Voices from the Field (2016-07-14)

Floating at Kaymakçi

Emily Johnson

So, what does it take to transform bags of unremarkable soil samples into analyzable carbonized material? At the Kaymakçi Archaeological Project, this involves a large orange flotation tank and a lot of water pressure.

In order to deliver water to the tank so that we can dissolve the soil and leave the carbonized remains floating on the surface of the water, an electric-powered pump pushes water up a hill to a repository, where it then flows back down the hill. The floatation team is able to take advantage of the water pressure both as it is being pushed up the hill and as it is falling back down in order to help release stubborn carbonized plant and seed parts from the soil.

Of course, this often involves a bit of troubleshooting, including building a series of canals to divert water flow, dealing with temperamental hoses and valves, and managing the local wildlife.

In the end, the carbonized remains that are analyzed during the off-season are invaluable in helping the project to understand the life and environment of the people living at Kaymakçi.

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 (2016-06-29)

What happens when you don’t excavate for two years? – reviewing excavation area protection measures

Caitlin R. O’Grady

Every season, we spend a lot of time and effort implementing measures to protect excavation areas between field seasons. This includes “wrapping” architecture, scarps and baulks with geotextile, a water permeable cloth made from thermally bonded non-woven polypropylene fibers. The geotextile protects these features minimizing erosion and plant growth. Following wrapping, we use rocks and “dirt bags” to ensure complete protection.

However, long term exposure to plants, animals and the elements between seasons cause the geotextile to degrade, which makes it necessary to “unwrap” and “rewrap” architecture and excavation areas.

Luckily, I work with a great team of people that make this process smooth – even on the two hottest days of the season! 46° and 47° C (that’s 115° and 117° F!) thus far.

Photo: Hakan Hatay

Photo: Hakan Hatay

In anticipation of this process, the conservation team unrolled geotextile to cut more manageable pieces to use in the field.

In anticipation of this process, the conservation team unrolled geotextile to cut more manageable pieces to use in the field.

We then “unwrap” the excavation area

We then “unwrap” the excavation area.

We then check architecture for stability.

We then check architecture for stability.

Finally, we are ready to “rewrap”! (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

Finally, we are ready to “rewrap”! (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

And more teamwork on one of the hottest days of the season! (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

And more teamwork on one of the hottest days of the season! (Photo: Hakan Hatay)

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

Voices from the Field (2016-06-24)

Going 3D at Koç

Tunç Kaner

 

 

During my two years with the Kaymakçı Archeological Project (KAP), I have worked closely with Peter Cobb to develop a holistic recording system for ceramics from Kaymakçı. Related to this work, I have also recently begun to help with the 3D digital recording of ceramics from the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS), directed by Christina and Chris between 2005 and 2014.

I live and study in Izmir at Ege University, but I travelled to Istanbul a few times during the 2015–2016 academic year to work with the CLAS material in the Archaeology Lab at Koc University. I worked with Christina Luke and Chris Roosevelt in person, and Peter Cobb virtually, to train a team of MA and PhD students in 3D recording methods. I also set-up the project’s NextEngine 3D Scanner as well as photography and Pantone Capsure (Munsell) stations in the lab, where they will be set up again in the fall for the next academic year. The training took two weeks; later I monitored Koç students from Izmir and visited Istanbul again for intensive periods of work.

We are continuing the same procedures now in our field lab, where we are working with a larger team on classifying and documenting ceramics that have just been excavated.

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!

Araziden Seslerimiz (2016-06-16)

Jeofizik 2016

Dan Plekhov

Kaymakçı’da üç haftalık elektrik özdirenç (rezistivite) yöntemiyle saha taraması yapacak olan jeofizik ekibinin gelişiyle KAP 2016 sezonu Mayıs’ta resmi olarak başlamış oldu! Yerleşimin altında yatan muhtemel yapı ve birimleri haritalamayı hedefleyen projenin bir parçası olarak, bu yıl Kaymakçı’nın sur duvarlarının dışında kalan ve araştırma yapmak için kısıtlı imkan bulunan alanlara yoğunlaştık. Bu yılki ekibimizde Dan Plekhov, Haley Chasteene ve jeofizik sezonuna vekaleten başkanlık eden Güzin Eren vardı.

Çalıştığımız bazı alanlar çok engebeliydi. Jeofizik yüzey araştırması genellikle fiziksel olarak biraz külfetli oluyor ama bu yıl özellikle oldukça dik ve neredeyse ormana dönmüş alanlarda çalıştık. Adeta asker gibiydik!

