Category: Voices

Voices From the Field (2020-08-15)

The 2020 Study Season

Gygaia Projects

The Kaymakçı Archaeological Project fit in a study season during the height of COVID-19 in 2020. We arrived with masks on and, after a period of quarantine, enjoyed the benefits of a small research group sealed off from the outside world. The season was spent well on processing of archaeobotanical and ceramic samples, re-inventorying and reorganizing zooarchaeological collections, and consulting GIS and excavation databases concerning ongoing analyses of fortification architecture and evidence for metallurgical activities at Kaymakçı. Additionally there was a lot of publication and conference preparation (see what came out… in the following posts!).

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!

Voices From the Field (2020-08-30)

A New Publication on Archaeological Sediment Chemistry in the Journal of Field Archaeology

Gygaia Projects

We are pleased to share that a new publication on sediment chemistry at Kaymakçı has just appeared in the Journal of Field Archaeology. See below for details!

Integrating Multi-Scalar Sampling Strategies for Archaeological Sediment Chemistry

Catherine B. Scott

Abstract: Archaeological sediment chemistry is a method for using the distribution of chemical elements across a site or landscape to elucidate site boundaries, site structures, and use of space. Archaeologists have sought to implement it at a number of scales, from the analysis of single excavated features to site prospection in regional survey. This article presents a model for an ongoing, multi-scalar collection strategy that builds on previous global work in sediment chemistry. Analyzed data derive from the Bronze Age (2nd millennium B.C.) citadel of Kaymakçı, Turkey. The article presents the results of laboratory x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis of both surface and sub-surface samples associated with one excavation area to test the effectiveness of different sample collection strategies by analyzing relationships between sample chemical signatures. The results suggest that a multi-scalar geochemical dataset aids in intra-site feature prospection, site stratigraphy, and nuanced interpretations of the use of space.

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Voices From the Field (2020-09-15)

Bird Watching and Lake Desiccation

Gygaia Projects

We were happy to partake in a collaborative effort with the Manisa Museum Directorate and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks in managing excavations associated with the construction of a bird watching tower built overlooking the shore of Lake Marmara.

Owing to prolonged drought, unfortunately, the shorelines of the extremely shallow lake have retreated significantly, with threat of full desiccation. As the lake’s area shrinks, some bird populations seemingly become denser, but this impression will not persist if the lake dries up further!

The fieldwork team in preparation
A view to the north mid-construction (September) and finished (later in October)
A view to the east mid-construction (September) and finished (later in October)
Some members of the diverse Lake Marmara bird population in flight above the desiccated shore

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Voices From the Field (2020-11-11)

Shifting Weather and Olive Season

Gygaia Projects

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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.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!