KRASP uses a variety of fieldwork and remote-sensing methodologies to locate and explore different site types within different ecologies. While –overwhelmingly- earlier surveys have focused on high-visibility settlement mounds that are very easy to locate (e.g. from a car), other forms of less-visible archaeological remains (e.g. flat settlements, temporary camps, funerary sites, quarries and fortified hilltops) require more sophisticated techniques. Some of our methodologies have been developed from the pioneering work of the Konya Survey Project led by Douglas Baird in the Çumra, Karatay and Meram districts between 1995 and 2002.
Prior to the field season we analyse current and historical satellite imagery to identify potential sites and other ancient features of the landscape (Google Earth, CORONA and GAMBIT, figure 1). Satellite imagery is very useful in detecting mounded sites, tumuli, forts, looted areas, roads, as well as ancient environmental features like palaeolakes, palaeochannels, and beach remnants. Similarly, we are assessing high-resolution 3D Digital Elevation Models (figure 2) to locate and determine the extent of mounded settlements, complementing our work with satellite imagery. Topographic maps can also be useful in locating the most prominent sites like settlement mounds, forts or caravanserais. Lastly, ancient toponyms can also inform our understanding of the archaeological landscape of the Konya Plain.
In the field, we visit “points of interest” from this preliminary analysis, and explore other archaeological features that are not easily detectable with remote-sensing methodologies. We have located most of the tumuli and other funerary contexts like rock-cut tombs, re-used ancient monuments (spolia), caves, and quarries with ‘on the ground’ methodologies that include pedestrian and car-based exploration of landscapes. We have also relied on local knowledge to identify archaeological sites that are otherwise invisible to the methodologies above.
Once sites have been identified, we divide them into quadrants according to their size and topographic features, and then collect materials according to these divisions. When possible, the sections of nearby irrigation canals and their spoil heaps are investigated to assess the presence of archaeological materials and thus allowing us to gauge the extent of sites even when partly buried under the alluvium (figure 3). Unsystematic surface collections suffice for sites where we simply need information on the dates of occupation and their approximate spatial extent.
For sites where we need higher resolution data we adopt a more systematic approach, including laying out a grid to assess pottery sherd frequencies and collect all diagnostic materials (figure 4). With this methodology we can more accurately determine which parts of the site were used during which periods of occupation, and even distinguish different activity areas within a given settlement phase (for example storage, or food preparation). On sites where architectural remains are visible (for example fortified hilltops), we use a total station to create a digital architectural plan (figure 5), in combination with vertical photography from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone).
For the recording, management, analysis and display of our data we employ a GIS platform in combination with a digital database.