Women find livelihood in ancient city of Hera
Women working in the ancient city of Heraion-Teichos (city of Hera), which houses the traces of the Thracian civilizations in the Süleymanpaşa district of the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, make ends meet working at the excavations.
Since 2000, women workers have been involved in the ongoing excavations in the ancient City of Hera in the Karaevli neighborhood.
Women, who come from Aydoğdu and Çınarlı neighborhoods to the excavation field every morning, work throughout the day to unearth historical finds under the control of archaeologists.
The head of the excavations and the Tekirdağ Namık Kemal University head of the archaeology department, Professor Neşe Atik, said that women workers are very pleased with the excavations.
Stating that the women are working painstakingly, Atik said, “They share the excitement of their findings with us. They know the seriousness of the work. For example, they know even when to remove a little bit of soil.”
Stating that since the beginning of the excavations, the women working in the field are almost as knowledgeable as an archeology student, and added, “It may vary depending on the season, but we usually start at 8 in the morning. They have lunch here. There are tea breaks in between. We are digging layer by layer. All kinds of finds can be found under the earth; it can be coins, figures, terracotta, or pots.”
Atik said that Turkey is a historical and cultural cosmopolitan and hosts different civilizations, underlining the need to lay claim to these riches.
Stating that the city of Hera is an important historical site, the discovery of the findings here with female workers makes the work more meaningful, Atik said, “We have 10-12 female workers here. The longer the working time, the better for our workers, because some of them support their family economy and take care of their children. Our desire is to extend our working time, increase the number of workers and bring tourism to the city of Hera completely. To unearth this city with our female workers makes us happy.”
One of the workers, Havva Bulkan said that she had been involved in the excavation works since 2004 and becomes very happy when she finds something.
She said that she is also working in a field, but stressed excavation works need more attention.
“We give the historical pieces we find to the professor. She gives us information about the historical piece. So, we learn about it. We treat our work delicately.”
Kıymet Altın said that they clean the surface before starting to dig the area.
Stating that the excavation work requires finesse, she said, “There are students here. When things come out, we show them. We learn together with them. They immediately take the measure of the piece and record it. We all come from the same neighborhood with friends. By working here, we contribute to our family economy. This is not like fieldwork. We are digging more carefully.”