Month: November 2022

Voices From the Field (2020-11-11)

Shifting Weather and Olive Season

Gygaia Projects

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2020-11-30)

Presentations at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meetings of ASOR

Gygaia Projects

More good news! Kaymakçı and the Marmara Lake basin were well represented in the “Environmental Archaeology of the Near East” and “Anatolia” sessions at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). See below for more information and the great work presented by team members.

Before Croesus’s Gold: Metalworking in the Gediz River Valley during the Second Millennium BCE

Dalila Alberghina

Abstract: The development of metalworking in the Gediz River Valley during the Iron Age has been carefully examined through the study of metal finds and production areas, especially at the site of Sardis. When it comes to earlier periods, however, solid datasets for the study of metal procurement, trade, and manufacturing strategies in this region are lacking. This is particularly true for the entire region of western Anatolia, where the extensive study of 3rd millennium BCE metallurgy has not been balanced by a similar focus on the following phases. Recent archaeometric work at sites such as Troy and Panaztepe addressed this issue and confirmed the need for comprehensive analyses of MBA and LBA metal technology on both regional and site-based levels. The current work focuses on the LBA metal assemblage from the second-millennium BCE citadel of Kaymakçı and aims to target issues of raw material procurement, technological knowledge, and manufacturing strategies through both contextual analysis and archaeometric data. The diachronic and synchronic comparison of the Kaymakçı dataset with those of other sites in the Gediz River Valley, as well as the wider region of western Anatolia, allows further discussion of pivotal issues, such as the extent of postulated routes for metal trade in the LBA and the balance of innovation and continuity that characterizes the metal industries of the area throughout the centuries.

Fortification or Dumpster: A Collaborative Study on Animal Remains along the Fortification Walls of Kaymakçı

Şengül Fındıklar and Ebru Kaner

Abstract: This paper explores the relationships between a fortified citadel and the production-consumption patterns of animals. Here we explore social spaces along the fortification wall of Late Bronze Age Kaymakçı in western Turkey, asking specifically how archaeological contexts reveal patterns of use and disposal. The study at hand is enabled by means of the collaborative perspectives of a zooarchaeologist working specifically on the western Anatolian Bronze Age and an excavator working on Anatolian systems of defense. Our analysis focuses on the zooarchaeological assemblage at the juncture of the Kaymakçı fortifications. We ask the following question: do we see patterns of social life as well as patterns of large-scale disposal? By probing this question, we contextualize zooarchaeological remains into categories of debris/waste, meant to be expelled from the settlement, versus production and consumption, defining social interactions within the site.

Dressing a Pot: Surfaces in the Marmara Lake Basin during the Second Millennium BCE

Tunç Kaner

Abstract: This paper focuses on surface treatment and decoration practices during the second millennium BCE. I investigate Gold Wash, Silver Wash, and painted sherds from the Marmara Lake basin and the site of Kaymakçı. The aim of this paper is to understand how decoration and surface treatment practices developed in the region and thus also to demonstrate their spheres of influence for western Anatolian ceramic traditions during the second millennium BCE. I explore distribution and density within the Marmara Lake basin using data from the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS), limited earlier surveys, and ethnographic data from nearby Gökeyüp. In turn, the excavations at Kaymakçı offer detailed chronological control from which to explore the regional data. From this dataset, I investigate the meanings attached to broad surface treatments in gold and silver wash in comparison to choices for painted decoration. I consider relative spheres of influence, stylistic fashions of regional identity, processes of imitation, as well as local resources and technological innovation in ceramic production.

Situating the Citadel: Explorations of the Fortified Landscape of the Gediz River Valley in the 2nd Millennium BCE

Catherine B. Scott

Abstract: Between 2005–2013, the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS) identified six citadels dating to the 2ndmillennium BCE in the area surrounding Lake Marmara. Kaymakçı—which is currently being excavated by the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project (KAP)—is the largest of these settlements including approximately 8.6 hectares of fortified space. The massive size of this site and its proximity with five other contemporary citadels raise questions about how fortified sites in the Gediz River valley interacted with each other and with the landscape in which they were embedded. Do these citadels represent an intentional network, or do they represent competing interests within the restricted boundaries of the valley? How did the presence of these settlements shape the way that individuals perceived the landscape and how they moved through it? Here, we present preliminary interpretations from a GIS analysis of the 2ndmillennium BCE citadels of the Gediz valley. We explore the relationship between these citadels, their relationships with other features of their local and regional landscapes, and how individuals in the landscape may have gravitated towards or avoided them. We also consider how the dual role of settlement and fortification shapes a given citadel’s relationship with its surroundings. As new surveys and excavations throughout western Turkey continue to identify more sites dating to the 2nd millennium—both fortified and unfortified—we argue that this contextual approach provides one model for how we can explore the settlement dynamics of this period in history.

