Monday, March 23, 2009

ASCSA Turkey Trip: Cute Overload Meets Archaeology!

Part of travelling is learning to appreciate the local fauna. Sometimes this includes rapacious merchants or the skeezy kamachi (‘spear fisher,’ dudes who sit around trying to pick up women). Usually, however, it’s the non-human variety of fauna that we encounter. Unfortunately, many countries suffer from a lack of televised series’ like Animal Cops.

If they did, they might learn that (the US considers) the neglect of an injured or sick animal to be the equivalent of animal abuse. On the one hand, countries like Turkey and Greece don’t always have a culturally embedded belief that cruelty to animals is a moral failing (although cruelty to chickens and cows is perfectly okay – the U.S. government says so!). On the other hand, many countries do not have the infrastructure, educational programs or governmental support to help animals in need. So travelling involves being faced with a great deal of needy and inhumane-ly treated animals. I’ve gotten used to looking the other way a lot, just to avoid seeing chill-inducing and pathetic creatures. Alas, if only we all had a Sgt. Lucas.

But my blog is 80% sugar-coating, so I thought I’d emulate one of my own favorite blogs, CuteOverload, by documenting all the cute animals we’ve seen gamboling around archaeological sites. Cute animals and antiquities - can it get any better?!

This little darling met us at the tetrapylon (monumental gateway) in front of the temple of Aphrodite at Aphrodisias. He was so adorable that we took him with us throught the whole site so we could make sure he got safely to civilization.
Here he’s hanging out with a Roman mosaic and following me down some steps in the civic center.
He also got a bit rowdy after his manliness was insulted by a much bigger and tougher kitty. I imagine he’ll make a good site guard dog one day.

Definitely prosh; the ancient tiled floor really adds to the ambience.

Turtles! OMG they totally rule.

These crusty dudes were munching on some leafy goodness about 10 feet away from the krepidima (base) of the temple of Apollo at Didyma.

This little guy is hanging with his mother at the top of an ancient Greek theatre (Iasos). Note that he’s scratching his head on the signage, which lays out all the details of the theatre.

This scruffy tramp of a Benji is standing directly next to the tomb of St. John in the eponymously named church in Seljuk (just next door to the Sanctuary of Artemis at ancient Ephesos, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). The columns and white pavement behind him mark the tomb of the saint, although which John it is, is a matter of long-standing debate (whether John the Disciple, writer of Revelations, John the Theologian, or all of them in one). Incidentally, three people were buried in the tomb along with coins of Geta and Caracalla (2nd c. CE).

We really don’t see a lot of cows in Greece (mostly goats), so everyone gets pretty excited to see a good ‘ole milk cow now and then. Since we’re always traipsing across pasturage in search of ruins, we see a lot of herd animals these days. Yesterday Eric was happy to see a herd of cows at the site of ancient Magnesia-on-Meander.

On our way to see the Bouleuterion, situated in the backyard of the 'Bouleuterion Lady' (at Herakleia-under-Latmos), we ran into some traffic on the road.

Yes, those are tadpoles. And the white marble blocks around which they’re darting come from the drowned stoa at ancient Miletus.

Turkey sits along the migration path of this part of the world’s stork population, and it is common to see their huge nests atop high platforms.

Here some love-storks hang out in their nest on top of the one standing Corinthian column from the Temple of Zeus in Mylasa. Either that’s a wing, or that stork has a diaper in its beak.
This was a shock. Don Bey was leading us through the Museum of Underwater Archaeology when we saw this guy on the museum display. I felt like I was in Malfoy Manor, since they even had an albino peacock (although I didn’t get a picture, alas).



Jeremy LaBuff said...

Did you find any car keys at Magnesia? If so please return them to the ghetto car rental place on the water front of Bodrum from whence I got them (and lost them). I know, not specific enough, I apologize...

Katie said...

Ha ha ha. No, we were in Bodrum for three days and never saw a thing.

Now on to Izmir.

JPL said...

Best post ever.