Voices from the Field (2020-02-22)

Presentations at the Annual Meeting of the AIA in Washington, D.C., and the Archon Winter School 2020 at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gygaia Projects

We are pleased to share that members of our team presented recent research at both the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in Washington, DC (in January), and the Archon Winter School 2020 at the University of Amsterdam on Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands (in February). Brief information on the presentations can be found below.


Burned Out: Contextual and Volumetric Analysis of Hearths and Ovens at Bronze Age Kaymakçı, Western Anatolia

Catherine B. Scott and Christopher H. Roosevelt

Abstract: Over six years of excavations at the second-millennium B.C.E. citadel of Kaymakçı in western Anatolia, hearths and ovens have emerged as one of the most common feature types. Some of these burning features appear to be quite large installations (perhaps reaching 2 m in diameter), involving complex construction techniques and multiple phases of reuse. They are found in diverse contexts throughout the site, including within apparent domestic buildings, in open-air activity areas and courtyards, and in close association with fortifications. Using the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project’s innovative born-digital spatial recording system and intensive sample collection strategies, we have been able to collect robust data on these features and their surroundings. Here, we present a preliminary typology of oven and hearth features found at the site, their relationships to surrounding architecture, features, and artifacts, and evidence for change in the way they were constructed over time. We also present 3D, volumetric models of some excavated features—which allow for digital reconstruction and re-excavation—and review associated scientific studies currently in progress that will allow us to improve understanding of these features in the future. Finally, we consider parallels with other contemporary sites in the eastern Mediterranean and present preliminary interpretations for how such burning installations were incorporated into social life at Bronze Age Kaymakçı.


Enabling 3D Visualization of the Archaeological Record: Method, Theory, and Practice

Gary Nobles and Christopher H. Roosevelt

Abstract: The Late Bronze Age hilltop settlement of Kaymakҫı in the Gediz Valley of western Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) has been investigated by the Kaymakҫı Archaeological Project since 2014. From the start, the team employed state-of-the-art methods for recording all excavation contexts in high-resolution, 3D detail, enabling the visualization of on-site archaeological practices through virtual reconstruction of excavation context volumes. In this paper we review the challenges of reconstructing truly 3D datasets from archaeological excavations, presenting a newly established method for the effective recombination of surface point clouds into closed-volume contexts representing excavation units, with all the complexities of their 3D geometries. We discuss various GIS geometries and their associated data types, highlight those which are suitable for excavation data, and indicate under which archaeological situations they are best employed. With datasets easily termed “Big Data”, we highlight what we see as Big opportunities as well as Big problems with 3D practices going forward. As a research-driven excavation, we are privileged to be able to evaluate and develop new methods. Such bespoke solutions need to be assessed for their suitability within development-led commercial archaeological practice, however, if they are to be fully accepted by the archaeological community.

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects soon!