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We did it!

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As anyone who has been on an archaeological excavation knows, the last week is always a crazy time. The last of the finds came in from the field as John completed his digging in Operation U, where a small part of a large Late Assyrian public building was unearthed beneath the Roman buildings I mentioned in an earlier post. While these artifacts were being registered, photographed, drawn, and, in a few cases, conserved, the rest of the crew was busy with the final documentation of their work. Workdays were a blur of photocopying, checking drawings, backing up computer files, preparing lists of samples for export, and the finds that are going to the Diyarbakir Museum, writing reports, and all the other things that make archaeology a science.

Then we shifted gears and started to break down the camp. Everything we own in the field – from iron bed frames to our modest stove to the tents we erect each summer to shade our work areas – has to be packed up into a single depot. It is hot, dusty, uninteresting work, but necessary if we are to have a successful start to the 2012 season. This year, the bulk of this work fell to the few remaining team members, especially Azer, Dirk, and Judith. So while I was off in Diyarbakir, Bismil, and Tepe paying wages, social security, and the rest of our bills, this select team was taking seemingly endless rides with a tractor and a few workmen and carefully fitting all of the dig house equipment and supplies into our concrete depot at the edge of town. The camp has 36 rooms, including our laboratories, and sleeps almost thirty people, so you can imagine how much stuff we have.

Azer loading equipment in the depot on our last day in Tepe

So, this is the final post from the field. The six remaining team members – our depot crew, Paola, Mehmet and me – are now sitting by a swimming pool at a hotel in Diyarbakir, enjoying a well earned cold beer. Our dusty little village seems worlds away and our thoughts are turning towards travel home and returning to our other commitments. As we drove away, I saw our workmen in the village buying vegetables, drinking tea at the tea houses, walking with their families, and I was struck by how much we are visitors to Tepe, even if we are persistent ones. It certainly has been an interesting summer.

By matney

Dr. Matney is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Akron. He is the Director of the Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Expedition.

One reply on “We did it!”

lucky you, we still have another 2 weeks to go…. great blog, congratulations, Patricia passed by and told me about it. it was nice to see many old friends from the Tigris times. it feels as decades ago.
all the best for from Hattusha

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