Saturday, July 28, 2007

Interesting Finds Part I

This season, more than fifteen new sites were discovered in the Cilician plain. Most of these probably consisted of small farmsteads, manifested archaeologically by a dense concentration of ceramic wares distributed across the modern landscape in relatively limited surface areas. Once in a while, however, we stumbled upon significantly larger sites with seemingly more functional attributes. One of these was designated Site 161. This site was located on a hill slope and covered an area of ca. two and a half hectares. The first sign of the site came when we began stumbling upon an increasing amount of pottery sherds. Recently planted olive trees had caused the earth to be disturbed and a plethora of artifacts to rise to the surface. While a number of us were getting excited about the vast amounts of handles and bases that we were finding, Dr. Killebrew stumbled upon a number of large ashlar blocks a little further down the hill. The following picture shows a few of us standing on the remains of these monumental building blocks.

Further down the hill, we discovered the remains of another monumental building. In the picture below, you can discern two perpendicular walls, probably forming the corner of a room. Nearby villagers had directed us toward this area. They claimed that there used to be a Church in this area and that they had often stumbled upon mosaic fragments.

Although we found no mosaics, we stumbled upon three large chamber tombs cut into the natural bedrock. In the picture below you can see Pete crawling into one of these.

The next picture is a great shot of Rachel, crawling into the tomb head first.

As you can tell, this was no easy feat, but we were all too excited to turn down the challenge. Each tomb was constructed in a similar way. Three niches were carved into the bedrock inside the tomb: one on each side and one at the back. The following three pictures feature these little chambers:

From left to right: Dan, Pete, Rachel and Kathleen. Nothing like spending some quality time amongst friends in an ancient tomb...

...or perhaps a romantic evening... (Dan and Amanda)

Of course, creepy crawlies are a given in this kind of environment. Witness the horror/amusement at the sight of a VERY large and multicolored spider.

Our investigations however, were not all fun and games. Most of these tombs had probably been looted and very few artifacts were found within them. In one of the tombs we came across a number of bones.
In the picture below, Rachel is holding a skull fragment in her right hand and a vertebrae fragment in her left.
Our dear Müge, the only one who could stand upright in one of our largest tombs:

In addition to these finds, several other features were encountered, including a wine press, a possible ashlar quarry, two column shafts, and a column base. Most of the pottery collected from the site seems to date from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. This site may have consisted of a religious complex, including a Church, an administrative building, and agricultural dependencies. In my next post, I will share our discovery of an ancient canal system associated with the ancient site of Alexandretta, founded by Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im so jealous Amanda! I wish I could be there when you went into those tombs. Especially when you found bones! You know me with bones :) Its good to see you having some fun amidst the back breaking work!

Who and where do the bones go to then from where you find them? Or are they just kept in the tombs?

How are they then categorized and stored?

Are they usually full skeletal structures that you find? Or does that usually get disturbed with the looting?

Cant wait to see more!