On a normal workday we start with our work in the field at 7:00 am. Therefore, we have breakfast at around 6:15 and proceed to pack all the things needed for the workday in the field. At around 6:45 we leave for the site. The Turkish workmen arrive at the same time. This year we have 12 workers coming from the village of Dülük or the city of Gaziantep. Usually they are students, from different areas, who do the excavation work as a second job to earn some money.
The Turkish workman usually structure themselves into teams of three. One person is working with the pickaxe, while the other two are shovelling the soil into a wheelbarrow and looking through it for finds such as ceramics etc. They are also not working parallel, as the trenches can be really confined space-wise. Therefore, while the guy with the pickaxe is working, the other two will sit in the shade of a tree and vice versa. Interestingly this concept of work distribution remains the same since the early days of archaeological excavations. Already in the 19th century, other archaeologists report on this concept in their diaries and field manuscripts.
The workday in the field is broken up by our breaks. We have two tea breaks, the infamous “çay mola”, as well as a longer lunch break. The tea breaks are 15 minutes each at 9:45 and 14:45. The food for the lunch break gets delivered directly to the field, so that we don’t loose time due to travelling back to the house etc. The lunch break is scheduled from 12:00-12:45, however the timing also depends on the arrival of our food, which can sometimes lead to a later start of the break.
The soil that has been removed by the workmen will then be directly loaded onto a waiting tractor with a trailer. Once the trailer is full the driver will bring the soil to a designated location and return to the site. Another part of the Excavation team is our Bekçi Ömer, who will support the excavation wherever possible. He is also in charge of the tea brewing process and the food distribution during lunch break. Furthermore, whenever we need a crane or something similar, he will direct the process. He also helped building a fence around the site and built a toilet over the winter period. All in all he helps where he can and tries to make the processes during the campaign as seamless as possible.
The workday is scheduled to last until 16:00 pm. Usually the workers will then clean up their tools and store them in our material container. For the excavation team the work will then continue for another 30 minutes or so, as we have to sort the finds and documentation. This has to be done in the field, so that a flawless exchange with the find processing team can be guaranteed for. Then we will return to the house with all the ceramic and special finds, to hand them over to the find processing team and make preparations for the next day.
by Fynn Riepe