By Naomi F. Miller, Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, and Janelle Sadarananda
This post is part of a series reporting on the Gordion Cultural Heritage Education Project, conceptualized and led by Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Assistant Director of the Gordion Project. Halil Demirdelen, Deputy Director of the Ankara museum, provided invaluable educational support. Naomi F. Miller, consulting scholar at the Penn Museum, and Janelle Sadarananda, graduate student in AAMW, provided additional adult supervision in 2015.
Turkish non-archaeologists sometimes wonder why we come all the way from America to live in a village for a couple of months, away from our families and the comforts of home, just to dig holes in the ground. Participation in a dig is an excellent way for people to answer that question for themselves. For the high school students in this year’s Cultural Heritage Education Project at Gordion, the opportunity came on July 8.
Ayşe arranged with Sarah Leppard, the supervisor of Area 1, to host the kids. Sarah is digging the monumental Middle Phrygian wall (ca. 800 BC).
The girls enjoyed sweeping up the dirt around the stone blocks that are bigger than they are; they commented that they already had excellent sweeping skills. The boys fit right in with the men who were clearing off the surface. Lest anyone think we are unaware of the gender implications, rest assured. Yet, a good time was had by all!
Having done some excavation, it was time to do some lab work. Janine van Noorden, our zooarchaeologist, had the students put together the comparative sheep/goat skeleton as an introduction to her concerns: the relationships between people and animals.
Janine asks, “What do the teeth tell you about the animal’s diet: dog, pig, or cow?”
Many cultures around the world play with the heel bone (astragalus; aşık in Turkish), and Ayşe told us about the Turkish game. A highlight was Ege’s observation that if most of the animal’s weight is carried by the functional equivalent of toes, it’s sort-of like high heels.
Photo credits: all photos and movies by Naomi F. Miller
Supplement: Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion