The Media-Friendly 93-Year-Old Archaeologist

0214cig.jpgWhen we hit our sunset years, we only hope that we’ll give interviews half as well as 93-year-old Turkish archaeologist Muazzez Ilmiye Cig (pictured). In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel over the controversy in Turkey over the lifting of the headscarf ban, Cig took a controversial question and ran with it:

SPIEGEL: In one of your books, you claimed that the headscarf was worn by temple prostitutes in pre-Islamic days. Some people interpreted this as a direct insult to Muslim women. In 2006, you even appeared in a Turkish court on charges of “inciting hatred.”

Cig: I didn’t just claim it, I discovered it. The old cuneiform of the Sumerians describes how sexual rituals with young men were a religious requirement — one of many — for priestesses. These women wore veils over their faces to identify themselves. This is a historic fact. I’m a scientist. Whether this article of clothing, a sex symbol, is suitable as a moral calling card today is something for others to decide.

You know, it’s funny how an interview subject who’s nearly a centenarian can give better quotes than most twentysomethings.

(Image via AFP)