Extensive Survey, 2010

A total of 21.5 days in the 2010 field season were spent conducting regional field survey in the valley defined by the Kaymakçı ridge on the north, Bin Tepe on the east, and the survey area on the south and west. Survey units (SUs) were usually defined by agricultural field boundaries through which survey teams of between two and four people walked parallel tracks at intervals of 20 meters. Assuming a two-meter wide observation swath for each surveyor, this protocol results in 10% coverage of each survey unit. CLAS surveyed 763 such survey units covering a total area of 12.48 square kilometers. This methodology resulted in excellent coverage of this area. All finds were counted, and diagnostic finds were collected. All survey unit and find documentation, photography, and/or drawings were then entered into a database.

An examination of the density of ceramic finds from survey units shows that many SUs contained little or no cultural material and just as many were rich in cultural materials. Survey units in which cultural materials were collected show that the range of chronological periods represented spans at least the Late Chalcolithic / Early Bronze Age and the early modern, Ottoman period.

We established areas with particularly high densities of finds and/or with particularly diagnostic finds or features as points of interest (POIs). In general, POIs consist of a number of SUs and/or special areas of interest, such as tumuli. These POIs are of interest because they most likely correspond to the larger-scale, most intensively used, and/or longest duration settlements in the area that would most typically be defined as archaeological “sites.”

In 2010, we classified ten sites and two previously undocumented tumuli as POIs. The chronological range of these finds extends from the Early Bronze Age through the Turkish period.The earliest POIs include two previously unidentified sites with the densest finds dating to the Early Bronze Age. The first is defined by a dense scatter of finds across a small, flat settlement located at a relatively high elevation, while the second is characterized by a low occupation mound with dense finds extending into the surrounding fields. Both settlement areas were likely selected for their high elevation relative to what would likely have been well-watered and fertile areas in their immediate surroundings, ideal for agricultural activities.

Of particular interest to our project is the distribution of second millennium BCE finds throughout the 2010 survey, defined on the north by the ridge of Kaymakçı. As established in previous seasons, Kaymakçı is the largest second-millennium BCE citadel in the survey area and probably in all of western Anatolia. During the 2009 season, intensive site survey at Kaymakçı demonstrated the presence of low-density settlement remains outside of the citadel covering an area of at least 75 hectares. Fields surveyed in 2010 show that this area of low-density settlement extends even further from the ridge to the south, allowing us to define with greater accuracy the boundaries of this important second-millennium site. In addition to remains directly associated with Kaymakçı, we identified a small occupation mound in the southern area of our survey with remains dating primarily to the second millennium BCE (İki Tepe).This site demonstrates the presence in this region of smaller-scale, lowland settlements of the second-millennium BCE, similar to our finds from other parts of the CLAS survey area.

Points of interest dating primarily to the Lydian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods – both settlements and tumuli– are found scattered throughout the area of the 2010 survey. Aside from the tumuli, which attest the presence in this area of wealthy estate owners of the Lydian or Achaemenid periods, the other sites can probably be categorized as smaller-scale agricultural settlements. During these periods in which Sardis served as the most important regional center, these settlements were probably most closely tied to it, perhaps even providing some of its subsistence goods.

Dating to the Byzantine and/or Turkish periods were five other settlement centers that also can probably be categorized as small-scale agricultural settlements. Interestingly, their distribution parallels that of prehistoric sites more closely than that of Lydian through Roman period sites. Might this correspondence relate to the locations of major centers during these periods? In prehistoric times just as in Byzantine and Turkish times, major centers were located around Marmara Lake and at Gölmarmara and Saruhanlı. During the Lydian through Roman periods, the single major center in the region was at Sardis, located along the southern edge of Gediz River valley. Perhaps shifts in the locations of regional centers had effects on local settlement patterns within our survey area.