A new project enables women to take part in excavations at Metropolis site

A new project enables women to take part in excavations at Metropolis site

İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency
A new project enables women to take part in excavations at Metropolis site

AA photo

fter 22 years of male only excavation teams, women have recently joined ongoing excavation works in the ancient city of Metropolis in İzmir’s Torbalı town within the scope of a new project lead by the Turkish Labor Institution (İŞKUR).

“Excavations have been conducted for 22 years with male labors, but women finally joined the works with the help of a project by the Turkish Labor Institution,” head of excavations and an Assistant Professor at Trakya University Archeology Department Serdar Aybek said.

Excavation works were initiated in 1989 by Professor Recep Meriç in Metropolis, located in the Ionia region, which has a rich historical stratification, Aybek said. The excavations have been conducted under the support of the Culture Ministry, Thracian University, Sabancı Foundation and Torbalı Municipality.

Metropolis had been a settlement since the pre-historic ages, Aybek said. “The excavation teams consisted of academicians, archeology students and local people, but this year, women joined the excavation works for the first time,” he said.

Six women had been working on the project and had been nicknamed “Metropolis’ Angels”. According to Aybek excavation organizers and participants were really content with the participation of those women.


‘Women who are taking part in the excavations in
Metropolis work better than male laborers,’ says
Serdar Aybek. AA Photo

‘They clean very well’

“The women pick the weeds and garbage. They work better than the male laborers. They clean very well and will be working with us for three months. They were insured, we had been planning to carry out this project. They came to the city and came across the archeology. They learned of the significance of historical artifacts. The women ask our students [questions] and learn about the history of the areas they clean,” Aybek said.

The women working in the excavation sites used to be housewives and also worked in the fields as daily labors. However, as long as the excavation is going on the women will be employed, Aybek said.
One of the female laborers in the excavation project, 35-year-old Birsen Taşcan, was previously a housewife who worked in the field from time to time. With the provided job, Taşcan began to work in Metropolis.

“Working and earning is better than depending on somebody for a living. You can buy anything you want. We wish we had permanent jobs. I am the mother of four children and now I am working and learning here, [but] I wish I had a better education,” she said.

Prior to her job with the excavations 32-year-old Nişan Güvez did not know anything about Metropolis, although she lived near the antique city.

“I used to be a housewife before I was employed. I used to work in the fields, but it is much better to work here. It is really great to be with the instructors and students. I did not know the history of this area but I’ve learned. I have a 13-year-old son asking me at the end of the day which historical place I cleaned. I recommend [this job] to every woman. We sometimes come across [artifacts like] candle holders, oilcans and others. Once I found an old coin,” she said.