Jump over to Bill Caraher’s blog and read about the archaeology of care. He made me dig a little deeper into my recollections.
On Thanskgiving Day 1999 I was in Turkey duing a survey of recent earthquake damage. We visited Gölcük, which had been devastated by an earthquake 3 months earlier. (You can read about our work in the essay Punk Archaeoseismology). President Clinton had just visited a few days earlier and promised aid. People who had nowhere else to go and who were not willing to risk life in damaged structures were living in canvas tents left over from WWI and makeshift shelters rigged from tarps. Some of those who were willing to risk living in damage structures had recently been killed by a major aftershock, so most people were outside. Byzantine landownership laws kept people in places they didn’t want to be. Winter was approaching. Mud. Lots of Mud.
At the time, I was studying ground deformations, tsunami runup and the like. I wasn’t studying the refugees and how they lived. These days, the temporary abodes are of more interest to me, in part because of our Man Camp project. But I remember the camps. That day, if you must know, burned in some of my strongest memories. Three boys, two with boots, one without, the oldest a little bit bent over, oversize gloves, one pair. Smiles. You’d be surprised how often these guys pop into my head. In hindsight, I wish I had stayed longer. My only good-luck charm came from a horrible spot on that day, and it reminds me just how much luck matters. Some photos below. If you want, notice the water bottles, electrical wires (and self-erected power pole), and t.v. antennae.