Student Spotlight: Peter Kotiuga

I landed in Adana around 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, and found Nick Rauh in the bus-station-sized airport. I didn’t have to worry about carrying my luggage either, since we had arrived late enough in Amsterdam that though I had made my connection, my bags were left behind. My boots and hat with all my gear purchased specifically for this project were somewhere in Denmark or Istanbul (they eventually arrived in Silifke a few days later). In the meantime, I folded a handkerchief under a baseball cap and wore sneakers during our first few days in the field.

We began on Boğsak Island, finishing up some of the work from the previous year. Our days began backwards, doing grunt work after breakfast (cataloguing and categorizing) and going out to the island in the afternoon by boat. We stayed right on the water and ate looking out on Boğsak bay. I spent my days studying sherds of amphoras, vases, and plates, Phocaean Red Slip, African Red Slip, and Cypriot Sigillata wares, while my nights were half in Turkish and full of beer. After about a week, a kilometer swim to shore, and an amazing barbeque, we finished at Boğsak and moved on to Dana Adasi.

Boğsak had its challenges, but these paled in comparison to those of Dana Island. Unlike Boğsak’s third-of-a-mile length, Dana is 1¾ miles long and at least four times as tall, and while Boğsak had only hidden wildlife and a few shrubs, Dana’s goats and snakes passed us by as they made their way through the thick and sharp vegetation. My backpack became a new kind of tool kit: along with the tape measure and water I already carried were added a collapsible walking stick, a small knife, and an iron sickle to make my path through the transects. We stayed in Mavi Kent, waking up before the sun to cross two miles of water on a boat driven by an old mariner. We quickly abandoned his broken dock and instead used the pier of the swimming area. Sure, it was marked off by a buoyed rope and people yelled at us as we came back before lunch, but I didn’t mind jumping from the boat to hold down the line if it meant cooling off after a long day of walking and chopping brush.

On August 14, we left Mavi Kent to drive back to Adana, where Noah, Lucy, and I stayed for a few days while we traveled around the sites of southern Turkey. I arrived in Istanbul on August 16, where I met up with Fatih, one of the students working with us and whose house I stayed at that night before my return flight. We wandered Taksim Square, ate çiğ köfte, and found a couple of souvenirs for my family. Early the next morning, I was on my way back to Indiana after almost a month in Turkey, with a bit of Turkish under my belt and a desire to get into archaeology, at least for the chance to travel like an archaeologist. I am grateful for the support of a Pratt Traveling Fellowship from the Department of Classical Studies, which made this great learning experience possible.