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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Dr. Jan Cardyn next to his "wedding" car
Dirk Menten spreading the good news to a group of visitors
Ilse Desmet shows her tireless enthusiasm for free.
Ambassador M. Van Rysselberghe and company on July 19 in the mansion of the Domestic Area.
Luc Vanhaverbeke and Julian Richard ready to make the long trip to Sagalassos
The honorific (?) city gate at the entrance of Aglasun.
The brand new information panel at the entrance of Sagalassos

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.

Daily Life

July 23-29, 2006

The beginning and end of this week were marked by funny incidents. After two weeks on the site, the excavation director went back to Belgium for two days, leaving on Friday, July 21, and returning on Sunday, July 23. In the past, he used to impress people on this journey with his three mobile phones, especially at the many security checkpoints between the flights from Antalya to Brussels and back over Istanbul. He has a Turkish one to make calls in and from Turkey cheaply, a Belgian one for work, and another one for private calls. Even if he is sitting in a wheelchair to be taken from one terminal to the other, the three mobiles still put a strain on his belt, where he has them clipped.

As he relates: "On my way back, I wore a pair of new jeans kept with an old belt I just grabbed that morning. Things went awfully wrong on the leg of the flight between Brussels and Istanbul. At one point I got up to go to the toilet, and my belt literally burst into three pieces. As I had lost some weight since I had purchased these jeans, I felt myself in a very undignified pose, with my jeans literally down around my ankles. The chief hostess frantically looked for a safety pin or two, but could find nothing. In the end, she found a good solution by tying together two safety belts for infants, putting them around my waist and folding my trousers over them. I continued the rest of my journey in this attire, happy this time to be wheeled around instead of having to walk. While I was leaving the plane, she cheerfully told me: "You probably won't forget me for the rest of your life." Well, I won't.

[image] The excavation director unbolting his "seat belts" at the excavation house.

During the next weekend, at the end of the third week of the excavation campaign, our medic Dr. Jan Cardyn, who has volunteered faithfully to look after our health for ten years in a row had to say goodbye to the site forever, which was rather emotional for him and for us. However, Bea Vandemeulebroecke, who together with her husband Luc Vanhaverbeke looks after our logistics, cheered us up by taking him down in a car specially decorated, as if for a wedding, when the new couple leaves the ceremony. She gave him one of the nicest farewells at the site, completed by some good French bubbly.

July 17-21, 2006

During the second week, life went back to the daily routine of a large excavation. Dirk Menten and his wife Ilse Desmet enthusiastically resumed their free tours to dozens of visitors a day. Our most distinguished guest this week was the Belgian ambassador at Ankara, Mr. Marc Van Rysselberghe, who paid us a visit on July 19 accompanied by his family and friends. The arrival of Bea De Cupere and her four children, taken care of by her husband Bart, increased the number of infants at the site to six.

[image] Bea De Cupere with her children

During the day, our workmen's leader Ali Toprak asserted his authority with his crisp attire, while at night the excavation director frightened any potential intruders away with his respiratory mask, which he must wear due to a sleeping disorder.

[image] [image]
Ali Toprak (left) in full fieldwork attire, and the excavation director (right) in his nightly disguise.

July 10-14, 2006

The real start of each campaign is the departure of the crew's minibus to Ancona (Italy), where they catch a ferryboat to Cesme on the Turkish west coast. Like last year, the bus drivers were Luc Vanhaverbeke, who during one month is in charge of logistics at Aglasun, and archaeologist Julian Richard, the Macellum's excavator. The bus left on June 29, and following a Turkish tradition, it was sprayed with water to make sure it returned safely with its passengers. It arrived at the excavation house on July 4. On their way to the house they passed the impressive "city gate," a mixture of an interrupted aqueduct and two triumphal arches that try in vain to touch each other at the entrance of Aglasun. The entrance to the ancient site of Sagalassos was also embellished, by a set of new information panels set up by our sponsor Aygaz.

As for my own journey to Sagalassos, it consisted of three different trips. On June 7, I left with Veerle Lauwers and Nathalie Kellens for the site, to be joined there by Ebru Torun, in order to start the anastylosis season and prepare the installation of the new computer room, necessary for our new SIIS system. On June 22, I left for Sagalassos once more, this time accompanied by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke and Inge Uytterhoeven, to start the survey season and prepare the site for the excavations. After a failed spine surgery, I have to make these trips through the airports of Brussels, Istanbul and Antalya in a wheelchair, pushed by a local employee. In Turkey, these workers often call each other to come and get "the very old man who cannot walk anymore." I find it quite amusing, as they are unaware of my knowledge of Turkish. Still, there is always a sense of Turkish hospitality that makes me remember immediately why I have been coming back for 38 years. During my second trip, I was recognized by one of the security personnel in Istanbul, who previously had been working for years at the passport section in Burdur, where we get our working and residence permits. Within five minutes we were enjoying a cup of hot tea together. When I later arrived in my room at Aglasun, I found not only one but three families of house martins occupying three of the four corners of my balcony, resulting in a rather unfortunate accumulation of droppings on the benches below.

During my third and final trip on July 8, we split up into three groups, and I was to be on the third of three successive THY flights from Brussels to Antalya. While I was being escorted to the plane, I got a phone call from one of my collaborators that one of my assistants had lost her passport and boarding pass in the restroom after already having passed the security gate. As she had already legally entered the country and our tickets were issued electronically, she could prove her identity and was allowed on the flight to Antalya, where she was expected to report the loss of her traveling documents. She did so, but nearly an hour and a half after the loss, just when the police officers were reading aloud the declaration she was supposed to sign, she leaned over, feeling something strange in her socks. As you might have guessed, it was her passport and her boarding pass. We have decided to designate this find of the week as a "find of the season" as well!

See daily life 2005

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