by Janelle Sadarananda, Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, and Naomi F. Miller
This is the last post in a series reporting on the Gordion Cultural Heritage Education Project, 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.
After a summer of field trips, hands-on activities, bus rides, and learning, the 2015 session of Gordion’s Cultural Heritage Education Program has come to an end. We (Ayse, Naomi, and Janelle) are back in Philadelphia, and the students are enjoying their final weeks of summer in Turkey. But we didn’t go our separate ways without saying a proper goodbye!
We have spent the summer helping our students understand and appreciate Turkey’s cultural heritage, especially the amazing archaeological sites and natural landscapes in their own backyard. In addition, we have encouraged the students to grow as people, to broaden their horizons, to formulate their own thoughts and opinions, and to continue developing their sense of place within the wider world. Our final CHEP event aimed to highlight all of what our group had learned and accomplished this summer.
We asked the students to prepare and present a few paragraphs about something important they had learned from our activities this summer. One student commented, “I learned that the earth I step on is not just earth. It embraces many civilizations, connecting humankind.”
Halil Demirdelen (Vice Director at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations) and Ayse reinforced the important takeaway points of the summer after the students presented their thoughts.
As we finished our small group discussion, the students’ parents and families began arriving at the Gordion Museum for the next part of the day. We wanted to share our experiences with the students’ families, and the families wanted to show their appreciation for our work this summer by treating us to delicious baked goods and tea.
It was wonderful to meet the students’ parents and siblings, and fun to watch the family dynamics. We felt a great sense of community as we drank tea, ate cookies, and chatted.
Then it was time for the ceremony! Dr. Brian Rose (Director of the Gordion Project and Curator-in-Charge of the Penn Museum’s Mediterranean Section) added his signature to Halil’s and Ayse’s on the diplomas.
We recognized the students for their hard work and eager participation.
Finally, Ayse presented a PowerPoint of images from our trips and activities this summer, so the students’ families could see exactly what we’ve been up to. The students also had a chance to reminisce about all of our adventures.
Our wrap-up for CHEP left all of us – the Gordion team members, the students’ families, and the students themselves – feeling proud of what the students had learned and experienced over the past several weeks. We felt a great sense of community and connection between the Gordion Project and the locals, as well. A successful and rewarding summer for everyone!
Supplement: Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion