Sharing traditions

You’ll know, if you’ve followed my travels in previous years, that our little village of Fevzi Paşa endures an endless summer of weekend weddings. It’s been quieter this year, as Ramadan began just after our arrival: a daily religious observance of not taking food or drink from sunrise to sundown is not conducive to the three day festivities of a local nuptial celebration. Yet tonight the familiar strains of Turkish wedding music filled the courtyard – inside the walls for a change.

A group of our Turkish students announced that they would like to share their traditions with us. This evening they enacted some of the key ceremonies of a typical wedding. The bride arrived in her sequinned red veil, and various dig members were introduced to us as the wedding party. We were all invited to dance with the ‘families’, henna was pressed in to our palms, ‘money’ was thrown to the wind (meant for the bride I think – but it’s Fevzi Paşa and it’s windy.) As the celebration gathered momentum, some of the villagers gathered to see what we were up to. Soon there was quite a gathering of students and staff and our village neighbours. The cook’s new assistant, a tall, imposing woman, turns out to be quite light on her feet! Our little wedding was not the usual three day affair, perhaps, but an enchanting diversion for a Monday evening.

We are into our third week here – our second of digging. Not a lot of artifacts have turned up as yet. The water table has been unusually high this season and some of the areas in the lower town that were excavated previously are actually afloat. This has necessitated opening new areas where the digging will still be above the water line – involving a re-thinking of research strategies and considerable time and effort to reach a depth where significant finds start to appear. It’s been slow going and somewhat discouraging, so there was welcome excitement today when Eva, our metal specialist, discovered that an artifact she was reviewing from the 2010 season bears a previously undetected hieroglyphic inscription!

Yay! Something to draw! Well – something new. I’ve left the computer files to take pen in hand this week – catching up on last year’s illustration backlog. There’s always the hope that I could stay on top of the drawing list this season!