4.500 kilometers to Doliche

The excavation campaign 2021 has started! Most of the team members arrived here by plane, but a group of 4 of us took the car and drove all the way from Münster (Germany) to Doliche (modern Dülük near Gaziantep) in the Southeast of Turkey. Apart from bringing the VW Transporter to Dülük, the reason for this road trip, is the transportation of bulky equipment that can’t be easily transported on a plane. This year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the journey through Europe was of course an extra challenge.  

Before we started our trip, we had to register online for every country that we planned to travel through, so that in case of a Covid-19 emergency, authorities would be able to find and contact us. On top of that, we had to be very cautious when staying at hotels and stopping at service areas, always using face masks and hand sanitizer.

On Thursday 27.07.2021 the big day came. Our journey started at 3 o’clock in the morning and while taking turns behind the driving wheel and trying to avoid traffic jams, we passed Kassel, Nürnberg and Munich and finally drove through the stunning Alps. In the evening, we arrived at the hotel near Bologna, at which we had booked rooms in advance.

After a delicious breakfast in the morning, we continued our journey along the beautiful Adriatic coast towards Bari. Here we drove onboard a ferry that comfortably brought us to Greece that night. We slept in a nice cabin with a large window, through which we enjoyed great views of the calm sea. Early in the morning, we arrived at the port of Igoumenitsa and resumed our road trip, passing through the mountainous north of Greece towards the Turkish border.

The crossing of the boarder didn’t take too long, as only a few other cars waited in line with us. We spend the first night in Turkey at a hotel in Tekirdağ and left the next morning for the final stage of our road trip. We crossed the Bosporus via the Yavuz-Sulta-Selim Bridge north of Istanbul and continued towards Ankara. Between Ankara and Adana, we made a short stop at the Tuz Gölü in Cappadocia, a salt lake close to Aksaray. Here you can walk on a salty crust, that remains, after the sun dries parts of the lake during the summer. Our journey then took us past the impressive Mount Hasan, a dormant volcano that towers above the surrounding plains of the Anatolian highlands. After that the road led us through the Central Taurus, a mountain complex with very high peaks reaching up to about 4000 m.

Aiming for Adana and Gaziantep, we descended the Taurus, unfortunately at night, so that we didn’t get to enjoy the great views. Even at the late hours, the traffic between Adana and Gaziantep was dense, but around 12 pm on a Friday, after 4 days of driving, we arrived at the excavation house in Dülük in good health and even better spirits. It almost felt like coming home.

by Sophie Strauß, Miriam Hanitzsch and Julia Arnkens

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