Another day in the office? - Ever wondered what we’re doing on such an #excavation day out there in the field?

Here‘s a "Tale from a Tell", some little thread from the #archaeologist‘s field #journal and #sketchbook: Image
"4.30 o'clock. Ante meridiem. It's still dark outside, the dim light barely enough to distinguish a black thread from a white one: The muezzin just called the faithful to prayer and, probably unintentionally, the archaeologists to finally get up as well." Image
"Breakfast at such an early hour basically consists of not more than some strong tea, a slice of soft white flatbread (which will be rather dry within the hour), and a handful of olives ..." Image
"... taken in the quiet and still fresh morning air of the excavation house's courtyard in the light of setting stars and a single light bulb. Actually, it's too early for an honest breakfast too." Image
"On leaving the historic oriental brick-house in the old part of this eastern Anatolian town, everyone grabs a piece of equipment or provisions for the day to come and one after another heads through the narrow alleys towards the waiting mini bus and driver." Image
"As we arrive on this early Neolithic site, somewhere up in the mountains of southeastern Turkey, a pale moon is still hanging around a sky only slowly changing from black to blue." Image
"Groups of workmen arrived minutes before from a village down the hill. Dressed in coats and cardigans against the morning coolth, they're waiting for day's work to start while the bunch of students and scientists are collecting tools and instruments, equipment and journals." Image
"Gangs finding together following a long-established system: There's two diggers, one who shovels, and two basket-carriers. Always." Image
"Soon the air is filled with the sound of pickaxes and of chanting and laughing workmen. Soil is shifted, rocks are moved." Image
"Basket after basket of debris is brought out of the trenches. As the dust of history is slowly removed, the ancient remains are rising gradually: Boulders, slabs, and walls pulled back into present-daylight." Image
"And so business is going on. And on. The dusty work only interrupted by a short breakfast. Children from the nearby village are coming around, bringing their fathers and uncles and brothers food and some more water." Image
"Everyone's hungry  (and more lively ) by now, so this breakfast is a much more substantial and communicative matter than the sparse and mute one in the very morning." Image
"Over yet another tea (there's always tea, get used to it), over some cheese and flatbread, over tomatoes and cucumbers and olives, conversations are drifting around the table for half an hour of otiosity." Image
"Half an hour of lethargic rest in the shadows; the sun - not shy at all anymore - now showing its true nature, relentlessly burning down from a shimmering sky." Image
"Back in the dust soon the clanking of picks loosening dirt and rubble can be heard again. A group of visitors, marvelling at the site's sight, takes the chance to curiously quiz the archaeologists before returning to their air-conditioned busses." Image
"Workmen continue to dig; students are busily taking notes, picking out pieces of charcoal and fragments of flint tools and stone vessels from the excavated soil, collecting them in buckets and plastic bags - each labelled with date and information on their exact find spot." Image
"Dirt is sifted dry and wet (a rather dusty respectively muddy business); a steady flow of find material is coming towards provisional lab and office facilities in the excavation's 'headquarters' of construction containers and tents upon the next hill crest ..." Image
"After eight hours of digging, just when midday's heat is reaching its peak, everyone is happy to call it a (field) day. Bidding good bye, the crew of workmen is boarding tractors & trailers, leaving for that small village down the hill - dragging behind a dustcloud all the way." Image
"As the bus is slowly crawling down the dirt track everyone's trying to find a comfortable position, finally taking another short rest - legs stretched, the dusty hat pulled down over the eyes." Image
"Back in town, as we leave the car and head through heated-up narrow old-town alleys towards the excavation house, buckets and pieces of equipment in hand ..." Image
"The muezzin is calling the faithful to prayer again. Well, for the archaeologists it's lunchtime for now; the cook is already waiting." Image
"Of course the meal is not finished without the mandatory tea (you get the idea), so showers still have to wait for yet another 10 minutes or so. There's got to be time for that." Image
"But even now work isn't done for the day. The buckets brought back from site are emptied, the finds carefully cleaned and washed, sorted, and spread onto coarse screens to let them dry in the sun." Image
Thank you for coming to my illustrated TED talk. 😎😉

Enjoyed this little glimpse into my #IllustratedDiary of a #DayInTheField?

