Voices from the Field (2019-07-14)

Archaeologists cannot stay away from archaeology

Nami Shin

Here at Kaymakçı, we work hard everyday to learn more about the ancient people who once inhabited the citadel. Our team includes many different specialists: excavators, zooarchaeologists, archaeobotanists, ceramicists, conservators, sediment chemists, and 3D spatial analysts. We happily work to identify the different plants, animals, ceramics, etc. used or kept on site in antiquity despite the sometimes intense daily heat and routine early morning starts.

Our team is hard-working and focused on research, but we still know how to have fun! On days off many team members like to venture to other places in the area. Some team members, like our archaeobotanist, like to spend their days off at the beach.

Our archaeobotanist standing at a pier in Ayvalık

In chatting with other team members, it seems most of our archaeological team simply cannot stay away from archaeology, even on their days off!

 A few team members exploring Assos.

The team enjoys their days off, but as you can tell we enjoy archaeology even more. Washing bones, floating sediment samples, digging in the dirt, and more are where our biggest smiles are found!

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2019-06-21)

Exploring Daily Life at Kaymakçı: Work in Area 109.523

Dalila Alberghina

When you spend every morning in a trench for two months, somehow that trench becomes your home, as much as your team becomes your family. The 2019 field season is my second year in a row as the area supervisor in area 109.523, and it’s the second and third season for other people on our team as well! This not only creates a better atmosphere among team members, it also greatly enhances the outcome of our daily work in the field because each one of us is already familiar with the area and the materials that had been and are being excavated.

Looking for artifacts in the sieve. We sieve all the soil we excavate to find small ceramics and pieces of bone.

The area we are currently working in is located in the so-called Southern Terrace, located outside the Inner Citadel but within the larger outer line of fortification walls that encircled the entire settlement during the Late Bronze Age.

The “Southern Terrace.” The current road roughly follows the route of the ancient road through the site, past area 109.523 (in the foreground), up to the Inner Citadel.

While the general layout of this part of the settlement was already known thanks to geophysical  survey conducted between 2012 and 2016, the excavations (beginning in 2014) provided a great opportunity to understand and reconstruct the nature of domestic occupation and to grasp the essence of daily life of people living at the site during the 15th, 14th, and 13th centuries BCE.

Results of geophysical survey in the Southern Terrace. The large buildings being excavated in area 109.523 are found throughout this part of the site. (From Roosevelt et al. 2018)
Area 109.523 from the air, looking east. The stepped sondage in the southwestern corner (at bottom right) has recently encountered sterile deposits and bedrock, well beneath the architectural level(s).

In a nutshell, we are literally sticking our nose inside other people’s houses! The work in area 109.523, in fact, focuses on the investigation of long rectilinear buildings separated by alleys or corridors and aligned perpendicular to a street that connected this part of the settlement to the Inner Citadel. The main contexts we have been exploring in these first two weeks are two of these domestic units, internally divided into different rooms by small walls. How were people using these spaces in their daily lives? This is what small but crucial details try to tell us, from the differences in the texture and color of the soil to the distribution of ceramic sherds, bones, and other artifacts.

Objects for textile production from 109.523 and other areas, including spindle whorls, loom weights, and needles. (From Roosevelt et al. 2018)

And so day by day, paying attention to details, we get a perhaps more complex but better picture of daily life at Kaymakçı, from the way people prepared and stored their food to other daily activities conducted within the domestic units and in abutting corridors and alleys. In the next weeks we will continue our exploration of other parts of area 109 to add more pieces to the puzzle! In the meantime, you can learn more about this area, as well as other parts of the site, by reading a recent article published by our team.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2017-07-17)

Learning about Local Ceramic Production

Catherine Scott

One of the many benefits of a study season is the chance to follow new lines of research that we wouldn’t have time for during a normal field season. This year, a number of team members were lucky enough to visit Gökeyüp, a village on the outskirts of the Gediz Valley, and watch the traditional production of ceramics. This is our first trip since excavation began at Kaymakçı, though we have visited the village multiple times over the past 15 years as part of the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS).

Ceramicist Peter Pavúk studies the unfired pots, which have been drying in the sun.

Ceramics before firing (below) and after firing (above).

Wet clay ready to be mixed with mica.

Our area has been known for producing “goldwash” pottery since the second millennium BCE. “Goldwash” generally refers to ceramics that have a deep gold or bronze color following firing, which is created using local mica. In Gökeyüp, mica is used as a temper to strengthen cooking pots, and as a wash or slip to make them shine. Goldwash ceramics are also found at Kaymakçı, though their method of production seems to be different. That said, observing modern production can still be informative.




This pot has a silver spot where it wasn’t heated evenly.

All the ceramics are made by hand by women who have passed down the skill over time. For this firing, they made 800 objects in two weeks!





