You may have gotten the impression that at Ziyaret Tepe, it’s all work and no play. Well, we do work very hard. We start work just after sunrise, and work throughout the morning with a brief breakfast break. There is a siesta after lunch for a few hours, before returning to work at 4:30 after tea until the official end of the workday at 7pm. That’s a ten working hours at a minimum each day. We work six days a week, so our average work week is 60 hours. Some of us add considerably to that total by working through the siesta, in the late evenings, and on Fridays.
We do, however, enjoy some time to relax. At 7pm each evening, we gather before dinner for our official “happy hour” to enjoy a cold beer, some fresh hazelnuts, almonds, and other treats for which Turkey is famous, and to wind down from the days’ work and savor a brief respite from the heat.
After dinner, most of the team will spend some time sitting beneath our party lights (seen in the photograph above) in front of one of the houses, lounging in the hammock, chatting and rehashing the day’s events. An occassional backgammon, okey, chess or poker game has been known to break out in the somewhat cooler evening hours, but since the alarm rings at 4 or 4:30am, it’s typically early to bed.
On Fridays, we sometimes visit other sites for a brief tour and some time away from Tepe. A few weeks ago, we piled in the van for a trip to the spectacular medieval city of Hasankeyf carved out of cliffs on the Tigris just over 50km downstream from Ziyaret Tepe. We were treated to a presentation of some of the medieval pottery by the excavation team at the Hasankeyf dighouse, took a hike up the cliffs into the ruins of the 13th to 15th century city, and then cooled off at a fish restaurant overhanging the Tigris for lunch.
Last night, as a farewell party for Chelsea who left on the 4am flight this morning, we broke out a stash of marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers after dinner, started up a bonfire, and made s’mores. For some of our European colleagues this was their first introduction to this most American of treats! We are grateful to an anonymous friend who donated the supplies from an American military base as marshmallows and graham crackers are not (yet) a staple in Diyarbakir.
The alarm clocks still rang at 4am, but Chelsea was already on her way home. Safe travels!