Malahini in Greece and Turkey

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Demotico in Corinth


Web Page for Greek Elementary SchoolIt has been a while since I have written anything here, but I want to add a link to the school that I visited in Corinth. Demotico is the Elementary school. This site is in Greek, so you may not understand, but there are lots of pictures including pictures of student work (cool!)


Follow Up to Arsinoe


Well, we made it home… but boy was it a LONG trip. We were on the road for more than 24 hours. We took 5 taxi rides, one ferry, three flights, one night’s hotel stay, and at least 8 hours of layover to get home!

Arsinoe in VideoWhen I did get home I found an interesting comment about Arsinoe in my email. Check out this website from a teacher in the US who is doing a video production about Arsinoe! He asked about DNA testing. Here is my response:
I took a look at your website and read the story of Arsinoe. It looked like what the archaeologists had told me except for the last statement. Hilka Thuer, one of the archaeologists at Ephesus, suggested in an article in the late 1990s that the octagonal tomb near the terrace houses was for Arsinoe and it was her bones that they found here. I suppose that either Encyclopedia Britannica did not know of the article OR that it chose not to put that information into the article because it was not 100% sure. Although the archaeologists that I talked to at Ephesus said that they could not prove that it is Arsinoe for certain, they were pretty sure and said that there was no reason to think it was not.

They have tried DNA testing on the bones to confirm for sure where the skeleton was from, but there was not enough DNA material left in the bones to give them a reading. The first time the tomb was open they took the skull and teeth out because at that time they didn’t care about the bones. In the meantime the skull and teeth have gone missing. It is unfortunate because there are some new tests for teeth that can show information that would be helpful. Who knows, maybe it will be found someday!

It used to be that bones were not considered to be important and archaeologists just threw them away! Now that there are scientific tests that can be done to tell us more information it is difficult to find bones that have been well preserved with information about the context where they were found.




I saved this for my final post because I was hoping to get to some more special mosques. Now I have learned that the best ones are in other cities. Here in Selchuk the mosques are small. Every town has one or two small mosques with a minarette that you can see from far away. The minarettes have speakers on them and there is a call to prayer 5 times a day. Here in western Turkey you hear the call to prayer, but there is no visible change in the business that goes on, but I am guessing that in cities further east you would notice people going to prayer after the call. Here are some pictures of small mosques.






Here in Selchuk there is one large Mosque which is historic called the Isabey Mosque. It was built in the 1300s and has been partially restored recently. We were able to take time to go inside the Isabey Mosque and it is beautiful inside. I think that the mosques in other cities are even more beautiful. We were able to meet the Imam (like the priest) in this mosque and talk with him. He was very nice and reminded me of other Islamic friends that I have because he was so kind and sincere.

Isabey Mosque

Isabey Mosque

Isabey Mosque

This will be my last posting for this blog since tomorrow we begin our travels home. See you next trip!



Turkish Identity


First I would like to start out with a few thoughts:

1. A few days ago I connected a map to this blog which records the number of visits to the page. Either it isn’t working… or I am the only person visiting it! I guess that it is still a good record of what I am doing and seeing. There were comments from my sister, Susie and also my friend Trish which do not show up on the map, so maybe it is not working???

2. Leo and Urban, I wish I could see you swimming, splashing and laughing in the Rock Quarry! We have swum several times in the ocean in Greece and yesterday Steve went swimming in Turkey. The ocean water is a nice temperature for swimming, not too cold, but not too warm.

3. TWINS!! Actually, Artemis is a twin! Her twin brother is Apollo, who is known as someone who gives advice to people based on his knowledge of the future. Yesterday we went to a big temple dedicated to him in Didema. It was about a 2 hour drive from Selchuk where we are.

4. Here are a few pictures that I forgot to include earlier. One is of a few amphora that were found in the terrace houses. It shows how they were buried to keep the wine in them cool. The other is of some ancient graffiti in the terrace houses. I am baffled why someone who had beautiful paintings done on the wall would allow people to scratch things into it, but the graffiti is thought to be from the same time as the paintings and not modern.

amphora in the terrace houses Graffiti in the terrace houses

Now for a little bit about Turkey as a country. Here is a link to a site with a map of Turkey and pictures of different areas. It is a huge country. Here is a map from the Perry-Castaneda Map Collection at the University of Texas.

map of Turkey

You can see from the red line that we have only seen a very small part of the west of the country. Turkey is a country that is really between the Arabic east and the West. On the far east border is Iraq which we have been hearing a lot about in the United States. Turkey is trying to become part of the European Union which is a group of countries that has decided to use a common currency (the Euro) and also has many other economic and political agreements.

There are many Turks who would like to be more like the west and there are many who feel this is not good and want to be more like the Arabic east. Some feel the connection with Turkish Identity Statuethe European Union would be a good thing and others feel like it is denying a big part of important national identity.

There is one statue that I saw that described one view of Turkish identity in an interesting way. It has many statements on it like “I am for an Independent Turkey”, “I am a Secularist.”, “I am enemy of fanatics, thieves, opportunists and exploiters”, and “I am a follower of Ataturk”.

Ataturk is a very important figure in Turkish history. He is sort of like our George Washington. Everyone knows who he is and there are pictures and statued of him everywhere. He lived in the early 20th century and brought Turkey from the time of royal dynasties to the modern age. He wanted Turkey to be a bridge between the West and the East. You see statues and pictures of him everywhere.


One of the Seven Wonders of the World


Timeline I am including a timeline again because I find myself getting confused about the order that thing happened and then it is hard for me to make sense of anything. I have added Arsinoe and Celsus and also the Artemis Temple. I hope that it is helpful.

Today I visited one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. You can read more about them at Wikipedia The one I visited today was the Artemis temple in Ephesus. Artemis was Greek goddess of the hunt. The Romans had a similar goddess that they called Diana.
Greek Artemis Ephesian Artemis

Look at these two pictures. They are both statues of Artemis. The one on the right is the Ephesian Artemis. People think that maybe the Ephesians combined the traits of an earlier local goddess to Artemis to create this different looking goddess. This represenation of Artemis is known as the Ephesian Artemis and was recognized by people all over the ancient world. The one on the left is the way that the Greek Artemis was shown. It is the more familiar image of Artemis.
Artemis Temple now Artemis Temple model

Here are pictures of the temple. If you come to Ephesus today you will see the temple looking like the picture on your left. The picture on your right is a model of the temple that you can see in the museum. It shows what the temple looked like in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. It stood for several centuries. The temple is built in a place where the water table is low and so now it is like a pond. You can see ducks, storks and a lot of turtles here.


This is the place where Arsinoe tried to hide, but in the end was killed. Here is a picture of the octagonal tomb they found and a diagram of what they whole thing looked like.

octagon photo octagon drawing

You can also look at another of the seven wonders in my earlier blog. [link to other blog entry] It is a huge statue of Zeus found in Olympia where the Olympic games were first held.

Ephesus House Ephesus terrace courtyard

I haven’t written much about the huge archaeological site here at Ephesus, or about the museum. There is just so much to see it is hard to know where to start. If you do come here it is worth paying extra to see the terrace houses. There is a lot preserved to give you an idea of at least how rich people lived in ancient times. The rest of the site is HUGE also and full of interesting buildings and fountains. There is just SO much to see.

Archaeologists feel the same way. Now they dig very carefully recording and drawing EVERY little thing that they find. However, about a hundred years ago when the field of archaeology was young the archaeologists dug very quickly and were always looking for BIG things like statues that they could take to museums in their own countries. In doing this they destroyed lots of clues that would help us to learn about history. In Ephesus the early archaeologists dug HUGE areas to find whole streets and stadiums, but in doing so they did not record many details that would be helpful to know.

