Gygaia Limne – Lake Marmara

Much of the research conducted by Gygaia Projects pivots around Lake Marmara. Afterall, it is the project namesake. Our approach to the study of the lake covers an extensive period, from its initial formation around 10,000 years ago to the current climatic crisis. Nearby natural springs along the northern edge of the lake basin, especially the Akpınar spring, would likely have sustained a small body of water throughout history. Winter rains and runoff enhance this body of water. Even so, hot, dry summers lead to massive fluctuations in the boundaries of the lake, and throughout its history it was known to dry up, at least partially.

To be sure, the lake is shallow (6 meters at its deepest point), and it is also extremely broad. This dynamic body of water, thus, has received considerable attention as a spiritual component of the region, vacillating with seasons and climatic regimes. This fragile natural landscape, however, has been and continues to be modified by human hands. The first intervention into the lake is the subject of current research, as are the most recent interventions, including both the Gördes and Demirköprü dams.

Ongoing research projects that concern the lake include study of the flora and fauna from the archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological collections from the Bronze Age site of Kaymakçı, an ongoing assessment of biological diversity, legacies of ritual associated with the lake, coring programs for paleotopographical, sediment DNA, and climate reconstructions, and a detailed look at Ottoman archives, which demonstrate not only its local significance, but also its regional importance for 18th century and later policies towards wetland management in the Ottoman world.