Before I begin, please excuse my interjections of comments and enjoy. 

Being here at the archeological internship, I have been immensely overloaded with so much information and amazement. As part of the Antiochia ad Cragum archaeologists, we are helping to create the basis for information that is currently being discovered. From a marble column piece, bones, pottery, to the smallest of finds, each are essential although it may feel like otherwise, especially with the small (pottery) pieces. Throughout the whole process you need patience, like a ton of patience. Once you find a deepish looking hole in the ground or something peeping out from beneath—to clarify it has to be something interesting that strays away from an insect or ugly creature that may not harm but definitely kills you on the inside—it is hard to stop yourself from wanting to dig a mini pit (or hell hole as we liked to call some of the holes we created this year). However, there is always a great time for everything. If you find something big like a large intact pottery piece surrounded by other pieces, that is the perfect time to dig down and investigate the location of other pieces, to gain a bigger picture and create a trench. Some other things I have learned is bellowing mostly for insect related reasons, having large stepping and sitting rocks sticking out from the walls in your pit are the best, and that Rahmi is the coolest. 

I have to say, comparing day 1 to the last few days on site and seeing how much we all have done is the most memorable experience while working on this project. While it began slow, the end felt as if its been only a short time. Of course, it is not only the work done but being able to hangout with everyone during the time in between. Going to the beach, the sulfur spring, Konrad’s, field trips, getting snacks (frozen yogurt, Powerade, ice cream, water, and stuff for the next morning) and the after dinner chill time on the stairs—not just for the great WiFi I promise you that.

Okay, this is something completely off topic but sometimes you hear the weirdest of things in the weirdest of places. For example a rendition of baby shark while at the Hamam. That was an experience.

Now, back to my post. 

I have no clue what I want to do with my life/career goals, but working in Turkey as an archaeologist has interested me in the process of figuring things out as you go, learn by doing, and not worrying about being wrong. Archaeology has definitely been added to my list of interests: art, computer science, and now archaeology and possibly anthropology too. My perspective has evolved into a more comprehensive understanding of the amount of time and effort it takes to be the first one to discover primary historical materials.

As this being my second trip abroad with St. Olaf—the first being Asian Con(versation) which if you want to know was amazing—my student abroad perspective continues to evolve and lean towards two words being, TRY IT. Integrating yourself in a different culture and environment when you learn is way more experiential and informative compared to being on campus. It is an opportunity to apply and contemplate what you have studied on campus to the real world. Additionally, it is an opportunity to discover even more interests. There you will piece together and rearrange as you see fit, contributing to your growth as a student and as a person. Do not get me wrong, campus is amazing too; however when the travel bug is caught, it is caught (even though there may be are limitations to if you could go, hopefully that is not always the case).

If you do so desire to join this experience or are a participant, here is my advice to you—do as you please with it.

  1. What to pack? Pack a belt, I forgot that, could have used one but I survived. Honestly, if you follow the recommendation list online you will be fine! And you can always get supplies, clothes, and other necessities at Sali Pazzari or other stores nearby. Packing items that you will throw away afterwards is also nice since that leaves you with space for gifts *wink wink*. (Beware suitcase will fill up fast if you are not careful) Oh, having a noodle (get it there) is very nice too!
  2. What to study beforehand? Learn some Turkish. It will make communicating a little easier. There are also the readings you do before and on the trip, you do not need to study them but they are interesting to take a look at. Besides that I do not think you need to worry that much about studying, just bring yourself, perspective, and open mind.
  3. What to expect? Be ready to learn! Be open to anything that may happen like a google translate conversation and get to know the Turkish professors, students, and others working on the site. Also talk to the people in the places you visit, they are very nice! Be ready for the beautiful views and places to go as well as opportunities to do what you are interested in. You are practically living in your dig clothes and boots, meaning you are going to smell and always feels some sort of dirtiness. Do not fret! Everyone is in the same boat. And hey, you are going to be fit after this is over! Also, expect Friday nights at Konrad’s (the Green Oasis Cafe), great food places around town, and walking. All of your work is essential! Lastly, the most repetitive phrase you hear wherever you go, be ready to “have fun!”
  4. Where to go?There is so many places! There is the Gazipaşa beach with a restaurant across from it, night market on Sundays (maybe other days but a group of us went on Sunday and they had it); Bidi Bidi Beach aka the banana beach with Fatih’s restaurant and a great sunset view; Migros Jet and the froyo beside it; Ozturk; clothing market on Mondays behind the fruit market; LC Waikiki; Sali Pazzari; pidé place; ENGI and oh so many more. Once work is done and before your flight, definitely go to try the Hamam! You will feel clean and your skin will be amazing! I would recommend the hamam and medical massage, that is what I did.
  5. Foods? Ozturk has amazing curry chicken! Dondurma which is ice creeeeam!!! ( the froyo place next to migros or there is a place on the left side of the mosque). There is fajitas, saç, some amazing chicken sandwich I got at the Highland games, various jams, …. sorry, I’m a little hungry. My advice to you is try everything you are able to have. I can not really tell you what you will like, you will have to see for yourself. Definitely at least try it before you dislike it. 

Wow, that was a lot. Hopefully it was helpful and interesting. If I can next year, I hope to see you there! Now, it is time for goodbyes as I am off to the cooler weather.