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Title: Shedding light on the past
Authors: Stampfl, APJ
Freidman, ES
Wilkinson, TJ
Alp, EE
Yener, KA
Keywords: Turkey
Humans populations
Archaeological sites
Cultural objects
Cultural objects
Quaternary period
X-ray fluorescence analysis
Issue Date: 14-Mar-2011
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Citation: Stampfl, A. P. J., Friedman, E. S., Wilkinson, T. J., Alp, E. E., & Yener, K. A. (2011). Shedding light on the past. Paper presented at the Italian - Australian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Workshop. New scientific techniques in archaeology, palaeo-anthropology and cultural heritage, 14-17 March 2011, Rydges Hotel, Cronulla, Sydney.
Abstract: The Amuq valley or plain of Antioch, located in the Hatay province of south central Turkey, has been densely inhabited by humans for some 9,000 years. The plain provides a fruitful ground for archaeological study due to the abnormally large number of preserved ancient sites found there. Surrounded by mountains on all sides and fed by three rivers, the fertile valley provides an opportunity to study the relationship of ancient man and his environment in microcosm. The floor of the valley has been the home of several lakes: some of the largest archaeological sites existing in the mid-late Holocene appear to have been located near-by the Lake of Antioch which evolved during this period. A sedimentary core, representing an estimated 7,000 years of history, was taken from the lake. Synchrotron x-ray fluorescence measurements were performed on sections of the core. Analysis yielded the distribution of elemental masses spanning from Ca to Mo as a function of depth from the surface. Figure 1 shows the results for Cu. Changes in elemental concentration with time reflect the changes in the local environment at the time of deposition. Higher concentrations of copper may reflect metal working activities: there is a maximum in Fig. 1 around 5000 BP, a high period in settlement history. Elemental concentrations measured follow a number of distinct patterns that may be related to local geomorphology and climate. In this fashion a historical account of the development of the Lake of Antioch was constructed from the data. The ebb and swell of the lake as well as changes in the local river courses directly influence man’s presence in the region. Signals of such environmental change can be discerned from tracking diachronic changes in elemental concentrations throughout the sediment core. These elements serve as proxies for environmental change, both human and climate induced. The data suggest that man’s activities may have aggravated some of the erosional processes. © ANSTO
Gov't Doc #: 9669
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