Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Itchy Trowel Syndrome


I wasn't a very good archaeologist. I preferred the theory as most of the practice involved getting wet, muddy and cold with little chance of warming up in the old caravans or disused schools and farm houses that we went back to after a day pickaxing and wheelbarrowing.   I didn't really start to enjoy the digging until I worked on summer digs in  Greece and Italy. When there is the choice of a post-hole in pissing rain and a Corinthian column in the sunshine, you can understand why I decided to stay in the Mediterranean for 20 years.  In the last two weeks though, I have started to develop a strange affliction I call "itchy trowel syndrome". We have been exploring Theangela and Bargylia, both un-excavated sites and there are so many tempting corners of dressed stone sticking out at odd angles,  I'm beginning to wonder where my trusty trowel is hiding. ( I remember seeing it in the workshop about 20 years ago!) I wouldn't dream of giving into the temptation as unofficial "excavation" in Turkey is a serious offence but I'm thinking of finding out if Turkey has a similar archaeological volunteer program to Europe and seeing if I can spend a couple of weeks on a dig.


I'd love to know what's going on under here


or here. 


I hope Theangela is on someone's excavation list because we saw plenty of evidence of illicit digging, there were several pits like this one.






23 comments:

  1. I so understand that! Are there people with metal detectors around? They could have made that kind of mess...

    It looks like a lovely area for walking!

    If anyone can find out whether there is such an excavation list, it's you!

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    1. Hi Idske. There were lots of pits, both large and small - probably metal detectors.

      ps love your blog

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  2. Wonderful post - and absolutely love the title! Hope you find somewhere soon before the syndrome develops into something worse....nope, I'll leave the punning to you! Axxx

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    1. Would want it to develop into a itchy axe.

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    2. Piles of opportunity here. Ax

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  3. Sounds like a great way to spend a couple of weeks. Hope you can find a programme...and your trowel!

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    1. I'm going to delve into the work shop today.

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  4. B to B, It seems like an incredibly exciting prospect. It would be so great if Turkey would encourage projects like this. Otherwise, it's almost inevitable that 'informal' digs will continue and artifacts will disappear. Good luck and keep us up to date.

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    1. The number of foreign -led digs are reducing each year but I'll ask at the British School in Ankara. The initial feed back I've received is that there isn't a volunteer program in Turkey.

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  5. This area would be so exciting for me....my husband has the same problem with some land he inherited in Bergama. Not allowed to build, dig or sell till they dig themselves and there is no program in sight to start any sort of dig or on anybody's excavation list. It's too bad because there is this big chunk of land right smack in the middle of town with apartment buildings all around....and it's just sitting there.
    Hope you can find your trowel.....cute title you had 'itchy trowel syndrome'. Maybe one day this will all come together and you can get your trowel out and dig away.....must have been exciting digging around Greece and Italy.
    Take care....

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    1. There is much more excavation going on in Turkey now than there used to be so hope your husband's land gets investigated.

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  6. Replies
    1. After one day back digging I'll probably remember why I gave it up - I should ignore the irritation.

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  7. . . there are some excellent anti-fungal creams available - SAE for a free sample.
    Agree about these 'untouched' places though - won't be too long before there is nothing left to scratch.

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    1. Have you read about the mosaics that have been found in Milas in the last couple of days? Tempting people yo try their luck on out of the way sites.

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    2. no, be interested to learn where etc

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  8. I didn't know about your archeological background, you are in the right place! With Turkey being like an open air museum, I greatly hope and wish you can do some voluntary digging - and yes, in the sunshine: ) Fingers crossed, all the best..

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    1. I'm sure this is why I felt at home in Turkey from my first visit.

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  9. I dont know how you can resist..... with your background, living in Turkey must be a constant joy. Go find that trowel ! Jxx

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    1. I'm very law-abiding! Wouldn't dare dig anything apart from my garden.

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  10. As we've traveled all over Turkey, I've been surprised by the lack of care (sometimes) given to historical sites. Or is it that there are too many sites in Turkey so the gov't can't support them all? I wish others could volunteer to help out so more places would be available for the public to see and enjoy. Good luck!

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  11. Sites are much better protected now than in the past. Unfortunately, for some, it is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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  12. Great title and post and I so understand. I've got hooked on watching Time Team with my lunch during the week and even this non-archaeologist is fascinated by the thought of all the history under our feet. I do hope you find a way to scratch your itch productively.

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