Friday is our day of rest, so we are at the pool! This week the excavations at the famous Neolithic settlement opened for the season. We are a joint team from Cardiff University UK, Stony Brook, US and Poznan, Poland looking at the faunal remains to understand the human:animal relationship at the site. This week we began the season by examining the bones from building 80 (late in the site but still about 7-8000 years ago). So far we have recorded domestic sheep and dogs, wild aurochs, boar, deer and horses as well as tortoise, stork and jackal. We have a worked aurochs scapula, maybe used as a shovel, a possible bone ‘flute’ and bone gouges.
Excavation is focusing on removing backfill from the previous years ready to start excavation in ernest next week. The focus this year is on a number of houses, some of which have already produced cattle horncore installations, wall paintings and human burials beneath the floors.
The team is building with 60ish of us so far, and increasing to about 150 by the end of next week. There are labs for human and animal bones, pots, stones, plants, conservation and finds as well as two separate excavation areas. It is hard to keep track of everyone, so we have posted our photos and names on our lab door so folk can ID us. The excavation is truly international with folk from Sweden, Poland, US, Canada, Turkey, Greece and of course Wales.
Our first day off is being spent at the lovely Dedeman Hotel by the pool using their internet (thanks!). There is extremely restricted internet access at the site. A highlight this week was the Tarkan concert – a Turkish singing sensation who performed to about 20k people in a mall carpark.
We are looking forward to the rest of the seasons excavations – and working with all the different specialists on-site. Rather than material being analysed months, or years after it is dug up, in different labs around the world we are all here together. Roll on the excavations – well, after just one more dip in the pool…..