
Today we trekked around the citadel trying to identify the structures excavated by the German team–of course, in the 100 years since that excavation, pits have filled in, stones have been moved, walls have degraded, and everything’s overgrown with grass & weeds. Later, with the help of some workers we started clearing some walls within the general area of the hilani (a specific type of building with a columned portico and large main room), trying to correlate the various depressions in the ground and random scattered stones with the German plan.
The Turkish workers are either very gallant or they think I’m quite weak. Anytime I start working on anything myself, one of them comes and takes over from me. It’s a nice way of supervising without dealing with the language problem, since if I want them to do something, I just start doing it myself and one of them takes over. Various villagers always show up to watch us no matter what we’re doing, and to try and chat with us. Unfortunately my very limited amount of Turkish doesn’t take us far conversationally.
Tomorrow we are going to sleep in and then visit Karatepe. Aaaaa…sleep in…

how to malinger in archaeology

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Everybody was tired out from the wedding today, even though we all got to bed earlier than usual. So much excitement. Also, I started actual work today: we are clearing the weeds & top couple centimeters of soil off of the south city gate, partially excavated by the German expedition 100 years ago. That’s hard work out in the sun! We had several workers from Fevzipasha, but we all pickaxed and shoveled and so forth too.
When I get tired during archaeology, these are the ways in which I malinger while trying to appear to be industrious:
1. I pick up tiny objects from the ground and peer at them interestedly. When I feel better, I toss them away with an air of superiority as if to say, “Clearly modern.”
2. I sit or kneel on the ground and carefully brush the dirt away from a portion of it. I peer at it interestedly, and trace imaginery lines on it as if I see something there. After I while, I give a resigned shrug and carry on pickaxing.
3. I go get a drink of water. I keep a very virtuous sort of expression on my face–got to stay hydrated after all.
4. I gaze off as if fascinated by the landscape, or by the shepherd moving the cows & sheep around, or something. I’m learning about Turkey!
5. I ask another archaeologist some learned sounding question: “Is this a destruction level?” “Does it look like this is part of the pavement?” etc.
It’s *extremely* windy here, and we have to keep the windows open, so as I type my hair and crumbs from my sandwich are flying about as if alive and out to get me.
p.s. pics of the Turkish wedding up on Flickr

Total(ly awesome) station

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Today, we finished burying the concrete markers we are using to mark points around the site for surveying purposes. While I was relaxing in the shade learning about the Total station later in the morning, a couple of other people poured concrete around them, and one or two of them have my name in the concrete, to permanently record my feat of standing in one place for hours of the other day.
There will be a quiz on the total station later, so be sure & read that whole article 🙂
We acquired an audience while we were working on the Total station, despite the incredible boringness of what we were doing, including a boy who was amongst the village kids attempting to chat with me the other day. He was watching the Total station training very closely (a little too closely!), so I’ll be sure and get him a copy of the quiz too.
This evening we are going to a wedding dinner of someone’s wedding from some village around here. Should be interesting! We are being encouraged to dance. After they see me dance, they will not encourage me to do it again, so might as well get it out of the way 🙂

“in five minutes, we learn about the stones”

Friday, August 25th, 2006

A couple of days ago I was lying in my room semi-napping when I heard the assistant director of the excavation come in and say “In five minutes, we learn about the stones. Tell everyone.” A few minutes later, one of the women staying in the other room came in and repeated to my roommates and I, “In five minutes, we learn about the stones.” I had no idea what this meant, but I dragged myself groggily from my bed and five minutes later went outside, where a truck was driving away and people were walking towards the building. It was too late, the stones had already gone.
I was completely unsure whether or not I had dreamed the whole sequence, but apparently it was real: were were to learn about the concrete markers were are going to use to more permanently mark the spaces were were marking with our bodies yesterday.
Today, I spent the morning watching other people dig holes. A good part of this I spent sitting on a chair in the shade in the village, where some very nice ladies gave me Turkish coffee, and children taught me some Turkish. “Sonliarda oturiyorum”: “I am sitting in the chair.” Hopefully I’ll get a picture of this on Flickr soon. The holes were for the concrete markers, the mysterious “stones” of the other day, and I did do about 15 minutes or so of work on that process.