Diğer alanlar kesinlikle çok daha zevkliydi ve yağmurun başlaması toprağın yumuşamasına ve hayatımızı biraz daha kolaylaştırmaya epey yardımcı oldu.

Ancak tabii ki, yağmur ya da güneş fark etmez, arazide olmaya her zaman değer, hiç olmazsa manzara için...

Böylelikle Kaymakçı’da bir başka başarılı ve harika jeofizik sezonunun daha sonuna geldik. Olağanüstü ekibimiz, ve tabi bu süreçte edindiğimiz diğer tüm arkadaşlarımız, sezonu çok daha eğlenceli ve başarılı hale getirdi! Şimdi sıra kazıda!

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!

Voices from the Field (2016-02-24)

Glorious Mud: Working with Mudbrick in the Archaeological Lab at Koç University

Jana Mokrisova

Although writing my dissertation is the primary purpose of my stay at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), I have also had the opportunity to continue working with my field dataset – earthen architecture in Kaymakçı, including mudbrick. Once every week or two I make a trip to Koç University’s campus in Sarıyer, northern Istanbul, to work in the archaeological lab there. The “hike” up north presents a good opportunity for me to get away from the dynamic (but at times raucous) Istiklal Street. The campus is located in a forested but windy area, and at times it is difficult to believe than I am still in the same city.

A mixture of earth, water, and organic temper, mudbrick is a very versatile and popular building medium used as early as the Neolithic period in Mesopotamia and Anatolia (as early as 10,000 years ago!). At Kaymakçı, mudbricks were used for a variety of building purposes, and one of my aims is to reconstruct the logic of Bronze Age architecture. In order to do so, I describe the basic properties of mudbricks, such as color, shape, size, texture, character of inclusions, and hardness. I also note manufacture process and preservation. Furthermore, I am interested in seeing how communities at the site organized mudbrick production. By looking at diversity or similarity in mudbrick appearance and composition, I can assess if people selected the same source materials and additives and if they produced them using similar production steps. Interestingly, earthen materials were not limited to bricks – they were also used to cover roofs, as is suggested by this piece of daub.

The archaeological lab at Koç is a great environment for such an investigation, as it has all the necessary equipment and space for processing, as well as the support of dedicated staff.

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

Voices from the Field (2016-01-21)

Gygaia Projects Presents at the AIA conference in San Francisco

Dan Plekhov

I recently had the opportunity to travel to and present at the 117th annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, held in rainy San Francisco. These conferences are often quite overwhelming, with many wonderful sessions to attend and people to meet who are engaged in exciting new research. This year was no exception, and I was happy to present my work to other archaeologists working on similar projects and to compare methods and results.

The research I presented took the form of a poster, coauthored by me, Chris Roosevelt, and Christina Luke, titled “Assessment of Iron Age Lydian Tumulus Distributions through GIS-Based Spatial Analysis.” The underlying question of this research was to determine what features of the Bin Tepe landscape influenced the placement of the burial mounds, which appear to follow certain patterns and form clusters.

By combining various spatial datasets into a Geographic Information System (GIS), representing such features as Lake Marmara, the Gediz River, streams, water features, and contemporary archaeological materials, we were able to measure the distance between each tumulus and the nearest of these features to measure proximity. Additionally, using digital elevation models, we were able to measure the visibility from each of the mounds to other features on the landscape, such as Kaymakçı, the Lydian city of Sardis, the three most prominent mounds, and all other mounds. Altogether, these measurements give us a sense of how the tumuli relate to the landscape in respect to their placement.

(Here we see the distribution of elevation values for the tumuli (dashed red line) in contrast to the distribution expected from a random pattern (black line). The gray polygon represents a 95% confidence envelope around the random pattern, achieved through bootstrap resampling.)

 

While this is useful information, we were interested in determining which of these landscape features may actually have been considered by Lydians when they chose sites for the mounds. To test this, we generated a set of random points equal to the number of mounds within Bin Tepe (137), and we did this 100 times. For each simulation, we again measured all these variables to get a distribution of values that reflected a random pattern representative of the landscape. By comparing this distribution to those of our real tumuli, we were then able to determine where our pattern significantly departed from the pattern we would expect if the mounds were placed randomly.

We found that there was a notable subgroup of tumuli that showed a clear preference for ridges and that intervisibility between the mounds was significantly greater than what we would expect from a random pattern. This suggests that proximity and visibility to other mounds was more important than proximity to natural features such as Lake Marmara or the Gediz River.

 

We received great feedback on these methods and results, which will factor into further analysis of the mounds to be presented at the Society for American Archaeology conference in early April. Stay tuned for more results then!

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