Category: Excavation

Zooarchaeology

Our approach to zooarchaeology, the study of ancient faunal remains, investigates the intimate relationships among humans, animals, and landscapes. From archival sources, such as Hittite texts and Ottoman records, we have a rich narrative of animal histories in this landscape. Researchers working with excavated contexts from Kaymakçı unpack the nature of domestication, wild, and exotic assemblages, such as pig, goat, sheep, cattle, plus rabbit, deer, fish, bird as well as large cats, a bear, and even one example of a massive mammal, likely a hippo or whale. In addition, researchers have explored the importance of the heritage of transhumance in the region, such as that of the Yörük as well as “people of the mountain.” We’re also very keen on the shifting patterns in foodways since the mid-20th century and the changes from the influx of globalization.

Affiliated team personnel

Canan Çakırlar, University of Groningen
Francesca Slim, University of Groningen
Şengül Fındıklar, Koç University

 

Volumetric (3D) Recording

A key innovation of the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project (KAP) in developing the KAP Recording System in 2014 was its process of recording archaeological excavation in volumetric, 3D detail. Adopting a digital photogrammetric approach that leveraged quickly advancing Structure from Motion (SfM) processing via Agisoft software, field methods intend to enable highly accurate spatial documentation of excavation units (“spatial contexts”) using only digital tools. This means that time-consuming positional measurements using tape measures, string levels, and the like—not to mention pencil and paper—are unnecessary while in the field, because they can be calculated on the fly and whenever necessary from the fully digitized record. Subsequent recombination of the top and bottom surfaces of each excavation unit into an encapsulated volumetric entity—a time-consuming process in itself—allows the visualization of the original archaeological record in all its volumetric detail, enabling its virtual reconfiguration and re-excavation, turning the well-known archaeological trope “excavation is destruction” into “excavation is digitization.”

Affiliated team personnel

Gary Nobles, Oxford Archaeology
Catherine Scott, Brandeis University

 

Small Finds

“Small finds” refer to a variety of generally “small” artifacts in diverse materials. Often studied according to narrow material classes, their functions have great potential for understanding different productive activities carried out in antiquity. Among these, textile production is represented well at Kaymakçı by numerous clay spindle whorls and loom weights, in addition to bronze needles. Perforated round sherds are also interpreted as weights of some sort, although some of them might have been used otherwise, as scrapers, for instance. Bone “gorgets” and bronze hooks represent fishing equipment likely used in the nearby lake. A wide variety of other bone, stone, and bronze tools (such as handles, awls, and chisels), together with personal ornaments, represent other common items in the collection of small finds from Kaymakçı.

Affiliated team personnel

Magda Pieniążek, Tübingen University
Caitlin O’Grady, University College London
Jana Mokrisová, Birkbeck College, University of London

 

Metals

Within the various categories of small finds, metal objects play a fundamental role in the reconstruction of everyday practices, craft activities, technological skills, and stylistic choices in ancient cultures. At Kaymakçı, as elsewhere across Anatolia in the second millennium BCE, the metal corpus includes mainly lead and copper-alloyed artifacts, ranging from tools to personal ornaments and weaponry. The abundant presence of small tools such as chisels, awls, and needles testifies to the richness and variety of specialized on-site activities, such as textile production. Stylistic elements of both utilitarian and more prestigious items show a combination of local elements as well as influences from Anatolian and Aegean cultural spheres.

All metal finds from Kaymakçı are typologically examined and categorized to trace differences and similarities with the same categories of artifacts from contemporary sites in other regions. In addition, archaeometric methods of analysis (pXRF, SEM-EDXRF, LIA, etc.) are applied to examine the elemental composition, microstructure, and isotopic signature of metal objects to better understand the technological skills, manufacturing choices, and routes of raw material procurement behind their making.

Affiliated team personnel

Dalila Alberghina, Koç University
Caitlin O’Grady, University College London
Magda Pieniążek, Tübingen University

 

Digital Recording & Database

From the beginning of survey work in 2005 to present excavation work, we have always strived to remain at the forefront of developing, cutting-edge technologies that can transform the ways archaeology is practiced and the archaeological record is interpreted and presented. Efforts began during survey work with handheld GNSS, digital photography, Geographic Information Systems, and database integrations, and subsequently transitioned to “paperless” solutions, including tablet recording of field data, whether from pedestrian field survey, geophysical survey, or excavation.

In 2014, we continued this work with the debut of a holistic digital recording solution for Kaymakçı: the KAP Recording System. Leveraging the connectivity provided by a solar-powered point-to-point network spanning several kilometers, a centralized PostgreSQL database stores data input via a combination of MS Access forms, bespoke Android apps for field and laboratory photography, and GNSS equipment. While the hardware and software that supports the system has been updated and modified slightly over the years, the primary architecture of the system endures, providing the foundation for the integrated workflows that define our teamwork.

Affiliated team personnel

Gary Nobles, Oxford Archaeology
Catherine Scott, Brandeis University
Tunç Kaner, Koç University

 

Conservation

Current conservation efforts at Kaymakçı focus on site-level support for excavations at Kaymakçı and the processing, stabilization, and curation of archaeological materials. An ongoing training program pairs an expert conservator with students. Working with primary data, the conservation team focuses on stabilization of materials, from metals and glass to ceramics and pigments. A conservation laboratory at the research center allows for primary treatment of study materials prior to storage and transfer to the regional Manisa Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. In addition, the conservation team oversees the excavation process, consulting as necessary when fragile or unique contexts require especially careful extraction. The conservation team also manages the closing of excavation areas with protective coverings (geotextile) at the end of each season as well as their opening at the beginning of subsequent seasons.

The conservation team is also responsible for analysis and interpretation of finds using a range of chemical and instrumental techniques to aid archaeological excavation decisions made in the field. Current research projects include reviewing the stability of conservation treatment protocols used in the field and laboratory, as well as investigations into low temperature material processing and ceramic manufacturing technologies at Kaymakçı. These collaborative research projects facilitate more nuanced understanding of finds and their preservation, as well as how they relate to site chronology, geospatial organization, and site diagenesis.

Affiliated team personnel

Caitlin O’Grady, University College London