First full day at the site

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Today was the first full day at the site of Zincirli, and as I noted on the pic on Flickr, my job was to stand in one place (two different, actually, for two different points) so we could check if it could be seen from two other points for the purposes of mapping the sites. I also built small piles of stones in each point! I am an archaeologist!
The people in the village of Zincirli were extremely nice and hospitable, and the children in particular where quite curious about what we were up to. One nice lady brought us some cold water and some type of food the name of which I forgot, but it was yummy.
We eat lunch at a restaurant in the town of Islahiye, and they wrap up our dinners that we heat back at home base–two apartments in the small town of Favzipasha. One thing I need to check into getting while here is a Turkish cookbook in English.
More later, hopefully!

Greetings from Turkey!

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

I’m in Turkey to work at the site of Zincirli. We awesomely have wireless internet, so I’ll try to post once in a while.
Yesterday we went to Gaziantep to get residency permits. There we met the Chief of Police and had tea, then we met the mayor of Favzipasha, the small town wher we are staying, and met the governor of the province of Gaziantep, where we got Coke instead of tea. We also visted the museum in Gaziantep and looked at mosaics from the Roman town of Zeugma, which were pretty awesome. Then we went to a restaurant higher up in the mountains and ate freshly caught fish, which was delicious.
Today we hiked around the site looking for the location of the city gates–the site was excavated in the late 1800s and we were looking for the areas of the former excavation.

it truly is summer

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

The time of year when only the only things I can think of are fluff like the following.
What does your favorite flavor of Life Savers say about you? And how can you use these associations to make impressions on others?


A Trixie Belden for every occasion: Birthdays

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Today is Andy’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Andy!
I will be spending my birthday next month in Turkey, for purposes of archaeology (and I’m afraid our cat Teti is just going to have to look to herself during this time, see post below). Thus, Andy has been asking me whether I want to celebrate my birthday before or after the Turkey trip, and I keep answering “both” but I guess he doesn’t think I’m serious because he just keeps asking me.
The question of birthdays and especially of ages in the Trixie Belden series is a difficult one, in that the characters age (or rather, don’t age) at different and quixotic rates. Hence, the best choice for Trixie Belden on Birthdays may be this fanfic. One oasis of sanity in this sea of nonlinear timelines can be found in the fact that the three girls, Honey, Di, and Trixie, all age from 13 to 14 during the series; and the birthdays of two (Di and Trixie) feature in two of the books.
Perhaps the best birthday-related Trixie is The Mystery of the Emeralds. It features one of the hallmarks of the Trixie series, the Improbable Gift, here in the shape of Di’s father taking the entire Bob-White crew down to some tiny town in the indeterminate South as a birthday gift for Di–because he just happens to be attending a conference near the tiny indeterminate town in which Trixie has unearthed a mystery.
The requisite Educational Digressions in this book feature the Underground Railroad and Williamsburg, Virginia. The book also features a birthday cake shaped like a hat.
Trixie’s one and only birthday in the entire series, which would, in our world, cover several years, takes place during the events of The Marshland Mystery. This book includes another Improbable Gift, the nature of which I cannot reveal since it forms part of the mystery–okay, there isn’t an actual mystery in this one, but it’s still fun to read. Educational bits about natural remedies found in marshland plants are brief and easily skipped.
Andy’s birthday cake is shaped like a cake, his birthday presents are not implausible in the least, and there will be no educational digressions during the day; but I hope he has a very Happy Birthday anyway.

“Better than Teti”

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

I have invented a new game, called “Better than Teti.” Teti is our cat. To play, I ask the other player (Andy, let’s say) which he likes better, Teti or some other entity, such as “toothbrushes” for example. He says “toothbrushes,” then I ask about something else, say “Grand Rapids, MI,” and he likes GR better than Teti but not as well as toothbrushes, and gradually I make up a list of his preferences.
Here is the outcome of yesterday’s game, listed in order of most to least preferred:
1. Used bookstores
2. Ice cream
3. French horns
4. Corn on the cob
5. Walking on the beach
6. 24
7. The moon
8. Office Depot
9. a Macintosh computer
10. Sand castles
11. Mountain Dew
12. San Diego
13. Eels
14. Lost
15. “Better than Teti”
16. the drawbridge in Grand Haven
17. Burger King
18. the Grand River
19. Sand in your shoes
20. the CRC
21. Teti
22. bananas
23. the Michigan left
24. $3.12 per gallon gas
25. Club Kordro (adjacent to the Best Western Park Plaza in Muskegon, MI)