Voices from the Field (2016-06-16)

Geophysics 2016

Dan Plekhov

May saw the annual arrival of the geophysics team for three weeks of electrical resistivity survey at Kaymakçı, officially kicking off the 2016 KAP season! As part of an ongoing campaign aimed at mapping out potential structures and features below the site’s surface, this year focused primarily on areas outside the walls of Kaymakçı that we otherwise get little opportunity to explore. Our team this season was comprised of Dan Plekhov, Haley Chasteene, and Güzin Eren, who served as Acting Director of the project for the geophysics season.

 

 

Some of the areas we worked in were rough. Geophysical survey is always somewhat physically taxing, but this year we got to work in some particularly steep and overgrown areas. We soldiered on!

Other areas were far more pleasurable, and the joyous arrival of rain helped soften the soil and make our lives much easier.

But of course, rain or shine, being in the field was always worth it, if only for the views…

 

So thus ended another successful and wonderful season of geophysics at Kaymakçı, made successful and far more enjoyable by our incredible team, and all the other friends we made along the way! Onwards to excavation!

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

Voices from the Field (2015-06-15)

End of the Geophysics Season

Kyle Egerer, Güzin Eren, and Dan Plekhov

Hoşçakal Geophysics, Merhaba Excavation! (“See you later Geophysics, Hello Excavation!”)

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From Kaymakçı we are able to see weather systems building above Bozdağ, only to descend towards Bin Tepe and the site…

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It’s difficult to say which way storms will go, but it’s easy to keep an eye on the weather when it presents views like this!

 

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… in the thick of things!

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Other than storm clouds, we also had frequent visitors of a different type!

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A happy geophysics team at the conclusion of the season!

Voices from the Field (2015-05-31)

We’re back for the 2015 season!

After a relatively-dormant winter, our first “voice” from the field season of 2015 comes from the geophysics team that has been working since mid-May at Kaymakçı, located in the western Turkish province of Manisa, on the shore of Lake Marmara (the ancient Gygaean Lake, for those who don’t remember!). Expect many more posts over the coming weeks and months. We hope you enjoy!

The Directors

A resumption of geophysical survey

Güzin Eren, Kyle Egerer, Manny Moss, Dan Plekhov

The 2015 season marks the fourth consecutive season of electrical resistance survey at the Late Bronze Age site of Kaymakçı. This year we are expanding our area of investigation to include previously unsurveyed parts of the site.

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For those unfamiliar with geophysics, the Gygaia Projects blog, or archaeology in general, “geophysics” refers to an aspect of the geosciences that concentrates on the characteristics and physical processes of the earth’s crust. Geophysical survey methods are used in archaeology to identify and isolate subterranean cultural remains. As a non-invasive, site-intensive survey method, resistance survey has proven particularly productive at Kaymakçı because of its local geological and natural conditions.

By introducing a weak electrical current into the ground between probes moved at set intervals along a zigzag pattern, the technique allows us to distinguish stone walls from other man-made and natural features with differing levels of resistance to the flow of electricity. So far this season we’ve successfully surveyed 50 survey grids – 2 hectares!

Until very soon,
the 2015 Kaymakçı Geophysics team!!

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Voices from the Field (2014-08-05)

“All good things must come to an end”…

… at least temporarily. The excavation areas are now closed, and – in partnership with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Manisa Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, and Yaşar University – the Boston University Kaymakçı Archaeological Project has now rounded out its inaugural season! These new excavations supplement ten seasons of survey in the region, reinforcing the importance of Kaymakçı in our understanding of Bronze Age communities in the Marmara Lake basin and western Anatolia and the nature of their connections to central Anatolian and Aegean communities.

We are grateful to everyone who participated: 60+ crew members from communities in the region as well as those affiliated with various universities in the US (Boston, Cincinnati, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi State, Penn, Virgina Tech, UC Davis), Europe (Charles (Prague), Freiburg, Gröningen, UCL), and Turkey (Ege, Koç, Nevşehir, Yaşar, Yeditepe).

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We look forward to next year when the excavation areas and laboratories will reopen for what we hope to be another fruitful season. In the meantime, our work will focus on the many new opportunities brought forth by this season’s results, always making the most of collaborations with faculty and students throughout the academic year:

  • 3D illustrations of objects, architecture, and landscapes
  • lab analyses focusing on human-environmental interactions and subsistence economies
  • ongoing documentation of oral histories
  • collaborative development of a regional management plan
  • interpretation of new results and publication of previous work
  • continued design of the Gygaia Projects research and educational center, and
  • grant writing and fundraising to support all these activities.

Our partners still in Tekelioğlu and at Kaymakçı will continue to assist in many aspects of the project, too, from planning gardens, to preparing for the construction of the research and educational center, to remaining vigilant in the long-term protection and preservation of the site.

Also ongoing will be the weather station’s recorder – what better way to understand the impact of annual cycles of environmental conditions? Accompanying our WeatherBug and assisting our site guard, Ferit, will be an “eye in the sky,” a new night-vision enabled security system to help monitor the site while we are away.

