Botanical Aspects of Environment and Economy at Gordion, Turkey

Botanical Aspects of Environment and Economy at Gordion, Turkey

Naomi F. Miller
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fhqg8
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  • Book Info
    Botanical Aspects of Environment and Economy at Gordion, Turkey
    Book Description:

    The archaeological site of Gordion is most famous as the home of the Phrygian king Midas and as the place where Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot on his way to conquer Asia. Located in central Anatolia (present-day Turkey) near the confluence of the Porsuk and Sakarya rivers, Gordion also lies on historic trade routes between east and west as well as north to the Black Sea. Favorably situated for long-distance trade, Gordion's setting is marginal for agricultural cultivation but well suited to pastoral production. It is therefore not surprising that with the exception of a single Chalcolithic site, the earliest settlements in the region are fairly late-they date to the Early Bronze Age (late 3rd millennium B.C.). The earliest known levels of Gordion, too, date to the Early Bronze Age, and occupation of at least some part of the site was nearly continuous through at least Roman times (second half of the 1st century B.C.). This work is a contribution to both the archaeobotany of west Asia and the archaeology of the site of Gordion. The book's major concern is understanding long-term changes in the environment and in land use. An important finding, with implications for modern land management, is that the most sustainable use of this landscape involves mixed farming of dry-farmed cereals, summer-irrigated garden crops, and animal husbandry. The large number of samples from the 1988-89 seasons analyzed here make this a rich source for understanding other materials from the Gordion excavations and for comparison with other sites in west Asia.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-50-6
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. CD CONTENTS
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. 1 Archaeological Background
    (pp. 1-8)

    The archaeological site of Gordion is most famous as the home of the Phrygian king Midas and as the place where Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot on his way to conquer Asia. Located in central Anatolia near the confluence of the Porsuk and Sakarya rivers, Gordion also lies on historic trade routes between east and west, as well as north to the Black Sea. Very favorably situated for long-distance trade, Gordion’s setting is marginal for cultivation, but well-suited to pastoral production. It is therefore not surprising that with the exception of a single Chalcolithic site (Kealhofer 2005), the...

  8. 2 Environment, Vegetation, and Land Use
    (pp. 9-20)

    Preliminary archaeobotanical work (Miller 1999), geomorphological studies (Marsh 2005), archaeological survey (Kealhofer 2005), and ethnoarchaeological studies (Gürsan-Salzmann 2005) all show that the 20th-century landscape of the Sakarya valley is quite different from that of 3000, 300, or even 30 years ago. Even so, the present-day climate and vegetation provide a baseline against which one can assess the macrobotanical remains. Palynological studies from neighboring regions give independent information with some time depth.

    Strong Mediterranean influence on the climate gives much of Turkey cool or cold wet winters and hot dry summers. Elevation, local topography, and distance from the coast create great...

  9. 3 Field to Laboratory: Collection and Processing of Wood Charcoal and Flotation Samples
    (pp. 21-24)

    Two basic types of deposits were encountered in the 1988/1989 seasons—burnt buildings and ordinary occupation debris. Because the former is likely to include a substantial amount of construction debris and even some food stores, and the latter is likely to include a substantial amount of spent fuel, there is no reason to sample and analyze them in the same way. The three burnt structures represent different occupation phases and types of houses: the Burnt Reed House is an Iron Age wattle-and-daub domestic structure; Terrace Building 2 probably housed support staff for the Early Phrygian Destruction Level elite quarter; and...

  10. 4 Analysis of the Wood Charcoal Sample
    (pp. 25-36)

    The stratigraphic sounding undertaken in 1988 and 1989 established a sequence of archaeological phases, and the excavations greatly expanded the amount and variety of plant materials available for study. Excavators were asked to collect all chunks of charcoal seen in the course of excavation; this goal was not reached. The three burnt buildings contained too much charcoal from construction debris, and even from the other kinds of deposits, excavators were somewhat erratic in their zeal to collect plant remains. The new materials come primarily from occupation debris, including pits in residential areas, trash pits, ordinary occupation debris, and occupation debris...

  11. 5 Analysis of the Flotation Samples
    (pp. 37-62)

    During the 1988 and 1989 excavations seasons, over 600 flotation samples were taken from about 230 stratigraphically distinct deposits (Table 5.1). A small proportion of these were mixed in antiquity or were not as well excavated as they might have been. In choosing samples to analyze, I tried to get as full a time range as possible, as many in situ hearths and pits as there was time for (including multiple samples from complex deposits), and some samples that were from securely dated deposits but otherwise not noteworthy.

    It is difficult to generalize about minor differences between the time periods....

  12. 6 Interpretation—Summary and Conclusions
    (pp. 63-72)

    There are a number of questions one can ask of macroremains from an archaeological site. At the most basic level, one can record the plants growing nearby that were used for food, fuel, fodder, and construction in different time periods. Archaeobotanical data also speak to land-use practices and consequent long-term human impact on the vegetation and landscape. Given the long, well-dated sequence at Gordion, there are several questions specific to the agropastoral economy, historical events, movement of peoples, and other cultural trends that are worth addressing with archaeobotanical data. Some of the broad conclusions drawn from these data support interpretations...

  13. Appendix A. Flotation Samples: Laboratory Protocol for Gordion
    (pp. 73-75)
  14. Appendix B. Wood Charcoal Identification Criteria
    (pp. 76-79)
  15. Appendix C. Vegetation Survey
    (pp. 80-113)
  16. Appendix D. Wild and Weedy Taxa: Seed Identification and Ecological Information
    (pp. 114-140)
  17. Appendix E. Charcoal Samples
    (pp. 141-167)
  18. Appendix F. Flotation Samples
    (pp. 168-264)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-270)
  20. Index
    (pp. 271-272)
  21. Author Note
    (pp. 273-273)