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.

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