Episode 9: Geophysical

GeophysicalROEpisode 9 of Emerging Cypriot is now posted!  This episode focuses on the geophysical work that the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project conducted during the 2007 field season and introduces John Hunt who collects our geophysical data for us.  The technique that we used during the 2007 season was electrical resistivity.  John described it fully in this week’s short.  It is the most commonly used technique in the Eastern Mediterranean largely owing to its simplicity and cost effectiveness.  As I have noted in other posts our results were all that we hoped for as I have noted elsewhere in this blog (e.g. Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project Mid-Winter Update).  The outline of a possible Early Christian basilica and highly-suggestive bedrock cuts on the ridge of Kokkinokremos will become the targets of excavations during our rapidly-approaching 2008 field season.

As excited as we are about the discoveries produced by the geophysical work, we are equally excited about our success in implementing a multi-stage research strategy rooted in survey archaeology. The first phase of fieldwork in 2003, as readers of this blog know, was informal “extensive” type survey that did little more than allow us to gain a broad understanding of the distribution of artifacts across the site.  In 2004, 2005, and 2007 we first increased the intensity of our survey employing a gridded collection of the highest density areas of the site and then expanded out intensive survey to the surrounding area using larger units.  The next stage in our fieldwork saw us conduct geophysical prospecting of the highest density areas and this will continue in 2008.  The final stage will be focused excavation of two areas documented by geophysical work.  This tiered approach will enable us to analyze not only the varied success of the techniques used to document the site, but also to ensure that any finds from both excavation and survey have reciprocal archaeological context.  We can correlate excavated material with the spatially more extensive material from survey and (hopefully) correlate the unstratified material collected by survey with stratified deposits from the excavation.  Finally, survey and geophysical work minimizes the area requiring excavation.  Excavation is not only costly, labor-intensive, and time consuming, but it is also a far more destructive method for gaining knowledge about past activity than even our relatively intensive survey collection.  By implementing a multi-stage approach to the landscape we not only protect the archaeological remains at Pyla-Koutsopetria, but we are also producing a far more meaningful context for those that we collected (i.e. removed from their depositional or “archaeological” context) than we could using any one technique alone.

A few technical notes
The video is all in QuickTime which you will need to download to watch it.  If you right click and download the video, it is formatted for viewing on your iPod or even iPhone or iPod Touch.  When a new installment is made, the image will become a rollover image.  We’ll add a short a week.  I borrowed the idea for this format from a video series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  The center square in the last row is a link to the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project web page where you can read more about everything that you see in these film shorts.

We have posted a particularly frank interview with the director of Emerging Cypriot and Survey on Cyprus, and you can read the commentaries on the first eight shorts (with links to those shorts) below.


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