Territorial Survey 2: August 12-24, 2008
In the last days of the survey, the team set out to explore the Bereket basin (August 12-24) making use of GPS (to plot transects in this rather flat area) and satellite images. 33 transects of lengths varying between 300 to 1200 m were walked (distance of 20m between surveyors) in the basin, crossing the lower hillslopes and the plain itself (see Map). Where walking transects proved to be difficult (because of wooded areas), the surveyors crossed the area at more irregular distances (see Map). Nearly 8 km was covered in total. Most of this area is cultivated (esp. wheat), and harvests were just finished, so survey conditions were perfect. The hills surrounding the valley are covered with wood, and here survey was more difficult. All extant surface remains in the basin were counted and/or collected and, when deemed necessary measured and photographed, whether they be part of a "site" or need to be considered "offsite". Several soil samples were taken (3 on the Kale at Koekez) and 36 in the Bereket basin (see Map).
Several places of interest were noted, where archaeological material is either abundant or has specific characteristics. The analysis of the finds has only been preliminary, a fuller analysis will occur later.
The outline of the already known site at Kirselik could clearly made out on the basis of the densities of tiles, brick and domestic pottery during the transect survey. The site covered an area of ca. 12 ha (Kirselik 1 on Map), while a second cluster of archaeological activity (ca. 2.5 ha) (Kirselik 2) can be distinguished to the NW of Kirselik 1. Preliminary analysis of the pottery finds indicates a strong component of Late Hellenistic to Middle Imperial times (ca. 2nd cent. BC - 2nd cent. AD). In view of the extent of the site, Kirselik 1 is either a small village or a large estate. The occurrence of sarcophagi in the neighborhood, as well as many decorated architectural elements (in the fields and in the modern village of Bereket), indicate the presence of monumental tombs and elite burials. However, archaeological indicators for actual villas (such as tesserae, crustae, hypocaust tiles or window glass) were not retrieved.
Further north, in the western part of the Bereket basin, near the present-day woods in the area, another concentration of pottery (few building ceramics) was discovered (Kavaklik on Map), the function and date of which is as yet undetermined.
Guided by an earlier discovery of dr. V. De Laet, the location of a small area of primary metal working (iron) was located in the middle of the wooded area above the village of Bereket (metallurgy on Map). Numerous chunks of iron ore and slags were discovered, some of which were sampled.
The eastern part of the Bereket basin equally yielded new data on the settlement history of the area. Some 100m east of the present-day cemetery (itself full with antiquities from Kirselik), the well-preserved remains of a hoeyuek were discovered. It is noticeable in the landscape because of its slight swell and its distinct lighter color. Large pottery fragments, flints, as well as parts of mudbrick walls can be seen at the surface. This hoeyuek has only recently been destroyed, as villagers tell us, but it is to be expected that, with the rate of agricultural activity in the basin, within a few years, most of it will have been ploughed out. The hoeyuek covers nearly a hectare and its pottery most probably dates to the EBA.
At the eastern entrance to the Bereket basin, the remains of a couple of dry rubble structures were noticed on the east-facing hillslope, just north of the road from Bereket to Kayış (watchtower on Map), associated with probably late pottery.
Subsequent analysis of the pottery and the spatial distribution of the artifacts, as well as of the area's topography will furnish more detailed information on past life in this small remote area.