Archaeobotanists usually deal with dead plants, but as I was finishing my research on the ancient plant remains at Gordion, an ongoing project of the Penn Museum, I became involved in a bigger project: preserving regional biodiversity, the historical landscape, and the archaeological site itself through the management of the native vegetation. The approach sees an open-air archaeological site as a specialized kind of garden. This post is about one small piece of the “Ecopark” project.
I just returned from Gordion (Turkey), where I have been advising the Conservation team about the soft vegetative roof capping they have established on the conserved walls of the Citadel Gate building and the Terrace Buildings.
When the project began, I suggested the locally abundant bulbous bluegrass (Poa bulbosa) for the purpose. It has been very successful in protecting the walls, but as a living barrier, it needs some maintenance. This year, I weeded the walls and timed the results: Over the course of 5 days, I spent 412 minutes weeding 3268 seedlings over an area of about 55 square meters. This information will help the team develop a maintenance schedule.
I also developed an instructional video (filmed by Angelina Jones (MLA and MSHP Candidate, 2016, School of Design), so even if you don’t know the plants, you can learn how to weed them out!