Find the whole story, "A-Digging on a Tell", over there on 👉@Medium.…

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More from @jens2go

1 Jan
Thanks to @kimbiddulph it’s #Archaeology31 time again! - Starting with prompt number one: #new.

Which in this case is: New year, new journal. Empty pages waiting to be filled with thoughts, notes, sketches ... opportunities. Image
#Archaeology31 day 2, #future, offers a great chance to highlight a topic I found particularly interesting as of late:

How will an #ArchaeologyOfTheFuture look like - What do *we* leave behind for future colleagues?

(Weekend reading recommendations included. 😉) Image
Starting with the question what actually constitutes #CulturalHeritage, #sites, and #monuments of our age ...

(#Archaeology31, 2. #future)
Read 42 tweets
10 Aug 20
"Indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, i.a., their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources ..."

"Declaration on the Rights of #Indigenous Peoples" (#UNDRIP, 2007)… #IndigenousPeoplesDay
Article 1:

"Indigenous peoples have the right to full enjoyment (...) of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law."…
Article 2:

"Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity."…
Read 80 tweets
26 Apr 20
@PlutoPittbull Site chronology at Göbekli Tepe is not based on, but backed by 14C dates.

There are many other dating methods to set up a chronological frame in archaeology.
@PlutoPittbull Archaeological dating by stone tool typology compared to other known sites: Late PPN A-PPN B.

Cf. e.g. Kozlowski & Gebel (eds.) 1996:
@PlutoPittbull Comparing other material culture (stone vessels, more stone objects like e.g. shaft straighteners and plaquettes etc.) and typical iconography in the region: PPN.

Dietrich et al. 2012 (with further literature):…
Read 8 tweets
18 Apr 20
Since we're all still here ... how about a little tour through the #Neolithic exhibition of Urfa's new archaeological museum?

Well, at least the part I'm somehow familiar with ... which means the Pre-Pottery Neolithic #GobekliTepe finds on display there.
Before we start with the tour, let's just have a look at this sculpture right over here: It's so-called #UrfaMan (from Yeni Mahalle / Yeni Yol) - one of the oldest examples of a life-sized human statue, dating back to the Pre-Pottery #Neolithic as well.…
Starting with what still can be considered the only clear #female depiction at #GobekliTepe (which otherwise seems strongly dominated by a rather masculine iconography):

The (later?) carving of a woman on a stone slab found in one of the younger rectangular buildings there.
Read 16 tweets
27 Feb 20
But ... what about those '#handbags' these Neo-Assyrian eagle-headed temple-protectors are carrying around all the time? 🤔

Despite what popular TV shows want to make you believe, we actually do have an idea about these things - thanks to actual written historic sources ... Image
This handbag .... it's a bucket!

Those eagle-guys are actually carrying around a bucket (Akkadian: "#banddudû") and, in the other hand, a purifier ("#mullilu"), pine or cone, to carry out specific rituals - we actually also know from historic texts.
"The #cone appears only when the figure in question carries a #bucket (...) The value of the cone must in some way be dependent on the value of the bucket."

(F. A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts, Groningen, 1992, p. 67.)
Read 8 tweets
8 Mar 19
#GobekliTepe‘s monumental T-pillars are actually giant #anthropomorphic sculptures. Got to admit that in the beginning of my work there, more than 12 yrs ago, I found it quite ... challenging to recognize this likeness. Until we finally excavated the 'hands & loincloth' part ...
Of course #NevaliCori‘s pillars were already known for some time, complete with hands and stola-like garments. But their abstracted and stylised appearance (still impressively expressionistic to me, by the way) made it a bit of a challenge to easily accept their human shape.
Why am I telling all this? Because there is another find which early on helped me better seeing and understanding this human likeness. I am, of course, talking about the so-called #Kilisik-sculpture found near #Adiyaman in Turkey in the 1960s.
Read 17 tweets

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