INHABITING ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES TODAY

KRASP is also foregrounding the ‘archaeological present’ of our study area. The diachronic framework of KRASP includes an assessment of the multi-temporality of these landscapes, in particular entanglements between the material remains of the ancient past and the livelihoods of the people who live in this region today.

Thus far most of our relevant data has been quantitative. Since KRASP was initiated in 2016, we have been systematically recording the impact of modern human activity on the archaeological landscape through our own site visits (figure 1), with satellite imagery (figure 2), and assessments of earlier publications. Approximately 90% of the sites that we have recorded in the field has been impacted by looting, agriculture, roadwork, irrigationand/or construction. The vast majority of these have been looted (figure 3), with damage ranging from single looter pits to massive trenches dug with mechanised excavators. KRASP is committed to understanding this activity as part of the archaeological palimpsest of the Konya Plain. We are particularly interested in the political economy and ideology of looting, and how looting, evidently, forms part of the everyday fabric of these farming communities.

KRASP has also been investigating the re-use of ancient monuments. This phenomenon ranges from the prosaic use of architectural elements in construction projects to sarcophagi employed as watering troughs, to more ideologically significant appropriations in cemetery contexts in particular. For the latter, KRASP has recorded different architectural and sculptural elements from at least one Late Antique church used as grave stones in the cemetery at İsmil. From another cemetery a Roman sarcophagus lid had been re-used as an inscribed lintel for a Byzantine church, before being re-used again as part of a musalla taşı, the table for displaying the deceased before interment. These aspects of the archaeological present in the Konya Plain can be addressed with qualitative (ethnographic) methodologies that KRASP plans to implement in future field seasons.