YoyoToday I will end with a few small things. At the Austrian Institute (where the archaeologists eat, work and stay when not out at the excavation) there is the cutest little kitty named Yo Yo. I thought you might like to see her picture.

Also, my mother is always interested in what I am eating, so I thought I should try to explain a bit. Every morning we have breakfast at the hotel as part of staying here. They give us a plate with a piece of cheese, some peeled tomato slices, olives, a slice of orange and then a basket of bread with things to spread on it like jam, honey, butter and cream cheese. They also server us coffee (in a little pot at the table, similar to what we drink at home) or tea. Austrian Institute Ephesus

For lunch and dinner we have been eating with the Austrians at the Austrian Institute. They always start their meal with a bowl of soup. This is an Austrian custom, not a Turkish one. Then there is usually some kind of rice and a dish with some meat and vegatables that was probably cooked in the oven. The unique things about eating here are that there is always a thin yogurt drink at the table that looks like thick milk. This is Turkish. Austrian Institute insideAt the table besides salt and pepper there is always a glass of lemon juice that you can add to your soup, or the water you are drinking or anywhere else you want more flavor. There is also a bowl on the table with red pepper flakes for the same reason. They are not too hot. After lunch they serve some fruit (we have had watermelon and cherries) and then we retire to the outer courtyard and we are brought esspresso.

It seems like dinner is about the same. A few times we have eaten at restaurants and the main foods are shish kabob (meat grilled on a stick) or stuffed peppers and tomatos. They have stuffed grape leaves as an appetizer along with many other things. There are lots of stores that sell Turkish Delight. It is pretty good. They also have lots of places where ice cream cones are sold. The ice cream is a little different, but good. We will probably eat out more this weekend and I will see what I can find out!


The Story of Arsinoe


bones of Arsinoe I know that you have been waiting unable to sleep since you read about Arsinoe yesterday and you are wondering what the archaeologists found yesterday. Here is what you have been waiting for.

Arsinoe was a younger sister of Cleopatra and they were princesses in the royal family of Egypt. People did not know whether Arsinoe or Cleopatra would be the next queen, so they were both treated very specially. When she was about 10 the people who were advising her opposed Julius Caesar and they lost and she was paraded through Rome as an enemy who had been conquered. She was then put in jail for several years. When she was released she feared for her life. She was afraid of people who opposed her but also afraid of Cleopatra, who she thought might like to get rid of her to have a claim to the throne. In order to hide she went into the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. In the temple she was protected and no one was allowed to harm her.
arsinoe's tombUnfortunately, this only lasted for a few years when Cleopatra decided she should be killed. No one knows how this was done. What we do know is that there was a monument to her with an octagonal building over it and inside the crypt were found bones of a 16-year old. In her short life she had incredible adventures. This is a picture of the ruins of her monument. It is hard to tell that it was octagonal and so I am going to look for a better picture to add to the blog.

The project that Steve (my husband) is working on involves finding bones of rich and poor people and doing chemical analysis on the bone material. From that analysis he is hoping to find out more about their diets and about their lives. Arsinoe is important in this because she was definitely a very rich person.

Here in Ephesus they have also found many identifiable bones of Gladiators. They were not rich people, but they had a very specific diet and so the chemical analysis of their bones would be interesting also.

Celsus Library One other rich person was Celsus. He was governor of the province and was honored with a huge library. The picture shows the front (façade of the building) and there is a sarcophagus for him built right into the ground. Until yesterday no one knew if there were still bones in the sarcophagus. Several problems had to be surmounted to find out if the bones were there. The door to the small room under the library was locked and no one had the key. After the lock was broken there was another problem. Celsus Library filming There was a film crew making filming and they would not let us into the monument to get to the sarcophagus. They said it would be another 15 minutes. An hour or so later a small group of us were allowed to go into an area that is closed to the public and to look inside the sarcophagus.

inside the tomb A picture taken with a digital camera held into the crack between the top of the sarcophagus and the box showed that THERE WERE BONES! This boy standing near the hole is the son of one of the archaeologists who work here.

