British Ambassador visits Ziyaret Tepe excavations.

As you all know, Ziyaret Tepe is pretty well off the beaten path and it is a rare treat to have visitors to the site. As such, it was a real honor – or should we say, honour – for the team to greet the British Ambassador to Turkey, His Excellency Sir David Reddaway, who came a few days ago for a short stay to meet our team and tour Ziyaret Tepe and some other local places of historical interest. The reason for Sir David’s visit was not entirely archaeological, however. His son, Milo, has been working with us for the past three weeks and Sir David came to see Milo in action.

Me and Sir David on the top of the mound discussing the expansion of the Assyrian empire and founding of Tushhan.

Me and Sir David on the top of the mound discussing the expansion of the Assyrian empire and founding of Tushhan.

John explains the work in Operation W to Sir David. Milo is to the left.

John explains the work in Operation W to Sir David. Milo is to the left.

Milo is just entering the final year at King’s School Canterbury, an institution which was founded in 597 – contemporary with our own late Roman layers! He has a keen interest in archaeology and, we are delighted to say, this now includes the Assyrians. In addition to a great exposure to how archaeologists work in the field, the experience has also allowed Milo to complete the final requirement for his gold level Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Milo Reddaway excavating a deposit in Operation W in the lower town.

Milo Reddaway excavating a deposit in Operation W in the lower town.

Milo has worked most closely with John, but we also made sure that he got experience doing geophysical survey, working in the laboratories, in the sherdyard, and observing the specialists. Many archaeological field methods, as I often tell my undergraduate students back at the University of Akron, can only be learned hands-on at the excavation. Here Milo is getting some practice digging mudbrick, which involves experiencing the feel of the material and learning how the soil breaks apart from intact mudbrick under a small pick. The only place to become an expert excavator is in the bottom of a trench.

About 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.
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