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In the Late Bronze Age, the walls of the citadel at Kaymakçı rose 10 feet above the jagged bedrock surrounding it. Behind the fortification was a community of homes, workshops, roads, plazas, and great halls. The neighboring residences and cemeteries surrounding the citadel sprawled across 60 acres—larger than the site of Troy, the ancient city celebrated in The Iliad.

And then they were gone.

Chris Roosevelt, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of archaeology, and Christina Luke, a senior lecturer in the archaeology department and the CAS Writing Program, are leading a team of archaeologists who are trying to learn what life was like at Kaymakçı, and why the largest known Middle to Late Bronze Age (2000 to 1200 BC) site in western Anatolia (current-day Turkey) was abandoned. The archaeologists are studying items ranging from pottery to seeds to the teeth of animals that lived in the area, and they hope to reconstruct the site with help from computer-enhanced photographs.

Roosevelt and Luke have spent the past 10 summers exploring the second millennium BC site and its greater environs in the Marmara Lake basin. Working on foot and with drones, their team has found six fortified citadels, the largest of which, Kaymakçı, was the focus of this summer’s excavation.

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