Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion

DSCN4197Ayşe 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.

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  • Kate Moore

    Wonderful footage and commentary. I’ll definitely be using this in the classroom. I do note that the titles of the first and the last clips seem to be reversed.