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The international team working at Tell Sabi Abyad consists of archaeologists, specialists and students from various countries, together between 20 and 25 individuals. Of course some of the team members are from Syria and the Netherlands, but others come from Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Algeria, Poland, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Some of us have come to Tell Sabi Abyad to acquire field experience. Some have come to work in their professional field: photographers, draughtsmen, cooks. Others have come to undertake specific scientific research: biologists for the bones and botanical remains, experts for the flint and the sherds, philologists to decipher the cuneiform texts.

We come from many different universities and research institutes, but we work together under the flag of Leiden University .

CLXIMGteam5.jpg_team How do we live? Every year we rent a simple house in the village of Hammam et-Turkman, close to the site. The house has been built according to old Syrian traditions: wholly made of mud bricks. A bit dusty, it is true, but cool during the day and pleasantly warm at night.
Our house has two large central courtyards surrounded by the living quarters and work rooms. It is sometimes cramped but very pleasant, and offers space for all the various activities.
We buy our provisions twice a week in the city of Raqqa, approximately a two-hour drive away from the village.

Our Syrian cook provides our meals three times a day. Our kitchen is of course Syrian! We get fresh drinking-water from a well some ten kilometres from our house.

It is hard work; an archaeological dig in Syria is certainly not a romantic adventure. We get up well before the break of dawn. When the sun rises, at around 5.30 A.M., we are already at work at the tell.

CLXIMGteam11.jpg_team Till late at night we are busy writing up our daily reports and dealing with the finds of that day.

However, there is not a better life, say those who know...