First time in Doliche and on an excavation

This year was my first time in Gaziantep/Doliche and the excavation was a harder challenge for me than I anticipated. I left Germany during 17 degrees weather and found myself around 40 Celsius degrees in Gaziantep. Even after four weeks of my stay in Turkey, I couldn’t get used to this heat. So, the challenge was keeping up the motivation despite the heat, some would say I failed at this.

The first day after my arrival we already started excavating, and it was the „first“ day in the field officially. In that week I learned a lot of things about excavations like documentation, trenches and how to find manage my way through stratigraphy and layers. The last part is still difficult, but it definitely gets better with time. During my time on the church field, I worked on two different trenches and excavated them. In retrospective, I can say, excavating a trench and cleaning layers can be annoying, but the results were even more satisfying.

In the remaining weeks I was still learning lots of new things like taking hight measurements or helping with the SFM (structure from motion). Even though I was mostly running around to help georeference the model. At some point I was also asked to do some sketches of the different trenches, but that wasn’t as successful as we wanted. I am a bit bad at drawing. The most surprising phenomenon was maybe three days of some rain and clouded weather. The last time Gaziantep saw rain was about 4-5 months ago. Working in the field during that time was way easier because it wasn’t as hot. During that time we excavated some small finds. The joy of the Turkish workers finding something was always fun to watch.

Reaching the last week of my stay, the days got more and more action-packed and exhausting, because we had to work as fast as we could and as efficient as possible. In the end, everything went well, and we did a great job. I think the most iconic moment will forever be the moment I was locked into the bathroom early in the morning and was not able to get out until we removed the door….  Which took us around 30 minutes.

Me contemplating life choices.

After all, and despite my low motivation (mostly because of the heat) I will keep this experience in my heart and look back upon a great excavation. The people in this team are very heart-warming, helpful, and are supporting each other in every kind of situation and I will always be thankful to them! Thank you Doliche for being my first excavation experience and thanks to all the people of this project for having me! 

Written by: Alp Giray Kacik

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