Hole in the sarcophagus Now they hope to open the sarcophagus and take the bones out for the project. Archaeology can be pretty exciting.


First Impressions of Turkey


I have now been in Turkey for a little more than 24 hours, so I am just going to give you a short idea of what I am seeing in my first hours. There are lots of things that I will be writing about in the next few days and it is hard to wait, but I won’t say it all at once!

Here are some things that have surprised me as I walked around. outdoor marketOutdoor markets. Storks.storks Carpets carpets

carpet store One of the things that many people do in Turkey is to buy Carpets. Turkish carpets are known world wide for their beauty. Today I visited Ali who sells carpets and kilim close to the Austrian Institute here in Selchuk. He He talked to me about the carpets and showed me many carpets. Ali showed me how a good carpet is made and also showed me some carpets made for sale and others that were made for use by a family. He also explained that kilim are more simple rugs and do not have the thickness of a wool carpet. Ali-carpet salesmanWhat impressed me the most was that Ali is most interested in building trust and a good relationship with the people who buy carpets. Of course he wants to sell his carpets, but he first wants to have a good relationship with the people he sells to. He offered me tea and told me stories about selling carpets and his family also. Ali introduced me to his mother who is pictured here. f you ever go to Selchuk you should look him up at Agora Carsisi No 8/9 or email him at [email protected] Ali and his Mom

Each archaeological site is controlled by the country that it is located in, but often the people who have been digging in that area for a long time (hundreds of years) come from a certain country or University. The dig in Corinth is an American Dig and is run by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA). The Austrians are in charge of the dig at Ephesus.
veterenarians working on bones One of the first things that we did when we arrived here was to make contact with the person Steve is working with named Fabian Kunz. He is an Anthropologist who specializes in bones. He can take small pieces of bones and figure out all kinds of information about where they come from. He can tell the difference between an animal bone and a human bone and even separate lots of small pieces of bone to figure out how many people they represent. He works with some other guys who are actually veteranarians who work on animal bones. One of them is a specialist in fish! One exciting thing he showed me was the skull of a lion. lion bone
arsinoe Tomorrow I will tell you more about these bones. They are of Arsinoe who was a sister of Cleopatra! She was banished and there is more you will want to hear about her death! I will also tell you about a new find of bones that surprised even the archaelogists today! Bone of Arsinoe


Happy 4th of July!


Our balcony at Kokkara It does seem a bit strange to be here so far away on Independence Day! I am actually in Turkey now. We took a ferry this morning from Samos to Kushadisi, which is a port city. The ferry took about an hour and a half and then we took a taxi to Selchuk, which is the town near Ephesus. I really don’t know much about that yet, so I will hold off telling you much about Turkey yet.

Internet Cafe from the outside First I want to tell you a few final things about Samos. Here are pictures of the Internet café where I posted blogs and checked email each day. It had one station where you could plug in your laptop and several computers available for people to use. Internet Cafe from the Inside

Yesterday I took a day off from blogging and we went on a drive around the whole island. It is beautiful. The road around the island takes you to heights where you can look down and see the coastline for a long way.
Samos Island View potami beach

Megala Seitami Beach

Samos-Manolates Street We took one side trip to Manolates. We drove up and up and when we thought we were at the top there were a few restaurants and a parking lot. We parked and decided to explore a little. We walked up and up and up and were surprised to find a potter and several artist stores and then more walking through pretty houses and finally a restaurant on the very top.

Samos-top of Manolates

Here are some things we ate:
fish Fish-they called it Sea Breem and said it was from very deep in the ocean. They are the smaller fish in the middle of the picture and are served after frying whole. You first take of the head, then the tail and then carefully eat the nice white meat in the middle.

