The Joint Prehistoric Project
1999-2000 ANNUAL REPORT
Robert J. Braidwood and Linda S. Braidwood
Asl1 Özdogan has been excavating an interesting site in central Anatolia but has made this her final year because she feels that by next year she should be able to begin work again at Çayönü. Meanwhile, there are still things that need to be done for Çayönü, such as buying the yearly supplies needed by the guard. (The University of Istanbul pays the monthly wages of the guard; the Prehistoric Project assumes the cost of his yearly supplies, including bullets.) It is an interesting tale as to how we came by our guard.
Nail Bey, Halet's husband, was very interested in making the excavation house as comfortable as possible, and he spent the winter of 1968 living in a tent near the construction site, concentrating on getting wooden floors in the rooms where people would be spending most of their time, arranging for running water in each room, and searching for the best wash basins to place in each of the bedrooms. When he had finished, he returned to Istanbul for the rest of the winter.
But when he and Halet came in the spring to check up on what still needed to be done, they were horrified to find that the house had been vandalized - beautiful basins smashed, utter chaos. The house was being built on school property and the students had caused the damage. Halet and Nail immediately went to the administrative office in Ergani, the nearest town, to tell their sad tale. They hadn't noticed an older gentleman who was sitting in the corner. But as they finished, he spoke up in words to the effect that his honor was at stake since it was his people who had done the damage; he felt responsible and would send them a guard from his village.
And so Mehmet Ates came to be our guard. And the bullets? If really needed, he wouldn't hesitate to use them. This is our Mehmet who has taken such good care of us over the years and who should now be retiring. Asl1 reports that Mehmet's son has finished his military service and will take a test in July or August; if he gets the necessary grade of 70 (at least) she'll be able to hire him as our guard. That would be great - we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, the study of the Çayönü animal bones goes forward with Gülçin Ilgezdi and Banu Öksüz who first worked with the late Berrin KuŞatman; they enjoyed learning about ancient animal bones and are now working steadily on them under Hitomi Hongo's direction. Hitomi comes out to Turkey several times a year for some months, and Richard Meadow stops in Istanbul once a year to offer advice. Hitomi wrote that she was taking the girls to a zooarchaeological meeting in Jordan. She and Richard would like to see Gülçin and Banu get doctorates outside of Turkey, but realize the difficulties, financial as well as linguistic. Germany is much more generous in providing support and there is a chance that Gülçin, who was born in Germany (of Turkish parents) may be able to get a doctorate from Tübingen. Berrin worked there for some months with Uerpman, an excellent zooarchaeologist. Banu needs to keep working on her English.
We are pleased that the Prehistoric Project can assist with the study of the chipped stone artifacts from Çayönü by providing a modest monthly room and board stipend for Güner CoŞkunsu and Çiler Altinbilek. This enables them to work steadily at the flint analysis. Isabella Caneva and her Italian team can only come out to Istanbul for short periods several times a year, but with Güner and Çiler's help, the chipped stone analysis is moving steadily ahead. And we must add that we are especially impressed with the way in which Isabella is handling the great bulk of chipped stone. They are using a powerful microscope to study use wear on artifacts. For example, Isabella is now able to say, from tools found in the skull building, that they had been used exclusively on flesh and bone, suggesting that the great mass of bones that were found in pits in the skull building had been prepared for burial right in the building.
In closing, we want to warmly thank all the friends of the Prehistoric Project for their continued support.
Revised: February 7, 2007