Well, it’s just about field season here in Team TrowelBlazers headquarters, so this post is about an amazing, inspirational woman who excavated with, taught, and inspired generations of Turkish archaeologists. Not only did she shake up official attitudes towards archaeology, head up the Prehistory Department at Istanbul University, and publish hundreds of academic articles, but she was also the personal inspiration for those that knew her and are still carrying out her work today. Professor Ufuk Esin (b. 1933 – d. 2008) was a Fulbright scholar and a student of the Olympian and activist Halet Çambel, and a force to be reckoned with in the movement of archaeological research towards a holistic, scientific discipline.
Professor Esin was integral in the founding of TUBA, the former Turkish Science Academy, and as the head of department at Istanbul University she was able to pursue her aim of high-quality scientific research in archaeology. At METU, she introduced a scientific archaeometry programme and at her excavation of Aşıklı Höyük, she instituted the sort of multi-disciplinary excavation practices that are now very well known from world-famous sites such as nearby Çatalhöyük
The site of Aşıklı Höyük , where this particular part of Team TrowelBlazers (it’s me, @brennawalks!) conducts fieldwork, is testimony to one woman’s drive to bring technological and theoretical advances together to better understand the past. I never had the chance to meet this amazing #trowelblazing woman, but I have the privilege of working closely with those that did on site. It’s amazing to see how one (relatively small!) woman could inspire a new generation of professors and students.
You can get a sense of the woman herself in this lovely video by G. Duru, from around 7:20
many thanks to @gunesduru for the translation and assistance with this post!
post by @brennawalks