The Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), a private foundation, has asked the Bureau to investigate the feasibility of using airborne LIDAR mapping as a research tool in classical archeology. PHI is supporting projects at several ancient Greek and Roman sites in Italy, Albania, Turkey and the Ukraine. During the first two weeks of August, Rebecca Smyth and Roberto Gutierrez visited Turkey and Albania as a preliminary step toward developing a full proposal for LIDAR mapping.

In Ankara, Rebecca and Roberto meet with Dr. Olcay Unver, the President of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). GAP is a major government agency for economic development in Turkey. During two days in Ankara they described LIDAR technology and the mapping program to Dr. Unver and his staff. With GAP support, the Bureau hopes to map a proposed archeological preserve on the Euphrates River that encloses the ancient Greco-Roman city of Zeugma (click here for more information) and the medieval fortress of Rumkale.

Leaving Ankara they flew to Gaziantep in eastern Anatolia and spent two days examining Zeugma and Rumkale with Rob Early of the Oxford Archeological Unit.

From Gaziantep Rebecca and Roberto flew to Istanbul and spent a day with members of the faculty and students of Yildiz Technical University. As a center for remote sensing and GIS training, Yildiz Technical University is a potential research collaborator in the LIDAR project.

 

Bureau researcher Rebecca Smyth traveling up the Euphrates River toward the fortress of Rumkale in our hired boat. The banks and hills in the background appear to be composed of a series of basaltic flows.

 

Rumkale fortress. The site is believed to have been first occupied by the Hittites in the 9th Century B.C.E. Later the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Crusaders, and Ottomans occupied the steep hilltop that guarded an important crossing on the Euphrates River.

 

Rebecca Smyth inspecting one of the medieval guardhouses protecting the main entrance into Rumkale.

 

Remains of a Byzantine monastery and church dominate the top of Rumkale. Some ruins include walls and groined ceilings of elegant stonework.

 

Turkish village of Gunalti in eastern Anatolia; a minaret in the foreground. The village is surrounded by low hills covered with olive and pistachio groves and stubble-covered wheat fields. Photo was taken from the top of a small tell.

 

Rebecca Smyth talking to Rob Earl of the Oxford Archeological Unit as they examine the remains of a Roman roadway and villa at Zeugma, an ancient Greco-Roman town on the Euphrates River.