Aphrodisias, Turkey

Aphrodisias is one of the world's best-preserved Greaco Roman cities, located in the Dandalaz Valley in south-eastern Turkey. New York University has been conducting research at Aphrodisias since 1961. In 2005, a preliminary low-intensity survey of the Dandalaz Valley was conducted under the leadership of Professor Christopher Ratte.

 

I contributed to the GIS team of the Aphrodisias Regional Survey during the 2006-2008 field seasons.

 

 

Field Work

During the past 3 field seasons, we gathered data using Trimble GeoXT- a high-performance GPS receiver that is able to identify location with sub-meter accuracy. We mapped hundreds of new artifacts, including Roman tombs, ancient sarcophagi, pottery shards, olive oil presses, water basins, Ottoman tombstones, aqueducts, citadels, and similar. We used the GPS data gathered in the field to create detailed maps of the region using ArcGIS software. Our final map includs all data gathered during the survey, as well as the topographical data we compiled from the SRTM project.

In addition, we produced high-precision contour maps of sites such as ancient settlements and quarries around Aphrodisias. Precise elevation points were taken throughout each site in order to capturing the terrain features. The points were then processed to interpolate elevation and elevation gradients (slopes) at the site. A raster, or a grid of elevation values approximating the terrain’s surface was create . This raster was then used to generate contours, usually at 1 meter or 5 meter intervals.

 

Locating New Roman Artifacts with GIS

Several predictive models were developed to identify locations of new, previously undescovered artifacts such as ancient aqueducts and citadels. The models are based on GIS analysis of currently known points to identify probable locations of similar features. Elevation, slope, viewshed, and line of sight of currently known citadels was used to locate new Roman watchtowers. Cost models were developed to determine optimal aqueduct routes through unexplored terrain and identify places of probable aqueduct remains. These models resulted in the discovery of several new, previously unseen ancient artifacts.