Glenn Maffia –
THE trenches have been filled, the spades and trowels packed and the small finds logged and locked away…the archaeologists are soon returning to Germany.
Unprepared with no contingency
It wasn’t the most stunning of excavations this year as much old ground was trodden once more. I found that surprising until I learnt from a source in Europe the archaeological team were almost completely unprepared.
The reason for this rather impromptu, as opposed to rehearsed, ‘dig’ was due to the temporary dislocation of mutual understanding between the respective nations involved.
Last year the archaeologists did not receive permission to excavate, and as this inclement situation proceeded to fracture further, they had assumed any invitation for this year would neither be forthcoming.
Perhaps understandable, though I would have thought that a contingency plan should have been in place. These expeditions are not cheap to finance after all, while the only new information I gleaned was that of the ‘well/votive pit’.
Of course, they may indeed have found other points of interest to which I am not privileged, in which case I shall await their reports whenever, and if ever, they are made public.
I was a tad annoyed by their silence this year, to say the least. Though at least I managed to interpret what little they did find, and relay that to our readers.
Temple ignored locally
The conveyors of news in the local Turkish press did not once mention the excavations were on-going, or that the archaeologists were actually here in Didim. I should have thought locals and Turkish tourists visiting may have been fascinated to go and see such an event.
This town is trying to attract more tourism during this dire period, isn’t it? Appears to me that was an opportunity missed; I certainly took a good number of English speaking people there.
Light the imagination
Therefore the Director of Excavations and the senior archaeologists once back in their homeland are hopefully writing up their reports.
Copies of these are, naturally, sent to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, I believe in Ankara, but certainly to Aydin and the Miletus Museum, as well as leading authorities around the world.
Dr. Ian Jenkins at the British Museum informed me of such when I met with him last November. Now, there is a person who insists that it is his direct responsibility to disseminate information to any who wish to listen; an enlightened person with the spirit of The Enlightenment itself.
In contrast to Dr. Jenkins, I found the silence I encountered this ‘digging season’ utterly non-conducive to igniting any spark of interest in the public, either locals or those venturing from foreign shores.
It rather crossed my mind of how educational it would be if the Director of Excavations could, at least, give a public address, advertised in local news media, explaining the archaeologist’s aims and ambitions at the commencement of the excavation, and another at its conclusion.
That should be most compelling. It would also ‘dovetail’ perfectly with the lectures given by the professors during the ‘Festival of Thales’ each summer.
I am surprised that has not been considered previously.
Though as things exist, is it any wonder that most people, dark in their ignorance, remain excluded from a most exciting and intellectually inspiring subject?