I was heading home from work on Friday and chatting with a friend via text when he just said, “Check the news.” And my heart dropped right into the floor. It was late at night in Turkey, and there was a coup, in the middle of the archaeological season for numerous projects. I cannot even count how many friends and colleagues are there, not to mention all of their friends and families, from the big cities to the rural sites.
That’s the big question to which no one has any answers. Or at least, there is no consensus.
There have been a number of coups and coup attempts since the Sardis expedition began work in 1958, though from what I can see, none that began during the summer months. And now, I have never been so thankful for regular internet access and social media. I wrote last week about the “bubble” of being at an archaeological site for a summer and somewhat disconnected from the outside world. This summer, that bubble has truly burst.
Within minutes of learning about the coup, I had messages from a friend and from my boss that everyone was safe, and no one was going through the airports. I’ve been glued to my work email all weekend, combing Twitter after utter frustration with the uselessness of the big media outlets, and checking the State Department’s websites and feeds.
Well, we work. We have a job to do, it is safe to continue on, so we do it.
I’m a new member of the team, but I have never felt so instantly welcome and appreciated among a group of people (who I’d never met in person before) as I did last summer. Camaraderie among archaeologists is a truly international phenomenon. These are my people, I love them, and I will continue to support them as best I can from here at Mission Control.