Something that I’ve learned during my time in Turkey is that you should always be flexible and ready to adapt to any situation. It is clear that the culture here is different than in America, and not everything is always detailedly planned out. You have to roll with the punches and be ok not knowing if you will get dinner until a half hour before it’s normally time to eat, if you have to finish up work within the next half hour or if you get another hour and a half, or if it’s Friday and you don’t know if you’re going on a field trip early Saturday morning or if it will be pushed back to Sunday. It’s a freer way of living, and sometimes you just have to sit back, relax, and not worry about what is going to happen next.
Another thing that I’ve learned here is that there is a whole world of archaeology that I do not know, but I want to. There are already so many things I have learned since my first day on the site, and it’s amazing to think about how far I’ve come. The first few days I didn’t know the difference between the colors of soil, rock and pottery, and bone and stone. I am very far from mastering any of these, but I am so much farther along than where I started. I also don’t know the most about history, but that is another subject that I have developed a passion for on this trip. Working hands on in the dirt, digging up the past, is exactly how I want to learn history, and I plan on doing it again. It makes me want to go home and learn all about the past so that next time I will be even more aware of what I’m doing and seeing, and be able to get the absolute most out of the experience.
My most memorable experience while working on the dig site was finding an amphora in the pit I had been working in. It was so cool to find after all the hard work that we put into our unit. Carefully cleaning and removing the pottery was such a satisfying experience. It seemed like finding the amphora really connected me with the past and excited me in a new way. Pottery is something I definitely want to continue learning about.
My perspective certainly has changed while I’ve been here, but the main way is how much history is going to be a part of my life when I return home. My time here has definitely given me new things to think about when considering a career, because archaeology is something I don’t want to be a one time summer activity. Working here has reenforced some of the things I already knew I loved, like the study of religion, but it brought out a whole different side that I want to continue studying, making me want to possibly add an Ancient Studies major.
For people who will be coming to Turkey next summer, I have a few suggestions. Be ready for whatever, be flexible, and try new things. Try lots of different food, because almost all of it is delicious. Go to many different restaurants, meet new people, and don’t be afraid to pull out your phone and use google translate to have a conversation with someone. I think it’s best to come into this trip with an open mind, don’t try to plan for every situation because that’s impossible. You will be fine and you can get pretty much everything you need here (and more), so you don’t need to stress about packing too much. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty, it’s just gonna happen. There is plenty of time to be clean during the rest of the year. While you’re in Turkey, be in Turkey and take it all in. It’s an amazing experience that I highly encourage anyone who is wondering about it to give it a try.