Ayşe knows everyone in the Yassıhöyük, and one of her friends is Metin the shepherd. Last year, he sold all his sheep and replaced them with a herd of (mostly) angora goats—the kind of goat that produces mohair—which I guess makes him a goat herder. We went out to the corral to watch him prepare the herd for going out to graze.
First, he had to check their eyes; the awns of a nasty grass, ‘wall barley’ (Hordeum murinum) can cause infections, so you can see him giving them eye medication. To catch them, he uses a crook of his own design that doesn’t hurt the animals. The kids take full advantage when their mothers are immobilized! (So, what else is new?).
A few of the goats get belled. That really seems to be a two-person job!
After all the animals have been checked out, Metin, his assistant, Cuma, a donkey and a dog head out to pasture.
Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann is the Assistant Director of the Gordion project, and an ethnoarchaeologist based in the Penn Museum; Naomi F. Miller is an archaeobotanist in the Near East Section. The big mound you might notice in the background is Tumulus MM, Gordion.
Supplement: Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion