By Janelle Sadarananda, with Naomi F. Miller and Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann
This post is part of a series reporting on the Gordion Cultural Heritage Education Project, conceptualized and led by Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Deputy 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.
Hello again from the educators and participants of the Gordion Project’s Cultural Heritage Education Program! If you’re just joining us on our adventure (macera in Turkish, an important word for our group), the goal of the program is to expose local high school students to the history and archaeology of central Turkey through hands-on activities and field trips. You can read a more detailed introduction to the program in our first post. Through this program, we hope that students will not only take ownership of their local cultural heritage, but also grow as global citizens as they see how Turkey’s archaeology, history, and landscape connect to the wider world.
Two of our fieldtrips in July allowed us to combine the study of archaeology with modern cultural experiences, and to discover more of central Turkey’s beautiful landscapes. We took one trip to Juliopolis, a Roman site that has hundreds of excavated tombs full of interesting artifacts, and had several other adventures along the way. On another day, we traveled to Kaman-Kalehöyük, a site occupied in the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and the Ottoman period, excavated by a Japanese team. Exposure to new places, new people, and new information on these trips is encouraging the students to appreciate their cultural heritage and to broaden their horizons.
Welcome to Juliopolis! The students saw artifacts from the site earlier this summer in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The damming of the Sakarya River inundated most of the site, though the necropolis remains above the water line.
After a brief refresher on the site by Halil Demirdelen (Vice Director of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and often our tour guide on fieldtrips), the students trekked through the necropolis to find a tomb, read its informational plaque, and report their findings to the group.
Seeing the actual remains of burials at the site helped the students make connections between Juliopolis and what they had learned on previous trips to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and on our tour of Roman Ankara.
After our time at Juliopolis, the day was far from over – as Naomi says, “Macera devam ediyor!” (The adventure continues!) We combined archaeology and ancient history with a 21st-century surprise: Halil Bey had arranged with the Belediye (local government) for a boat ride on the Sakarya.
The students were thrilled – one said that this was the first time she had ever been on a boat. The generosity of the Belediye also illustrated how our cultural heritage education program is gaining enthusiastic support from people in neighboring towns. There is a sense that young people should have the opportunity to learn about their region’s history and landscape firsthand.
Ayşe remarked on the bittersweet nature of the boat ride – the water and scenery were beautiful, but we were sailing over the submerged houses and marketplaces of ancient Juliopolis.
After the boat ride, we continued appreciating nature and considering the benefits and losses associated with the damming of the Sakarya when we stopped at Nallihan Bird Sanctuary. This wildlife park offers a home to a variety of birds, including several species of herons, gulls, and ducks. It is thanks to the damming of the river that this ideal bird habitat formed.
We got a close-up view of some baby herons!
The day ended with tea, free time, and shopping in Beypazarı, a charming town with a reconstructed Ottoman center. The students enjoyed the freedom to wander and browse.
Beypazarı is known for its delicious carrot juice!
Though the day began with archaeology at Juliopolis, the trip encapsulated the multidimensional nature of the cultural heritage program – the students spent time taking in the natural landscape, considering how development projects affect both archaeology and nature, and doing some of their own exploring. We hope that combining all of these elements allows the teenagers to grow as people and to form their own opinions. The excited chatter and laughter on the bus ride back home signaled that this day of adventure had been a success!
Our next adventure took us to Kaman-Kalehöyük. Joining our usual group were three Turkish university students from the Gordion project, and we encountered more new friends at Kaman Kalehöyük – an international team of researchers headed by Japanese archaeologists.
Our group at Kaman-Kalehöyük. On the left is Dr. Kimiyoshi Matsumura of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology/The Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan. Along with three Turkish university students, Gordion’s house manager, Zekeriya, was also a new addition to our group for this trip.
As Dr. Matsumura explained the Japanese researchers’ discoveries over 30 years of excavation, our students took in another perspective of the importance and value of Turkey’s archaeological sites.
In the labs at the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, students learned about research in human osteology, conservation, archaeobotany, and zooarchaeology from the researchers themselves. In fact, the zooarchaeologist had set out a few bags of astragali (“knucklebones”).
One of the most special things about Kaman-Kalehöyük is the Japanese garden on the grounds of the Institute. A piece of Japan in Turkey!
During our time at Kaman-Kalehöyük, the students were able to connect their previous fieldtrips and activities with what they were learning from Matsumaru-san. In the research labs and at the museum, the students also reflected on their hands-on experiences at Gordion in light of what the Kaman researchers were working on. They recognized the knucklebones in the zooarchaeology lab from Janine’s talk at Gordion, and they were blasé about the potsherds that visitors are allowed to touch in the Kaman museum – after all, they had excavated sherds themselves last week!
During the trips to Juliopolis and Kaman Kalehöyük, the students not only expanded their knowledge of Turkey’s history and landscapes, they also began to make connections and synthesize information. Furthermore, as a group, they began to develop a sense of camaraderie. Not even a flat tire on the way home from Kaman could dampen their spirits!
Supplement: Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion