I am so happy to have come here. So many interesting experiences and ideas that I cannot really recount them all. However, there are many things I have learned. I will speak of two for the sake of time and ease of reading. First, academically, I learned what I would call “reasonable speculation;” that is, to speculate without stepping outside the bounds of reality and logic. This helped with discovering many features within the room Luke and I were excavating, as well as in the reservoir. On a more practical level, I learned how to properly use almost every tool on site, and how much easier it is to get at weeds than I thought. I would always complain when I had to pull weeds back home, even though I never really did it that much, but after being in Turkey, I am much less annoyed by plants that are not actively trying to kill me.
As for experiences, I really enjoyed truly discovering that the area Luke and I were excavating was a room. It sounds like something trivial, but when we found the threshold that locks from the inside, it proved it couldn’t be a plaza like some thought. That dispelled a LOT of speculation about the origins of the area, not to mention leading to more interesting thinking about the structure of the tower, where it appears, at least for now, that it was all one structure or complex.
This really has changed my path at a decent level. I came here to see if I wanted to pursue this as essentially “applied history,” and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. There were certainly some annoyances and some moments where I wasn’t exactly happy, but it still stands that this was arguably one of the overall happiest months of my life.
As for the advice I would give to next year’s crew and however many crews are yet to come. 1) BRING INSECT REPELLENT. You will be bothered by just about every bug in the universe out here, especially the ones that will hurt you. 2) READ WHAT YOU’RE ASSIGNED BEFORE COMING. It will help you immensely in understanding the ongoing conversations more thoroughly. 3) ALL PLANTS ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU. Only because they have to survive the goats though. So, for the first few days, bring long pants and long-sleeved shirts. 4) GO ON AS MANY OF THE TRIPS AS YOU CAN. These are valuable experiences, and most of them are actually quite pleasant. Just make sure you sit with people you like so the drives don’t get uncomfortable. 5) TRY ADANA KEBAP. That stuff is glorious. Arguably one of my favorite foods now, without question.
In brief, I was so glad to come here, and am thankful to Tim for recommending this to me. This will probably be a memory I look back on fondly for many years to come. Thanks all.