November 04, 2009

Collecting Relics from Turkish Hillsides Provide Introduction to Archaeological Work as Participants in Antiquities Project


The rugged terrain of Turkey's Taurus Mountains served as a site last summer for two Case Western Reserve University faculty members from the classics department to introduce four students to archaeological field work.

Working alongside Assistant Professor Paul Iversen and former Visiting Assistant Professor Andrea De Giorgi (now at Rutgers University), Nathan Bensing, Jeremy Ondo, Philip Trochowski and Anna Wieser gathered antiquities left by ancient inhabitants and settlers on the land's surface for their course work in "Landscape Archaeology and Epigraphy."

The Case Western Reserve team also was a member of an interdisciplinary and multinational team of the Isparta Archaeological Survey (IAS) project.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism granted a research permit in 2008 for the past summer's field work under the direction of Assistant Professor Bilge Hürmüzlü from the department of archaeology at Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi (SDÜ) in Isparta.

The university faculty members had leading roles as De Giorgi served as IAS's field director, and Iversen, the director of epigraphical material. Others associated with the project were Maddalena Rumor, coordinator of archaeological drawing and the project's webpage designer, and Professor Kay Kohlmeyer and Arne Weiser from the Fachhochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin (The University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany).


The Field Experience

In the students' course work, they searched for antiquities as old as 4,000 years, many left behind by the Perisans, Lydians, Phrygians, Macedonians, Romans and other conquerors that made their way between Europe and Asia.

After collecting, they learned field skills in drawing, tagging, cleaning and documenting (including through photography) any ancient pottery, glass or coins, and inscriptions (many of the latter which have been rebuilt into modern walls and buildings).

With the help of Ann Holstein from the Kelvin Smith Library, students had the opportunity to learn the rudiments of ArcGIS technology to analyze collected materials.

The Kelvin Smith Library also aided the IAS team with the purchase of satellite photographs to target exploration sites in an area around the modern village of Gönen, which is situated 25 km north of modern city of Isparta, known in antiquity as Konane.

In addition, the German team began mapping the topography of a historical fortified hilltop site. The material found during the survey dates from 2000 B.C. to the Ottoman period and included copious amounts of pottery fragments, ancient glass or metal work, bones with carvings, and even a coin.

Also found were 35 inscriptions that included two new Roman milestones and a dedication to the Roman emperors Severus and Galerius. Iversen is studying those finds.

The researchers will publish the first season's results in Colloquium Anatolian, the journal of the Turkish Institute of Archaeology.

Turkish Hospitality

During the field experience, the Case Western Reserve team experienced Turkish hospitality as they lived and worked from the home base in the classrooms of an SDÜ satellite campus in Gönen.

Iversen said, while they roughed it a bit, for an archaeological survey it was rather posh with beds, warm water and internet connection.

The Case Western Reserve University team will reciprocate that hospitality when Hürmüzlü visits campus in November to learn more about how American courses are set up in an effort to build on and improve this year's experience.

On Thursday, November 19, the classics department, Baker Nord Center for the Humanities, the Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio and Cleveland Archaeological Society will sponsor a free, public lecture, "The Isparta Archaeological Survey: the Culture, Environment and Landscapes of Ancient Konane and Modern Gonen," by Hürmüzlü, after which there will be a reception featuring Turkish music and food. The event takes place in Ford Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

Funding for the IAS project came from Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi, the Suna and Ïnan Kiraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilizations, the town of Gönen, and Case Western Reserve. Travel support was given by the classics department and grants from the McGregor World Learning Environment Fund, the W.P. Jones Fund and the Kelvin Smith Library's Freedman Fellow program.

Recruiting Students for 2nd IAS Summer

Iversen is recruiting five students from diverse disciplines to participate in the 2010 field experience. Applicants must let Iversen know of their interest. He must submit their names for the field permit by December 1. For more details about the application, contact Iversen at or go online.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, November 4, 2009 01:25 PM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences, Events, Provost Initiatives, Research, features, news

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