Territorial Survey 1: July 27-August 14, 2008
This year a new stage was initiated in our survey work near Sagalassos. In order to comprehend how areas removed from city centers (such as Sagalassos) evolved through time, three areas were chosen for exploration. In 2008 the Bereket basin was the first to be investigated. Good pollen sequences (by dr. David Kaniewski) are available, attesting to intensive cultivation in the basin from the early 2nd century BC onwards. Already in 1996 the reconnaissance surveys of the Sagalassos team had covered this area, resulting in the detection of two sites, a Roman village at Kirselik, just south of the village of Bereket, and a possibly pre-Roman settlement at the Kale Tepe (in the village of nearby Koekez).
On Thursday August 7th Kale Tepe was revisited by the survey team (dr. Hannelore Vanhaverbeke, drs. Pieter-Jan Deckers, and archaeologists Nele Goeminne and Lies Vercauteren). Since this was a team of experienced surveyors, work was begun at once and, with the assistance of our geomorphologist, dr. Veronique De Laet, the area was explored, and archaeological features were mapped. The site consists of a mountain top (the actual Kale Tepe), surrounded on its southern side by a wall in dry rubble. Inside, a number of structures could be delineated. South of the Kale Tepe, in a beautifully secluded "yayla", the main area of the settlement was spread out, on its north and south sides contained by mountain flanks, in the west and east by walls in dry rubble. Until some 25 years ago, this area was still cultivated, and extant terrace walls and abandoned wheat fields remain. Numerous sherds were picked up, some in pristine condition, as well as a number of flint tools and grinding stones. The outline of several structures could be mapped. Preliminary dating of the pottery suggests a main occupation from the 7th to the 5th century BC (cf. painted wares), continuing into Early Roman times, with some post-Roman activity. It is thus already clear that occupation of the area predates the first clear signs of intensive cultivation in the pollen diagrams.
Since the site was both larger and better preserved then expected, the team worked 4 days to record everything, during which the 5th survey team member, Geert Andries (student archaeology K.U.Leuven) joined the team.
The team then set out to explore the Bereket basin, making use of GPS (to plot transects in this rather flat area) and satellite images. In three days, 8 transects of 1100-1200 km were walked (distance of 20 m between surveyors) in the western part of the basin. The aim is to plot all extant surface remains in the basin, whether they be part of a "site" or need to be considered "offsite". Part of the known site at Kirselik was covered already, clearly detectable through the high number of sherds, tiles and brick. The coming week will be spend on the further exploration of the basin (eastern area), and the detailed surveying of "sites".