#10: Anatolian archaeology (1890's)
A wealth of archaeological lore lay scattered over and
within the soil of our College field, much of it only
half suspected, and now we came to the organization of
an Archaeological Club. Some old castles partly or often
wholly in ruins might be encountered on a ride of a few
miles in almost any direction. Several capital cities
were not far away. Our earlier Americans never had heard
the word Hittite used of Asia Minor, and knowledge of
that great people and their great empires was only just
beginning to struggle into the consciousness of savants,
but evidence of their presence among our mountains, valleys
and plains was beginning to be realized. A party of us
once rode through a village where we found a magnificent
Hittite lion, Roman milestones, Byzantine Greek Christian
tombstones, where the villagers were Shia or heretic Turks.
Thus, these old stones and living people represented four
different types of race, religion, language and culture
of every kind, living at intervals about a thousand years
apart. We grew accustomed to picking up and comparing the
painted pottery which lay abundantly around old city or
fortress sites, artificial mounds, hidden sanctuaries, and
like places. And our children grew adept at finding and
picking up fragments of cuneiform script, usually Hittite.
We established relations with the British Museum and some
other centers of learning where any artefact, inscription
even if fragmentary, or other object of archaeological
interest was welcomed if we sent it, and with such
information as could be furnished us by specialists in
So came to be founded our Anatolia Archaeological Club.
In general the mature members of our community enrolled
as active members, many of the more mature students were
welcomed as associates and we secured several distinguished
archaeologists as honorary members. Meetings were quarterly,
rather informal, and decidedly interesting. By bringing our
information to a common fund and all drawing from that fund,
we learned to watch for objects of interest on journeys or
during vacations, wherever spent, to report to the Club.
Small fees during the course of a few years provided quite
a library of useful and entertaining books and periodicals.
Journals, scientific or popular, usually were glad to publish
information supplied to them. Our field was new, there was
a wealth of discovery and varied information to work upon
and report to our home-land or European centers.
NEXT: Turkish introspection
to "OTTOMAN ANATOLIA"