Nutrition and Storage: Understanding Diet and Population in Bronze Age Western Anatolia

Nami Shin

Abstract: To date, the archaeobotanical record of western Anatolia is represented by only a small number of sites with even fewer from the Bronze Age. Analysis of plant remains from Late Bronze Age Kaymakçı, a citadel site, provides new insights into the agricultural patterns and practices of this understudied region. The citadel’s size, location, and close proximity to several contemporary citadels demonstrates its importance and points to the potential of a larger network of interaction between these different citadels. Beginning with Kaymakçı, analysis of the plant remains presents opportunity to assess how different environmental and social factors played out in agricultural production at the site.

Archaeobotanical analyses at Kaymakçı thus far have revealed that barley (Hordeum vulgare), free-threshing wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum), bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia), chickpea (Cicer arietinum), and grape (Vitis vinifera) are the major crops at the site. When looking at the distribution of these crops across the citadel, barley and bitter vetch are distributed relatively evenly, whereas the distribution of free-threshing wheat and chickpea are mostly restricted to specific areas of the site. Identification of crop preferences, diachronic changes, comparison of Kaymakçı’s seed assemblage to contemporaneous sites, and other scientific analyses not only reveal the agricultural system at the site but also provide new data and information for the Gediz Valley in the second millennium BCE.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2021-01-15)

A New Publication on Agricultural Practices in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Gygaia Projects

We are pleased to share that a new publication on agricultural practices at Kaymakçı has just appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. See below for details!

Agricultural Practices at Bronze Age Kaymakçı, Western Anatolia

Nami Shin, John M. Marston, Christina Luke, Christopher H. Roosevelt, and Simone Riehl

Abstract: Archaeobotanical analysis at Kaymakçı, a second-millennium BCE site in western Turkey, gives the first evidence for Bronze Age agricultural practices in central western Anatolia, and represents one of a very few contemporary datasets for western Anatolia as a whole. Inhabitants of the site adopted a diversified agricultural system, with major crops including barley, free-threshing wheat, bitter vetch, chickpea, and grape. Spatial analysis of crop taxa suggests differential distribution of wheat and chickpea across the site, while initial results of diachronic analysis indicate a narrowing of wheat agriculture over time. The archaeobotanical assemblage of Kaymakçı is compared to those of contemporary sites throughout the Aegean and Anatolia, where it represents an inter- mediate position, an apparent hybrid of Aegean and Anatolian agricultural practices. This study provides a valuable new perspective on agriculture of the Late Bronze Age in a particularly understudied region of the eastern Mediterranean.

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Voices From the Field (2021-02-16)

An Opportunity for a Winter-Break Visit

Gygaia Projects

Opportunity knocked with some time to get away during Koç University’s winter break…

Clear skies and winter crops
Irrigation canals… older and newer
Historical lakes…
Tarihi göller…
Planned communities of a previous era

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Voices From the Field (2021-04-02)

Spring in the Marmara Lake Basin and the Blooming of the Asphodel

Gygaia Projects

An early April trip to the lake basin allowed time to take in the sights and sounds of Kaymakçı in Spring!

Asphodels in bloom
Grazing sheep

Sounds of the spring landscape

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Voices From the Field (2021-04-16)

Presentations at the Online WANAT Symposium on Western Anatolia in Second Millennium BCE

Gygaia Projects

Kaymakçı and the Marmara Lake basin were well represented at the WANAT symposium—Western Anatolia in the Second Millennium BCE: Recent Developments and Future Prospects—a collaboration between three institutions (Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), Charles University’s Faculty of Arts (Prague), and the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen) hosted by ANAMED. See below for papers by project members, most of which included material from KAP and CLAS!