When pots are ready to be fired, the potters build a circular pyre and stack the ceramics on top, covering them with wood. The location of the pyre here is in the street, at an intersection that gets a lot of wind to stoke the flames. The firing takes anywhere from about 30 minutes to two hours, and is carefully controlled.

The firing is a social event. Neighbors came to help and to watch, and even cooked potatoes on the embers for a snack! We are very thankful for the opportunity to have observed and participated in this local tradition.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2017-07-07)

Ebru in Tekelioğlu

Christina Luke

The first weekend in July brought ebru (marbling) artist Nedim Sönmez to Tekelioğlu. He offered ebru and papermaking workshops for the children of the village. Short lectures and videos covered the history of these crafts in Turkey, and then the students had many opportunities to try the crafts themselves.






Children were able to share ideas and approaches for two days. At the end of the workshops, they brought their art back to their families.

 

Nedim is the director of Ege University’s Paper and Book Arts Museum in Bornova, Izmir, as well as an established and well-known artist. This is his second workshop with our project.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2017-07-06)

Sweet Treats: Baking American Pies in Turkey for the Fourth of July

Emily Wilson and Caitlin O’Grady

The 4th of July means many things for Americans: the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, barbeques, family and friends, and fireworks. For many Americans, it also means fruit pies, a dessert that is especially popular on this holiday. This year, we decided to make fruit pies for our annual 4th of July barbeque – a taste of the US while working in Turkey. But making these pies was not without its challenges.

Shopping - do you think we have enough ingredients?

So much butter!

Prepping cherries.

Making a lattice crust.

Our baking challenge.

 

 

 

Using the oven, which cooks only one pie at a time at a constant and unknown temperature, gave the bakers an even greater appreciation for the cooks who use it everyday to make our food!

One crust completed, 2 more to finish.




So many delicious pies! 

Ready for feasting!

The pies and crumble were safely transported down to the shores of Lake Marmara for the holiday barbeque. Without exception, they were proclaimed a delicious success!!!

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2017-06-16)

An exchange

Christina Luke

Last week, the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project (KAP) and the Fen Bilimleri School in Salihli had the opportunity to spend the day together. After tea, fresh apricots and homemade pastries, the students were split into three groups.


  • Project and school leadership meet.


  • Beautiful apricots from the Şener's garden.


 

In the ceramic lab, they were shown recording methods and 3D scanning. In the conservation lab, students learned about objects and science, and they tried to mend broken plates (from the local department store Kipa). It was hard!

In the zooarchaeology lab, they discussed the details of studying bones from the archaeological record to understand food patterns but also arts – wool and leather especially. KAP team members introduced students to using 3D images and virtual reality to determine the difference between sheep and goat bones.







In the afternoon, KAP members visited the school in Salihli. During a lovely poolside lunch, we met the director and talked with teachers and students about their school and future collaborations with KAP. We were impressed by their English and felt ashamed that we didn’t speak more Turkish!  

 

We were then shown the lower school, including the terrific chess room. We toured the main building to see classrooms as well as the wonderful café on the upper floor. Our time ended with a visit to the horses. We learned that this part of the curriculum promotes civil engagement and appreciation of animals.




Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2016-07-10)

Newcomers at Kaymakçı!

Haley Chasteene and József Puskás

Newcomers to an archaeological project usually have a period of adjustment. Luckily, here at Kaymakçı, a fast-paced learning environment and very friendly team and staff can help alleviate newbie stress. Haley is a recent graduate from San Diego State University and has a background in the archaeology of California. Joska received a MA degree from BBU from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and has experience in excavating Bronze Age sites in Transylvania. We both decided to join this project to widen our knowledge of digital archaeological technologies and to experience a new environment.

Teamwork: Haley Chasteene recording coordinates with the RTK GPS, while Joska Puskas holds digital photogrammetry target in place.

Teamwork: Haley Chasteene recording coordinates with the RTK GPS, while Joska Puskas holds a digital photogrammetry target in place.

We enjoy the opportunity to learn and use a more digitally based recording system.

Recording new features in our excavation area.

Recording new features in our excavation area.

Our staff lives in villages surrounding Kaymakçı. Having daily exposures to local culture and language is just another perk of this already rewarding archaeological experience.

Çay mola. One of our favorite times of the day.

Çay mola. One of our favorite times of the day.

Every day we continue to widen our knowledge of a paperless digital recording system, while also spanning our view of Turkish culture and language. We are very thankful to be a part of the team.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2016-06-19)

A new season at Kaymakçı!

Chris Roosevelt & Christina Luke

We’re back in the field for another excavation season of the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project. Storage depots and excavation areas have been reopened, the team has arrived from universities in Turkey, Europe, and the US, general orientations are complete, and we are moving fully forward to continue to explore this ever surprising citadel from around 3500 years ago.

We hope you enjoy following the project’s progress as the season unfolds!

