Thursday, 20 June 2013

Archaeology Career Interview: Burak Yolaçan

We caught up with Burak Yolaçan in Turkey to ask him about his career in archaeology and progress so far...

Where did you graduate and what are you doing now? 
I received my bachelor's degree from Ege University in the Department of Classical Archaeology in Izmir in 2003. I then started my MA degree in Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) the same year in September. In December I managed to get a research assistant position in the Department of Archaeology at DEU. It is a full-time position where you are more or less free to study on your thesis. 
I worked at Klaros excavations for 6 summers, 2001-2006, doing fieldwork, architectural drawing, photography and pretty much anything one does in an excavation. We didn't have a big budget but I think it helped all of us to gain experience in various things.

My MA thesis was about architectural space in sanctuaries focusing on the Oracle of Apollo at Klaros.

Since 2007 I have been working at Smyrna where there are 3-4 different excavation spots inside the modern city. I have been focusing on the agora of the city, mostly trying to finish my phd working on the basilica.
Burak Yolaçan

As of this month I got my phd with the "Agora Basilica of Smyrna" in DEU. 

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?Since I was a kid I have always wanted to be a "professor", I don't remember how that came into my mind. I started studying archaeology to be able to read Homeros in Ancient Greek first and then maybe I could have a career in archaeology. After 6 months though I understood my mistake; Ancient Greek wasn't for me, so then I focused on archaeology. Luckily I was able to get a position in a university in about 3 months after I graduated. 

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?I really don't know how to answer this; it's a long and difficult journey where you have to exceed yourself each and every day. If you insist though I guess I can say being able to get my phd can be counted as success. It's a nerve-wrecking process. 

I would also say being able to do a lot of fieldwork is success too. Doesn't mean anything alone of course but you learn something new everyday when you are on the field. 

Oh and I am also writing a chapter for a book that is planned to come out in 2014; maybe that will be my biggest success so far. Then again maybe calling something you have done at some point in your life success is misleading; you have to keep at it everyday. 

Who's your favourite archaeologist?All of those great people who just keep doing their job every single day on the fields, inside the classrooms, trying to make sense of life, show us where we came from and who we are.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Archaeology Career Interview: Author Rachel Grant

We caught up with Author Rachel Grant, Professional archaeologist and four-time Golden Heart® finalist, Rachel Grant writes contemporary romantic suspense with archaeological and historical storylines...

Rachel Grant
Where did you graduate (and what in) and what are you doing now? 
I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Florida State University in 1991. That same year I completed my archaeological field school with the University of Washington and left Florida for a job in Washington not long after graduation.

I spent the next ten years working in Cultural Resource Management—eight of those years in the Pacific Northwest and two in the Washington, D.C. area.

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology? How did you make the move towards becoming an Author?
Yes, I was thrilled and lucky to get a job right away after graduation. I spent one year as a dig bum and several years working as a staff archaeologist for small CRM firms.

Anyone who has ever sorted a bag of eighth-inch material from a shell midden knows how insanely boring that task can be, and to entertain myself I would spend my time coming up with ideas for archaeological mysteries. I'd known since high school I wanted to be a writer but studied archaeology because I needed something practical to fall back on.

Rachel Grant: Concrete Evidence
My husband is also an archaeologist (B.A. from University of Washington, M.A. in nautical archaeology from Texas A&M). Since receiving his M.A. he has worked as an archaeologist for different branches of the U.S. Department of Defense. In late 2001, his job took us to Hawaii for three years, at which time I left my job with a small CRM firm to raise our young daughter and finally pursue my dream of writing a novel. 

My books are firmly set in the world of contract archaeology. In Concrete Evidence the treasure hunter is the bad guy, and the heroine’s historical research was inspired by a project I worked on when I lived in the D.C. area. I love being able to bring authenticity to the world of archaeology in fiction and using the format to clear up some of the basic misconceptions about the profession.

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
My greatest success as an archaeologist was simply the fact that I was able to earn a living doing work I loved. There is nothing better than going to a new area—whether it’s a small town in Eastern Oregon to record a lithic scatter on the Oregon Trail, or flying to Sitka, Alaska to research an area for a Cultural Resources Management Plan—and getting paid to interview locals, visit museums, and hike in the woods. I’d do that on vacation!

My greatest success as an aspiring writer was signing with an amazing agent and finaling four times in the romantic suspense category of the Golden Heart contest.

My greatest success as an author is receiving glowing reviews and fan mail. There is nothing more thrilling than knowing people are enjoying my books.

Read more about Rachel's books on her website: and group blog: