Category: Voices

Voices From the Field (2021-06-29)

Lake Desiccation or an Anticipated, Annual Retreat?

Gygaia Projects

With concerns mounting over climate change, the vantage point of our daily lives puts this reality front and center in our minds. We awake each day to the sun rising over the mountains that flank the northern shores of Lake Marmara. And… each day the shoreline grows. We know from the Ottoman records that this pulse lake – known by ancient authors as the Gygaean Lake or Lake Coloë – has been ebbing and flowing for centuries.

1750 Map by Giovanni Battista Borra (Yale University)

Giovanni Battista Borra’s 1750 map (now at Yale University) demonstrates the performance of this body of water. With rising temperatures and other pressures, is this a serious turning point? Or will annual rains, perennial springs, and the modern infrastructure work together to refill the lake basin come winter 2021? How might a more nuanced reading of Ottoman records and archaeological assemblages inform our thinking of this performance landscape? Be sure to follow our continuing posts and forthcoming publications.

Early morning images show the retreating shorelines and the “two lakes” mapped around 1750, with Kaymakçı in the right foreground of both images
These images taken at different times of day show seasonal agricultural fields that grow in size along the retreating lakeshore as well as vegetal growth on the water surface taking advantage of the extremely shallow depths
Will lake levels soon return to those seen here in summer 2019? We know at least the local birds and birdwatchers hope so!

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2021-06-25)

The Jab

Gygaia Projects

With the roll-out of vaccinations in Turkey, many KAP members got their first (and will get their second) COVID vaccine jab in the local hospital in Gölmarmara.

Team members having gotten their jab at Gölmarmara District Hospital

Once signed up with the online system (e-Nabız), groups cycled in for the jab and then returned to their homes or the research center for restful afternoons.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2021-06-23)

A Visit from the (Dust) Storm God

Gygaia Projects

Watching a storm roll in from the east, our team unplugs computers, moves all finds inside, and closes up windows and doors. We brace for the impending force of nature.

Storms here are particularly dynamic: rains and winds battering the research center; our eyes looking for the next bolt of lightning; our ears listening for the cracks of thunder that punctuate these ancient territories of the storm gods.Northern winds bringing brown dust to Kaymakçı and the valley And then the rain hits…

… followed by clearing skies and far-off lightning

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2020-03-07)

A Visit with a View to the Region’s Byzantine and Ottoman Histories

Gygaia Projects

Before the storm it was… Little did we know that our visit to the region in early March 2020 would be one of our last “free” outings. On the eve of COVID-19, we were lucky enough to spend a lovely few days with local partners in Gölmarmara to see a few sites of interest, especially those mentioned in Ottoman archival documentation on water management and pious foundations. Looking back now, the glorious days of sun over the green fields and snow-capped mountains seem like a dream.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2020-05-07)

A New Publication on Late Bronze Age Pig Husbandry in the Journal of Field Archaeology

Gygaia Projects

Good news! There is a new publication on pig husbandries at Kaymakçı and in the Aegean and Anatolia in the Journal of Field Archaeology. See below for details!

Pigs in Sight: Late Bronze Age Pig Husbandries in the Aegean and Anatolia

Francesca G. Slim, Canan Çakırlar, and Christopher H. Roosevelt

Abstract: This paper explores pig husbandry across the Aegean and Anatolia based on zooarchaeological data and ancient texts. The western Anatolian citadel of Kaymakçı is the departure point for discussion, as it sits in the Mycenaean-Hittite interaction zone and provides a uniquely large assemblage of pig bones. NISP, mortality, and biometric data from 38 additional sites across Greece and Anatolia allows observation of intra- and interregional variation in the role of pigs in subsistence economies, pig management, and pig size characteristics. Results show that, first, pig abundance at Kaymakçı matches Mycenaean and northern Aegean sites more closely than central, southern, and southeastern Anatolian sites; second, pig mortality data and biometry suggest multiple husbandry strategies and pig populations at Kaymakçı, but other explanations cannot yet be excluded; and, third, for the Aegean and Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age more generally, pig data suggests pluriformity, which challenges the use of “pig principles” in this region.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!