Of Types and Elements: A Combined Assessment of Western Anatolian Metallurgical Industries in the Second Millennium BCE

Dalila M. Alberghina and Miloš Roháček

Abstract: The study of ancient metallurgical industries in western Anatolia has focused primarily on the crucial technological, stylistic, and cultural developments characterizing the third millennium BCE across the entire peninsula. The shared vision of a politically fragmented and, somehow, culturally backward region during the second millennium BCE has deeply affected the interpretation of material evidence dating to the Middle Bronze Age (MBA) and Late Bronze Age (LBA) phases. Thus, the analysis of the growing amount of metallurgical data available in the region dating to the second millennium has often been conducted only in terms of affinity to and/or difference from the better known contemporary cultural horizons of the Aegean and central Anatolia.

Through the integration of typological and archaeometric datasets, this paper aims to provide an updated analysis of the current state of knowledge on the developments of MBA and LBA metallurgical industries in western Anatolia. The analysis of new archaeometric data from the second millennium BCE citadel of Kaymakçı in the Middle Gediz river valley is here combined with the overview of collected, typologically sorted, and analyzed published metal items from sites located both in coastal and inland western Anatolia. The comparison with published datasets highlights existing shared patterns and diversified strategies in terms of raw material provenance and trade, technological choices, and stylistic preferences on diachronic and regional levels. Conclusions include a challenge to the idea of a progressive downfall of local metal industries and a highlighting of the combination of external inputs and autonomous innovations that characterize the western Anatolian metallurgical horizons of the MBA and LBA.

Animal Husbandry in Late Bronze Age Western Anatolia

Canan Çakırlar, Francesca Slim, and Şengül Fındıklar

Abstract: Animal husbandry congruently adapted to the economic and socio-political transformation of Bronze Age communities to early state societies of the Late Bronze Age. These transformations are tracked in early writings and in the zooarchaeological record from administrative centers in Mycenaean Greece and Hittite Anatolia. The centralization and intensification of animal economy ensured animal products to feed the working population, supply military forces, and provision for palatial and ceremonial uses. Palatial centers kept large flocks of sheep and goats for wool and meat production, and cattle were valuable property for agricultural labor and prestige. Pig husbandry varied across centers and regions in Greece and Anatolia, but even in Hittite Anatolia small-scale pig husbandry provided food and lard.Our recent understanding of animal economies in wider LBA Anatolia and Greece has been largely dependent on the zooarchaeological data from large Hittite and Mycenaean centers. Systematic collection and analysis of faunal remains found at ongoing archaeological excavations in western Anatolia currently allow us to investigate basic subsistence and systems of economic and socio-political organization in this region. Based on faunal data from Kaymakçı, Troy, Clazomenae, and Beycesultan, we discuss western Anatolian patterns of animal husbandry. We compare the relative importance of the main food taxa (sheep, goat, cattle, and pigs) versus wild food resources, and detail husbandry strategies based on mortality and biometry data. We conclude by suggesting discussion foci that we feel are essential in future zooarchaeological studies in western Anatolia, namely connectivity, scale, ecology, and cultural influences.

Dull, Mostly Undecorated Monochrome Pots? The Hidden Beauty of Western Anatolian Second-Millennium BCE Pottery

Peter Pavúk and Tunç Kaner

Abstract: When experts complain that western Anatolia lies in the shadow of its more famous neighbors, the most neglected member of the family is always local pottery. The little attention given to pottery anyway almost always concerns Mycenaean and other painted wares.

This paper looks at broader patterns recognizable in western Anatolian Middle and Late Bronze Age pottery traditions and how they match (or do not match) what we see in neighboring regions. Covering functional and technological but also aesthetic aspects, we approach the pottery repertoire as seen from within and from outside.

Based on first-hand knowledge of pottery from Troy, the Bakırçay Valley, Kaymakçı, and Bademgediği Tepe, we convey a structured view of western Anatolian pottery, targeting the distributions of various wares, surface treatments, and decorative elements across this large area. We try to make clear how the region could have been structured in different ways, depending on which aspects one stresses. In terms of shapes, we look at general functional categories such as table wares to compare habits between western Anatolia and its neighbors to the east and the west. Where possible, we address also changes throughout the millennium.