 

It’s back to early mornings again for an enthusiastic team (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

We broke ground in excavation areas at Kaymakçı, overlooking scenic Lake Marmara and environs, and held introductory orientations for participants on site and in labs (Photo: Chris Roosevelt)

Catherine Scott (Boston University PhD Candidate and Koç University ANAMED Fellow) discusses excavation strategies with Sinan Ünlüsoy (KAP Assistant Director, Yaşar University) (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

Training in the recording system with Ebru Ayten (Middle East Technical University), as well as Veli Tekin and Mustafa Çelebı (Büyükbelen) (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

Haley Chasteene (recent UCSD grad), József Puskás (Babeş-Bolyai University), and Jana Mokrišová (University of Michigan PhD Candidate and Koç University ANAMED Fellow) plot their plan of action (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

Necmettin Akar (Büyükbelen), Rojda Arslan and Hazel Özmen (Koç University), and Dan Plekhov (Brown University) consider different problems across an excavation area (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2016-06-03)

Ceramics is in the air! Discussing pottery evidence at Kaymakçı

Peter Pavúk

 

 

It was with great pleasure that I joined, even if only for 10 days, the resident Gygaia team in Istanbul, more specifically my colleagues working at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED).

My experience working extensively at excavations and in museum collections in Western Anatolia, the Aegean, and Europe (most notably my 15 years at the site of ancient Troy) has helped me a lot to frame the new finds from Kaymakçı, where I serve as one of the senior ceramic analysts. Unsurprisingly, the main aim of my visit to Istanbul centered around planning the upcoming 2016 field season, discussing with Christina Luke and Chris Roosevelt various prospects, but also publication strategies. I was given also a tour of the impressive Koç University campus in Sarıyer, including the Koç University Surface Science and Technology Center (KÜYTAM ), for archaeological and other scientific analyses.

In addition to my work at Kaymakçı, I am also involved in collaboration with the German team at Pergamon, where I previously participated in evaluation of the data from the prehistoric survey in the central and lower Kaikos Valley. I am currently also involved in a re-study of the pottery and stratigraphy of the so called early fortification, published originally as Archaic (6th century BCE) by W. Radt, but later re-dated to Middle/Late Bronze Age (mid 2nd millennium BCE) by D. Hertel. Therefore, I also managed to do some work in the Pergamon Archive.

While the processing and analysis of objects is certainly the focus of my work, the opportunity to travel during the year and meet with fellow researchers in collaborative environments is extraordinarily valuable. Not only was I able to meet with colleagues from Gygaia Projects and Pergamon, but I also had the opportunity to listen to lectures and sit and talk with friends based at various archaeological institutes in Istanbul.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!

Voices from the Field (2016-03-09)

The word is getting out! Gygaia Projects directors present on various aspects of the project

Christina Luke and Chris Roosevelt

Scholarly conversation takes place in many venues, one of which is through the presentation of new data and ideas at conferences and as part of lecture series. Such presentations offer an exciting opportunity to collaborate with and get feedback from colleagues around the world.

In mid-February, Christina Luke attended a terrific conference and workshop entitled: “New Approaches to Historic Landscapes.” Her presentation focused on the construction of "heritage and history" through the lens of sovereignty in the Gediz Valley. The title of her paper was "Deep Time: Cultural Landscapes from Antiquity to Modernism in the Gediz Valley, western Turkey”. Christina asked how "the right heritage" is often celebrated at the expense of other historical narratives. She argued that historical landscape analysis offers one way forward in understanding change over time. The sessions were supported by a British Academy Newton Fund Advanced Fellowship, and led by Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Turkey) and Newcastle University (UK). It is our hope to collaborate with various new colleagues to begin a historic landscape analysis of the Gediz Valley.

Photo Credit: Néhémie Strupler, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut

 

Chris Roosevelt recently spoke on two occasions about the ongoing work of Gygaia Projects. His first talk took place at the German Archaeological Institute as part of their ongoing lecture series. The title of his paper was “A Forgotten Capital in Late Bronze Age Central Western Anatolia: Kaymakçı in the Marmara Lake Basin.” Chris talked briefly about the results of the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey, which found a network of second-millennium BCE citadels around Lake Marmara, and presented some initial results of the ongoing excavations at Kaymakçı under the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project. His talk was well attended by members of the archaeological community in Istanbul.

At the Turkish Art and Culture Lecture Series of the Turkish Cultural Foundation, Chris’s talk “Archaeology, Technology, and Sustainability: Approaches to the Past in the Gediz Valley, Western Turkey” addressed the sustainability of archaeological practice and data. He discussed various non-invasive archaeological techniques, including aerial photography and remote sensing, and also explained the digital recording system of the project as a way of making it possible to "re-excavate" sites digitally. (See Chris’s open-source article with fellow project members Peter Cobb, Manny Moss, Brandon Olson, and Sinan Ünlüsoy, titled “Excavation is Destruction Digitization: Advances in Archaeological Practice” for more information on the latter topic!)

Photo Credit: Jana Mokrisova

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!