Dedicating a lifetime to ancient site of Aslantepe
MALATYA - Anatolia News Agency
The head of the excavation works at the anicent site of Aslantepe, Italian professor Marcella Frangipane says that the site is like her child after all these years. AA photo
Italian Dr. Marcella Frangipane, the head of excavation work at Aslantepe Mound in Malatya, has spent 36 years working at the site, which dates back to 5000 B.C. Frangipane, a professor at La Sapienze University, said the first excavations in Aslantepe were conducted by the French in the 1930s and Italians started to work at Aslantepe 51 years ago.
Frangipane first joined the excavations in 1976, and she said she was a young woman of 28 then. Frangipane said they came to Orduzu Municipality in Malatya every year and stayed there 2.5 months.
“After the excavations, we returned to Rome. Aslantepe is a good research opportunity for us. We give lectures about Aslantepe at the university. We talk about the archeological importance of the area. And there is an archive of photos of Aslantepe at our university. We give lectures using this archive.”
Center of her life
Frangipane said she saw Aslantepe Mound as the center of her life, and was fond of both Aslantepe and Orduzu. “Dr. Salvadore Puglisi was the head of the excavation when I first came here. And then Dr. Alba Palmieri became the head of excavation work, and both were my instructors. I liked both the excavations and Turkey. I became the head of excavation work after Alba Palmieri’s untimely death.”
Every year nearly 50 laborers work on the excavations. “We know everybody in Orduzu Municipality, we made friends with everyone. We work together. Last year, we celebrated our 50th anniversary and showed old photos. Today’s laborers’ grandparents and fathers had worked on those excavations. I learned Turkish in Orduzu, so I speak Turkish like the Orduzu people speak.”
Frangipane sees Aslantepe like her child. She said she had never got married and “I do not have a child. My child is Aslantepe.”
One of her eyes is brown the other is blue. “My eyes are like the Van cats in Turkey. They call me ‘Van Cat.’”
Frangipane said they had started this year’s the excavation work, and added that they would work until October 15. She said they would excavate the north part of the palace to search for significant ruins dating back to the Chalcolithic Period. Frangipane said, “We kept the palace under protection; it is in good condition. The walls are nearly 2.5 meters high. And they have original layers and pictures.
After a fire in the palace, all the ruins stayed in the ground. It is a good opportunity for an archaeologist to examine the ruins. This was the first location of the governmental system.”
Excavations of the north part of the palace were ongoing, and they derived a great pleasure from this work, Frangipane said.