Category Archives: Research

Meet Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Assistant Director of the Gordion Project

Ayşe interviewing at Hamidiye village

In 1995 I joined the Gordion Archaeological Project to study the socio-economic structure of the traditional villages in the region. The ultimate goal was to inform the ancient economic practices of the Phrygian kingdom, using the method of ethnographic analogy from the nearby contemporary villages, to help interpret the archaeological evidence. The ancient economy was […]

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Ur Project: October 2014

Artist's reconstruction of PG789 death pit before the courtiers died. The chamber is seen in the background, taller than the people.

Tomb Fit for a Queen (and King?) Spotlight on PG789 & PG800 Royal graves that might or might not be linked In December of 1927, Leonard Woolley uncovered a pair of tombs that would become two of the best known from the Royal Cemetery at Ur, inspiring many newspaper and magazine articles and sparking the […]

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The True North Strong and Free: Summer Research with Canadian Tree Planters

On the bus returning to the campsite.

I arrived to northern Ontario not knowing a single person I would meet. This wouldn’t be the first time in my dissertation study of tree planters that I was to introduce myself to a room full of strangers, telling them that I’m an anthropologist and that I come in peace.  And, in fact, this time […]

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An Excavation, An Education: My Summer at the Roman Peasant Project

Floatation in the rain

This summer I was lucky enough to spend a month in the small town of Cinigiano, Tuscany excavating for the Roman Peasant Project. The project, led by its directors Kim Bowes, Cam Grey, Emanuele Vaccaro, and Mari Ghisleni, was in its sixth and final season. The goal of the project was to understand the lives […]

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Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: Survey Far Beyond the Hilly Flanks

View down into the Topzawa Valley. Hiked to current point surveying hill for archaeological remains. Steep way down!

Survey in the newly opened archaeological frontier of Iraqi Kurdistan comes with many challenges. Other reports from University of Pennsylvania graduate students on the project about various aspects of our work have been put up on the Beyond the Museum Walls blog but my own work deals specifically with the survey in our area. This […]

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LiDAR Scans and Sacred Lakes: A Report from the 2014 Summer Season at Abydos- Part 2

Houmdi (left) and I (right) at his daughter’s wedding, sitting in the courtyard of his home built within the area of the Malih. Photo from Jamie Kelly

In my previous post, I talked about the technological methods utilized in Abydos this season. Another major part of my season at Abydos was to do a preliminary investigation of the sacred lake associated with the Osiris temple. The remnants of this sacred lake, known now as the Malih or the Salty, survived into the […]

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Archaeology at the border: Survey and excavation in Xinjiang (continued)

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As we approach the end of the field season, with 2 weeks remaining, the cold weather  also begins to settle in. Since I last wrote, the grass has yellowed, leaving flocks of sheep and cow to scavenge from what is left from a summer much drier than prior years. The rainmakers had to be called […]

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A Glance into the Lives of the Roman Peasantry: Four Weeks of Excavation with the Roman Peasant Project

Ceramics from the Tombarelle site

This summer, I had the pleasure of being accepted to be a part of the sixth and final season of the Roman Peasant Project. I excavated alongside a team of professional archaeologists, professors, and graduate, PhD, and undergraduate students in rural Tuscany in Cinigiano, a municipality in the Province of Grosseto. The site we excavated was called Tombarelle. The Roman Peasant Project, directed by Kim […]

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The Corinth Excavations

Corinth L-29-10-11 by the Painter of KP 14

I am writing from the site of Ancient Corinth, where excavations under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have been going on since the late 19th century.  The Corinth Excavations have been a training ground for generations of archaeologists, including me, and I thank the director, Guy Sanders, and assistant […]

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Baths in the Dirt: Season 2 at Cosa

Rainwater pooling on a floor made of  (still working!) Roman waterproof concrete

“Depart, work and troubles! Now I sing of the baths that sparkle with shining stones…” -Statius, Silvae 1.5 Roman baths were famous for their opulence and ubiquity, and are spoken of admiringly by a number of ancient authors. To excavate a Roman bath, however, is a different matter. The baths do not sparkle, nor do […]

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