Omur Harmansah

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Illinois, Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9732

Approve Date

October 23, 2018

Project Title

Harmansah, Dr. Omur, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Holocene and Anthropocene Landscapes in Anatolia: The Political Ecology of Water in the Hittite Borderlands'

Preliminary abstract: This archaeological landscape project investigates the political ecology of water in the southern borderlands of the Hittite Empire (central Turkey), using the field methods of intensive systematic fieldwalking, GIS-based mapping of surface architecture, geophysical prospection of subsurface remains, and geomorphology, to document the diachronic history of land use and settlement in the vicinity of two major imperial monuments of the Late Bronze Age. The survey region (three hydrologically connected basins and surrounding karst uplands) witnessed the construction of two water monuments by the Hittite King Tudhaliya IV (1237-1209 BCE): the Sacred Pool of Yalburt Yaylası and the Earthen Dam of Köylütolu Yayla. It is hypothesized that the making of these border monuments accompanied a large scale imperial program of hydrological infrastructure and new settlement, which was archaeologically documented by the Yalburt Project team in the Kurugöl basin below Yalburt Yaylası and Gölyeri lowlands around Köylütolu during the field seasons of 2010-2017. A methodological contribution of the project is to contrast this Holocene intervention in the settlement ecology to the 20th century water infrastructure projects of the modern Turkish state that have been instrumental in the production of the degraded landscapes of the Anthropocene. Following an irrigation project for sugar beet production in mid-to-late 20th century, the drained Kurugöl basin is now the planned site of a coal-fired power plant and its 33 km2 open pit mine, which threatens its archaeological landscape. The project critiques the methodological tendencies in survey archaeology that avoid altered post-industrial landscapes, and contributes to the debates on environmental crises and climate change through an ecologically comparative perspective on the Holocene and the Anthropocene, using critical geomorphology.