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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1995-96 Annual Report

The Joint Prehistoric Project


Robert J. Braidwood and Linda S. Braidwood

We still must report that no miracle seems to have happened during the year to make digging possible at Çayönü in southeastern Turkey. However, Asl1 Özdogan, brave soul that she is, and one of the graduate students, did make the trip down to Diyarbakir in November 1995, primarily to assemble artifacts that needed to be brought back to Istanbul for study. This also gave her a chance to check on the general situation, on Mehmet the guard and his winter supplies, and the general condition of other personnel unemployed now for some years (Mehmet, fortunately, is on the payroll of the University of Istanbul). She reports that the inhabitants of Hilar village, right across from Çayönü, who were forced by the Turkish army to evacuate the village, were gradually moving back. This means that the local political situation could be gradually improving somewhat. Amazingly enough, the roof of the field house, though in perilous condition, is still holding up. To get back to the supplies needed by Mehmet during the winter, they all make sense--such as more wood for heating than that supplied by the University of Istanbul, liquid gas, electric bulbs, rat poison--except for one item: Each year he requests more bullets.

Work slowly progresses with the reporting on the Çayönü excavated materials in the University of Istanbul's Prehistory Laboratory, under Asl1's supervision. Bruce Howe was once again in Istanbul for the winter months, working on the publication of one of the Prehistoric Project sites, with two of the graduate students as helpers who, under Bruce, are also learning about flint tools. Two other graduate students are committed to working on the Çayönü animal bones and want to be zooarchaeologists; all four, with the Prehistoric Project's assistance, are studying English.

In our last report, we mentioned that Richard Meadow, Harvard zooarchaeologist, as the overall director of the study of the Çayönü animal bones had applied to the National Science Foundation for a three-year grant to cover the cost of the study. His graduate student and assistant, Hitomi Honga (who has just received her doctorate at Harvard), would supervise the work in Istanbul. It was a great disappointment when we learned that the grant would not be funded. Richard, however, was more sanguine and again submitted his grant--with some changes--early this spring. We had word a few weeks ago that the proposal had indeed been accepted this time, and that Hitomi is already in Istanbul taking charge. Gülçin and Banu, who have been waiting patiently for this moment when Hitomi will be there to supervise and train them in zooarchaeology in the University of Istanbul's Prehistory Department, must be most happy. Hitomi's work in Turkey has already been approved as her special project for her research position in Japan, which means that she can spend part of each year in Turkey.

In closing, we want to mention how enthusiastic we are about Asl1han Yener's plans to return to the Oriental Institute's old sites in the Amuq--the plain of Antioch--where we worked from 1933 to 1938, and where Linda, in 1937, first cut her teeth in field archaeology. Asl1han, the very best digging and good luck to all your field team!

Revised: February 7, 2007

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