Muhibbe Darga (born June 13, 1921 in Istanbul) is grand daughter of Darugazade Mehmet Emin Bey, Sultan Abdülhamid’s first chamberlain, the poet and translator of Jules Verne’s novels from French into Turkish. Born in 1921 in a historical mansion with its suites allotted to ladies and gentlemen respectively, in Istanbul’s Asian part,
She was brought up by French governesses. She studied in Paris and Istanbul. Her father was a doctor and because of her father’s professional obligations, she traveled through the Anatolia of the 1930s with her family. Roman and Greek history, debates on art and literature were the staple fair at the dinner table of this intellectual family of the late Ottoman era. Moreover the family celebrated all religious rituals of the city like Christmas, Easter, Ramadan and sacrificial festivals, organizing fancy dress parties.
Muhibbe Darga attended Istanbul University’s Hittitology Department at the beginning of the 1940s. She would meet many notables of Archeology at this faculty, founded by Prof. Theodor Bossert who fled from Germany to Turkey. Her enthusiasm and extravert personality, excellence in French and German and of course passion for Archeology drew attention.
After Prof Bossert discovered Karatape, a very important excavation site from Hittite era, Darga accompanied him in late 40s. She learned a lot from her tutor on the significance of history and archeology, and the Turkey of those days, during their travels and investigations on horseback. After her researches on Archeology in Germany and France, Darga decided to concentrate on philology and then attained her professorship. In her book Woman in Anatolia, she indicated the status of women in this land and in her Hittite Art; she drew the attention of not only intellectuals but also the general public.
After attending several excavations, at the very end of the 1970s, she started to preside over the Şemsiyetepe historical site in the southeast of Turkey, which is now under water after a regional dam construction. After a decade of excavation efforts in Şemsiyetepe, just near the river Euphrates, she commenced Dorylaion, a Phrygian-Hittite settlement located in Eskişehir, Central Anatolia. She gave many lectures in Turkey and abroad. Presently the President of the Dorylaion excavations, Darga is also an honorary member of Turkish Antiquities’ Sciences Institute and reporting member of the German Archeological Institute.
The Lad(y)of Archaeology, Muhibbe Darga, a biography by Emine Caykara based on interviews. 2002, 2007.