Over the last week at BK strange sights have been witnessed on the mound: is it a new TV aerial, some form of water-divining equipment or even a futuristic zimmer-frame? And why isthat person hammering pegs into the mound? Well, it is Kelsey Lowe and Aaron Fogel undertaking geophysical survey!
Seen here with the wonderfully named fluxgate gradiometer Aaron and Kelsey are undertaking the first magnetometer survey at the site in which archaeological features below the ground are sought using variation in their magnetic properties. Magnetometry and other geophysical methods such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) – which the team will be using in a day or two – allow us to understand what is beneath the soil before we dig, improving the efficiency of excavation and allowing mapping of the form and extent of sites without massive scale excavation. Boncuklu is composed of mudbrick buildings buried in ashy soil and lacks the large ditches and stone walls which are so successfully mapped by geophysical methods. Aaron and Kesley are combining magnetometry and GPR to see if they can effectively map Boncuklu’s features in work which is not only interesting to Boncuklu-lovers but also will help to develop the method on this kind of site.
The first results are very promising and have given us some new target areas for exploratory excavation next year, in a process known as ground truthing, that will test how accurate the geophysical results are. Once work has wrapped up at BK, Aaron and Kelsey move on to the mega-city of Kültepe near Kayseri to work with our colleague Prof. Fikri Kulakoğlu from Ankara University.