What music does archaeologist Canan Cakirlar listen to?

This week it’s the playlist of Canan Cakirlar, assistant professor of zooarchaeology and the curator of osteological reference collections at the Groningen University Institute of Archaeology .


Bones, DNA and chemistry

Canan Cakirlar is an archaeologist who specializes in animal remains. She knows how to tell animal species apart, not by their hair colour, the shape of their tails, or the sounds they make – but by their bones, their DNA, and their chemistry. She’ll also know when they died, which environment they lived in, what they ate and whether they suffered from any diseases.

Symbolic meaning

‘This is not paleontology – I just use archaeological bones to understand human culture and interactions. Bones or shells are just a vehicle’, Cakirlar explains. ‘For example, I try to understand how farming evolved and how people brought the first domesticated animals to Europe.

Why are there huge differences in the way people acquire their food and process it today compared to the past. When did overfishing begin? How and why do people give symbolic meaning to certain animals, such as dogs, pigs, and Jacob shells ? How can we understand all of this and more from prehistoric times, when we don’t have the help of texts?”


Do you listen to music at/during work?

‘I do when I am on an excavation and I have to do a lot of analyses and experiments, but not when my work involves writing.’


Has your taste in music changed a lot over the years?

‘Like many teenage girls, I had a boyband phase (do we have to count that?!) and then perhaps like many teenage boys, I had a hard-rock phase, even leaning towards heavy metal.’


When you listen to Ramses Shaffy, do you understand the lyrics – or do you just enjoy his voice or music?

‘Not always. I understand the Doorgaan song’s lyrics – but I like him and what he stands for, as a part of Dutch culture, rather than all the reasons you mentioned. I like his music too.’


Where do you find new music? 

‘From friends.’


What is your favourite love song?

Madcon – Beggin. This was the song playing when I met my partner.’