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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Mass movements in the massif of the aqueducts
Spectrometer measurement of vegetation

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Geomorphological Survey: July 4-8, 2004

The geomorphological team, composed of Etienne Paulissen, Véronique De Laet (both KULeuven), and Rebekah Merriman from New Zealand (KULeuven), carried out their first week of fieldwork and surveys in different locations in the immediate surroundings of Sagalassos. They used this opportunity to perform reflection measurements of the very diverse surface elements in the landscape. Their immediate goal is to make better use of the available space images (and in the future of multispectral data) for more accurate characterization of the landscape and its evolution during the last 5,000 years. These data should help us to better map the distribution of zones of deposition (river and slope deposits) versus the zones of erosion. They used a GER 1500 spectrometer (spectral range 350 to 1,050 nanometers) that was kindly provided by VITO (Flemish Institute of Technical Development, Belgium). This database will of course also be used by different disciplines of the Sagalassos team such as archaeologists, botanists, and geologists.

For example, the results of a series of experiments at the Potters' Quarter are shown (right). The blue line shows multispectral reflection characteristics of the original surface such as dispersed low herbs on colluvial deposits of clays with a mixture of rock fragments. The green shows the same surface covered with an average of 99.5 pieces of ceramics per square metre. The differences are striking and suggest that high-resolution multispectral data recorded from an airplane could be used to localize concentrations of ceramics in unknown areas and thus identify small sites. The same technique might also be used to localize zones of metallurgical activities and pollution. See larger graph.


This week, the geomorphological fieldwork has also concentrated on the study of mass movements in order to fill in some missing links. It is now evident that on the entire southern mountain slope of the Aglasun Mountain (about five km) there was a continuous succession of different types of earth movements of varying sizes and ages. Even the massif on which the Roman aqueducts were built consists of a succession of slope failures, one of which even in Imperial times made it necessary to carve a new rock cut section in one of the sloping fronts.

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