As pars pro toto, we use Anatolian Gray Ware and Gold Wash Ware as two case studies. Even though large areas of western Anatolia are known only from surface materials recovered during surveys, we aim to offer a holistic picture of the area, reflecting the state of knowledge in the year 2020.

Western Anatolia and its Neighbors: Communication and Exchange during the Late Bronze Age

Magda Pieniążek

Abstract: Growing archaeological and textual evidence portray the picture of Late Bronze Age western Anatolia as a cultural landscape dominated by strong polities, such as Arzawa, Mira, or the Seha River Land, which conducted ambitious domestic and external policies. Such development must have been based on a strong economic system, and exchange was surely one of its most important components. Evidence coming from older and recent western Anatolian excavations demonstrate exchange relations with the Aegean, central Anatolia, but also more distant areas in the Levant. Especially the finds coming from the sites located on the Aegean coast, such as Miletus, Bakla Tepe, Panaztepe, Beşik-Tepe, or Troy, show that the role of this area in the Late Bronze Age regional and interregional exchange networks was underestimated in the previous research. This point refers both to the maritime routes along the coast as well as to the land routes connecting the Aegean and inner Anatolia.

Some of the western Anatolian sites were centers of production and were considerable “consumers” of foreign goods, while others may have played the role of an important intermediary at the regional or interregional level. The evidence includes not only personal adornments such as carnelian, glass, faience jewelry, or foreign pottery, but also various kinds of weapons, seals, and other objects. This presentation not only addresses the question of what kind of objects were transported and exchanged, but also how trans-interregional communication might have worked, which maritime routes could have been used, and who might have stood behind it—thus asking who acted as sponsors and organizers and who as agents of the enterprise.

Spatial Structure and Stratigraphy at Second-Millennium BCE Kaymakçı

Christopher H. Roosevelt

Abstract: The ridgetop remains of Kaymakçı in the Marmara Lake basin of the Gediz River valley provide one of the fullest exposures available of the spatial structure of a second-millennium BCE citadel in western Anatolia. With the exception of extensively excavated sites such as Seyitömer, no other site in the area has provided so full a picture of spatial structure, even before excavations began. Thanks both to the abandonment of Kaymakçı after its primary period of use and to its exposed location that allows only minimal sediment accumulation, second-millennium BCE remains are preserved at or near the surface, readily detectable by non-invasive approaches (e.g., microtopography and geophysics). Only with excavation, however, has it become possible to assess the stratigraphy and dating of near-surface remains, showing unsurprisingly that they are a palimpsest of Kaymakçı’s second-millennium BCE occupation history. Natural erosion associated with the exposed location together with anthropogenic degradation from recent plow-zone perturbations have resulted in non-uniform preservation of the latest Late Bronze Age features of the site, preserved in some places and eroded elsewhere. With reference to the spatial structures of nearby sites known only from surface explorations, this paper juxtaposes Kaymakçı’s spatial structure with stratigraphic evidence to discuss what parts of the site have been most degraded as well as the dating and development of its best preserved areas.

Preliminary Analysis of Stable Carbon (δ13C) Isotopes of Cereal Remains from Bronze Age Kaymakçı, Western Anatolia

Nami Shin and Benjamin Irvine

Abstract: Archaeobotanical analysis from Late Bronze Age Kaymakçı, a citadel site in western Anatolia, provides new insights into the agricultural patterns and practices of this understudied region. The citadel’s size, location, and close proximity to several contemporary citadels demonstrate its importance and point to the potential of a larger network of interaction between these different citadels. Preliminary analysis of the stable carbon (δ13C) isotopes of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and free-threshing wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum) grains from Kaymakçı provides new insights about the agricultural practices of the citadel’s inhabitants.

Archaeobotanical analyses at Kaymakçı thus far have revealed that barley (Hordeum vulgare), free-threshing wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum), bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia), chickpea (Cicer arietinum), and grape (Vitis vinifera) are the major crops at the site. Complementary to the current archaeobotanical data, stable carbon isotopes of the barley and free-threshing wheat of the site aid in understanding possible use of intensification practices of plant cultivation, which include irrigation or seasonal lakeside inundation. Though preliminary, stable isotope analysis of the cereal remains from Kaymakçı offer new data for reconstructing agricultural practices not only for the citadel but also for western Anatolia as a region.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!