SEMINARS AND COLLOQUIA
Hello All -
For those of you who could not make it to MIT for the February edition of our informal seminar series, here is a quick recap.
Wednesday - 11 February 1998, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Deep Water Archaeology Working Group, STS Department - Building E51
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We began with introductions of the people present (see list at bottom) and an overview of the Black Sea Trade Route Project (past, present, and future). Alex Gantos then discussed the work accomplished in Sinop over the last two years and illustrated his talk with slides. David Mindell followed with a quick synopsis of the functioning of side-scan sonar and our goals for the 1998 underwater survey.
The highlights were briefly as follows:
1 - BLACK SEA TRADE ROUTE PROJECT (Alex)
A - BACKGROUND -
The Black Sea (like most other bodies of water) has been misconceived as a barrier or frontier separating peoples of the region. However, the coastal sites from antiquity located around the periphery of the Black Sea seem to have more in common with each other than they do with their respective hinterlands. This is especially true for Sinop, which is isolated from the Anatolian plateau by a mountain range. Sinop is well-situated to be an important trading nexus in the Black Sea for the following reasons:
1) it is centrally located along the southern shore of the sea.
2) since Sinop is due south of the Crimea, straight-line Sinop/Crimean voyages would have been the shortest possible between the two coasts.
3) Sinop has an excellent harbor, protected from westerly and northerly winds by a low sandy ithsmus and the Boz Tepe headland.
4) a circular gyre in the surface currents at the center of the Black Sea just offshore from Sinop aid navigation between the coasts.
Sinop produced an enormous amount of export amphorae, the remains of which are found on the north coast of the Black Sea. Trade goods exported from Sinop probably included wine and olive oil, which were likely exchanged for grain.
Very little ceramic material from the north coast is found around Sinop. Could the reason for this be that Sinop was a trans-shipment point, so northern amphorae coming into the colony were rapidly carried away again? Or, did exchange goods coming into the port largely consist of bulk items like grain that would not have been transported in amphorae?
B - 1996 SEASON -
The three objectives of the 1996 field season were to evaluate the outer part of Sinop promontory for intensive survey; to establish a broad outline of the settlement history of the region; and to establish coastal areas which were appropriate for underwater survey. To accomplish this, ten environmental zones were identified, and several of them were examined. The methodology for the survey consisted of walking transects and recording site locations by GPS. The staff of the Sinop Museum was tapped for information regarding promising survey areas, as were local landowners and farmers. Artifacts were collected: most were ceramics, but lithics and other materials were also collected.
C - 1997 SEASON -
Building on the previous year's work, the team conducted a survey in a smaller area to the south of the peninsula in the vicinity of the Demirci Valley.
Methodology was similar to that employed in 1996: fieldwalking cultivated land, and sampling of artifacts, both lithic and ceramic, visible on the surface.
2 - SIDE SCAN BRIEFING
David Mindell then took the floor to describe the underwater survey we will be conducting this summer, followed by a synopsis of how side-scan sonar functions.
For those interested, an excellent reference for side-scan sonar is:
Harold Edgerton, SONAR IMAGES (Englewood Cliffs: Prenitce-Hall, 1986)
Also good, but more difficult to locate is:
John P. Fish and H. Arnold Carr, SOUND UNDERWATER IMAGES: A GIUDE TO THE GENERATION AND INTERPRETATION OF SIDE SCAN SONAR DATA (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing, 1990).
190 pages, 175 illustrations including 150 side scan records.
The volume is available for $125.00 from:
American Underwater Search and Survey, Ltd., Box 768,Cataumet, MA 02534
The next meeting of the Deep Water Archaeology Working Group is scheduled for March 4, 1998 at the STS Department, Building E51, MIT. David Mindell and Brendan Foley will present material from the 1997 Skerki Bank Mediterranean Sea Expedition. The Working Group Seminar series is open to the public, and all interested parties are invited to attend.
Best regards to all,
- David Mindell, MIT
- Brendan Foley, MIT
- Fred Hiebert, UPenn & Black Sea Trade Route Project
- David Smart, Harvard & Black Sea Trade Route Project
- Alex Gantos, Tufts & Black Sea Trade Route Project
- Victor Mastone, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Underwater
- Daniel Master, Harvard
- Catherine Cockerham, Harvard
- Susan Cohen, Harvard
- Michael Press, Harvard