Greek Yogurt Yogurt and honey-The yogurt here is totally different than ours. It is VERY thick. They serve it with honey and fruit. This is what I had for breakfast one morning!

Samos-soccer on the big screen When we were eating we were often watching the World Cup Soccer Games. It is fun to be in a country where people are so interested in the games. In Kokkara there were lots of Germans and they went around town with their flag painted on their faces and waving flags when Germany played.


Cat Blog


While I only saw one cat in Corinth I am seeing cats everywhere in Samos.  They seem to be cared for, but free.  On the steps in front of one shop I saw a napkin with some dry catfood on it and in one of the pictures you will see a food dish.  Today the blog will be mainly a display of the cats that I photographed while walking through town yesterday.
Cat     cat


cats close up

cat playing


P.S.  I forgot to answer Susie’s question about the types of pictures in the tombs.  Here is another picture.  Most of the tombs were not painted.  It is hard to tell what the decorations are, but they do look like mostly decoration rather than words or something telling a story.
pictures in a tomb


Internet Cafe in Samos and other things

Samos beach cafes We found a great place to stay in Kokari on Samos. We have a small room on the second floor overlooking the beach. We get a wonderful sea breeze and the sound of the pounding surf while we sleep. Last night we wandered out to find a place to eat and found this restaurant with a patio right on the beach. In fact the whole beach is lined with restaurants with tables only a few feet from the water. The world cup game between Italy and Ukraine was on huge screens all around the bay. It was amazing.

I am going to answer questions from the Corinth blogs before I tell you more about Samos.

The Plateia
busy plateia in Corinth It is actually very busy. I was aiming to take pictures of cars and it was early in the morning, so you didn’t see many people. Almost all of the time the plateia is full of men…mostly older men who sit and drink coffee (and other beverages) and talk. In the evenings there are so many men sitting in cafes that it is uncomfortable as a woman to go there. I am usually with a group of people, so it is OK for me to go out to a restaurant, but it is pretty weird for a woman alone. I guess the wives are home doing the work and taking care of the kids.

The other time the plateia is busy is when tour busses come through. There is sort of a regular schedule of tour busses and groups of tourists who go to the shops and eat in the restaurants. There are also smaller groups of tourists in their own cars or rental cars that come at different times. I do see women, but mostly they are coming or St. Peter and St. Paul Celebrationgoing to the church or to the Super Markets (there are two-and really they are small stores).

It was extremely busy Thursday evening after there was a special Orthodox service held at the archaeological site celebrating the feast days of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29th).

I don’t know anything really about Greek Bats…. sorry, maybe someone who does will write. They were going out at night to eat insects.

Steve the Archaeologist Steve at the dig

Here is some proof that Steve actually did wear the cowboy hat on the dig and also proof that the style was not catching on.

Basin Uses
basinThis basin was lined with plaster, which means that it was meant to hold water. It was probably some kind of cistern. It is hard to tell what it was used for. There is still about three fourths more to dig. Next year they will finish and MAYBE know more about how it was used. They did find bits of iron and bronze, about 7000 pieces of broken pottery and lots of coins. Steve says that when you are digging you never know what else you are going to find that will fill in the picture.

Thanks for the very imaginative, if not believable, story about the tools in the tombs.

Susie was right about the Internet in Samos. There are two places we can use the Internet in this little town. I am not sure how inexpensive it is, but it is OK. They charge 1 euro for every 15 minutes (about $1.30 for a Euro).

Next blog entry will have more about Samos and about the cats. I hope you all are reading the comments. This blog will be shared at NECC (National Educational Computing Conference) in San Diego on July 5th along with many other things that the John Muir school is doing. This is a huge conference. Look for links to it in the comments. Also there was great additonal information about the Dig Dog (Norma) from Guy Sanders who is the director of the excavation at Corinth and the person that Norma likes best.