Thanks to all for following our “Voices” from the eight weeks of this season – we’ll look forward to keeping you as up to date as possible over the coming months.

Until then, a traditional watery goodbye!

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Voices from the Field (2014-06-17)


Introductory comments

This post begins our series of Voices from the Field, a means of disseminating news about the activities of Gygaia Projects in a popular format. Work so far this year has included geophysical survey under the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey and a host of activities relating to the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project. For Voices from the Field, we’ve asked project participants to write up brief photo-reports based on talks with and visits to the various areas of activity that make up our research program. This week’s post comes from the directors and their leadership teams.

Housing and Food

As in past years, we’re based in the small community of Tekelioğlu. During this summer season, we make up 10% (30 people) of the population (300 people). Team members are set up in various rental houses with our base of operations at a central location that includes two laboratories (a “dirty” lab for conservation and environmental archaeology and a ceramic processing area) and a studio for architectural study, spatial modeling, and GIS research. We are at capacity and looking forward to the construction of a research and educational center – plans for which are underway!

Our cooks are once again making our work easier. Bread is baked on-site in earthen ovens and eggs – as well as lettuce and other produce – are fresh from the farm. As always, the olives and extra virgin olive oil from the surrounding fields are favorites.

“GygaiaNet”: A solar solution to real-time 3D recording

Chris Roosevelt

With the inception of excavation at Kaymakçı, the project has established an integrated recording solution that processes laser-scanning and photogrammetric point-cloud data into rendered digital models in near-real time to increase the efficiency of archaeological field recording. Needed for this system was a robust wireless connection between excavation site and labs and the electricity to power it. The implementation of this system, which we call “GygaiaNet” has included the installation of a Point-to-Point wireless system and a photovoltaic (PV) system to power it.

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The signal is beamed from an antenna on the third floor of our home base in Tekelioğlu over 6 km to Kaymakçı.

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The receiving antenna is on the tall bar of number four-shaped wireless-PV mast, between Sinan Ünlüsoy (Assistant Director for Excavations) and Peter Cobb (Assistant Director for Information Architecture). For reference, Tekelioğlu is on the lake shore between Peter and the car door.

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A team from Salihli installed the PV system. 

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The wireless-PV mast is anchored with guy wires to buffer against strong winds. From this central point, electric and fiber-optic cables carry the signal in three directions (visible to left and right along the ground) to wireless access points near each excavation area.

The system will be complete once we install a local weather station (to see just how strong local winds are!) and a wireless security camera to help monitor the protection of the site. 

Samples laboratory

Peter Cobb

As we excavate each context on Kaymakçı, large quantities of the material remains of Bronze Age culture are uncovered.  We find objects of everyday use such as ceramic bowls or animal bones, as well as the occasional special object made out of metal, stone, or other materials.  As we collect these, they become “samples”, which are brought to our Tekelioğlu base of operation.  Here, we sort them by type, photograph them and record important analytical data into our centralized database.  We have also begun to use a portable desktop laser scanner to create digital 3d models of some of the objects so they can be studied from anywhere in the world.  By collecting all of these data about the objects used in the past, we are able to understand how people lived thousands of years ago.

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Geophysical survey

Dominique Langis-Barsetti

Electrical resistance survey continued at Kaymakçı in preparation for the excavation season. 

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Electrical resistance survey is conducted by inserting mobile and remote probes into the ground at regular intervals and measuring the resistance of the completed circuit using specialised equipment. The data thus collected is processed into an image of the buried archaeological features (upper left corner).

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Although most of the processing is typically done in the lab, data can be checked in the field when necessary.

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Good ground moisture is preferred for electrical resistance, but dryer and harder soils can still be surveyed, albeit with increased difficulty.

Conservation

Caitlin O’Grady

During the first week of the KAP excavation season, conservation team members organized the new lab space, as well as prepared micro-chemical material characterization tests and mixed adhesives for use during the excavation season. Experimental mortar and grout mixtures, exposed to the elements since the end of the 2013 field season, were assessed by team members for condition, durability and weathering properties. The majority were in very good condition and selected recipes will be adopted for use with mudbrick and stone masonry on site.

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Environmental Archaeology

John (Mac) Marston

During the first week of the 2014 season, despite unseasonably cold and rainy weather, the environmental archaeology team set up our laboratory facilities, arranged for the construction of a new flotation tank, and scavenged the village for animal bones to begin to build a comparative collection. Flotation is the process by which ancient plant remains are separated from archaeological soils and requires a water source, pump, and tank for cleaning the soil and collecting the plant remains (mainly seeds). In order to identify animal bones from archaeological sites we compare fragments of bone found during excavation to skeletons of animals that lived near the site—a comparative collection—which we assemble from modern animal bones in the area today, burying them carefully to remove any remaining soft tissue through natural decay.

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