Dzierzęcin and Cisowo 2022: Surveying and Cranes

Cisowo cranes and field covered in rapeseed plants (left).

On March 11-13, 2022, the AMU RESEARCH team returned to Cisowo and Dzierżęcin to continue their survey research from last year. While in 2021 the survey had been conducted in extreme weather conditions, this time the weather was fine. The AMU team (Włodzimierz Rączkowski, Lidia Żuk, Filip Wałdoch) brought us – the lucky first year students: Aleksandra Froehlich, Jan Czeski, Paweł Dmitrijew – with them to demonstrate to us what “surface research” actually is, and what tools we can use in our field-work. They were a far cry from conventional digging tools, and the most powerful of them was the knowledge and understanding of the role nature and erosion play in forming archaeological sites (Fig. 1).

The survey was carried out without any major difficulties, with the exception of a wind turbine engine replacement on-site, which turned out to be an absorbing spectacle indeed (Fig. 2). At one point, due to safety reasons, we were even asked to move further away from the wind turbine. Needless to say, we were quivering from excitement. This perilous situation did not last long and soon we were able to return to work. The wind turbine engineers’ bravery did earn our respect, as evidenced in the photo (Fig. 2). We all wished we could climb up the turbine and conduct our research (and admire the landscape) from such an impressive height, certainly avoiding being blown off by the wind. Overall, we preferred not to contemplate such a possibility. 

Well-visible erosion in Dzierżęcin

Our survey consisted of two parts and covered the same Cisowo and Dzierżęcin fields as last year. The first part corresponded to what had been done previously. Using the RTK GPS we recorded and measured every visible artefact on the ground and marked it with a different colour than last year. Interestingly, we found no artefacts with the earlier red markings. This was actually really disappointing… Was it an effect of ploughing or poor paint quality? Since a big part of the area was covered with rapeseed plants (Fig. 3), which somewhat hampered our survey, all of us novices could at least comfort ourselves by blaming the cultivars for our failure.

The second part of our survey was quite different from any archaeological enterprise we had heard of. Two smaller parts of surveyed areas were marked out: one in Cisowo and one in Dzierżęcin. The areas with the highest density of artefacts were chosen according to last year’s survey. Before the commencement of our survey Sławomir Królewicz and Adam Młynarczyk ‘aerially’ photographed the artefacts from a height of 1.5 m (!) (Fig. 4) to obtain an orthophotomap with a resolution of 1 millimetre. Unfortunately, due to the high wind, they could not take full advantage of their drone equipped with different cameras. Next, we examined these areas very carefully, being cautious not to move any artefact from its original position on the ground. When we found such an object we recorded its position using the GPS. The plan was to teach the computer program to find those artefacts, relying only on the previously taken photographs of the area. Although hesitant at first, we understood that, if effective, the use of such methodology would spare our legs some strain. However, until we see the final research results, walking – a traditional part of archaeological research – will continue to be more convincing to us.

Our plan is to return to Cisowo and Dzierżęcin for the second time, before completing the comprehensive analysis of survey results. We still hope that they will allow us to fully address the question of how erosion and cultivation influence the dispersion of artefacts.

RESEARCH at the CAA2021

On the 16th of June RESEARCH participated in the conference CAA2021 (https://2021.caaconference.org) , presenting the paper “An open-source approach for the vulnerability assessment of archaeological deposits using grr data in QGIS environment”.

RESEARCH thanks the CAA for great organization of the event and the opportunity.

The program and book now abstract is available at the following link https://2021.caaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/06/CAA2021_Detailed-Programme_16June.pdf.

Surveying in the snow: Dzierżęcin and Cisowo (Poland)

AMU team members (Lidia on the left and Sonia on the right) measuring the artefacts in winter conditions (Photography by W. Rączkowski).

Surveying in the snow?! Yes, it is possible. From Wednesday to Saturday (11-13.03.2021), despite weather conditions, we decided it was high time for surveying areas mentioned in our project. Three sites were marked out, one in Dzierżęcin and two in Cisowo. The goal of our prospection was to find and mark artefacts visible on the ground while walking through the area. In a team of four people (Włodzimierz Rączkowski, Lidia Żuk, Filip Wałdoch and Sonia Tomczak), equipped in a GPS, each of us, we walked in the distance of stretched arms between each other to cover the area as detailed as possible. All the fragments of pottery and two pieces of glass, that we found, were marked with red dots. First, when a piece of human activity in the past, like a piece pottery, was spotted, we marked it with a flag. And then we measured their location by the use of RTK to achieve high accuracy in positioning.

Fortunately, we have marked all the pieces with flags before it started to snow. So there was no problem with finding the right spots for measurements. Snow and wind were too intense to continue surveying later this day. We went back to our base to check the results of our research.

The field in Dzierżęcin has not been cultivated for a few months and we could witness a strong animal activity there, especially traces of roe deers and boars. We have even discovered a den. Fortunately, nothing came out of it.

The next two days the weather was better and despite the strong wind, we have managed to cover the whole area between the falls of rain. The rain even helped to improve the visibility of pottery fragments on the ground. We got also a few moments of sunny weather, which didn’t really help to trace the pottery. An additional attraction was a wind farm located next to the surveyed area.

Our plan is to go back after a few months to cover the area again using the same prospection method and check if we could locate the same fragments of pottery (that is the reason behind marking them) and how they change location because of cultivation and erosion. Results might shed light on the influence of alluviation on archaeological heritage. 

Soon the Second Progress Meeting of RESEARCH

On the 31st of March, RESEARCH Partners will meet for the 2nd Progress Meeting. Considering travel limitations and other issues related to Covid-19 pandemic, the Meeting will be hold on-line. The event is reserved to the Consortium. 

Beside managerial and scientific issues, Partners will discuss secondment implementation issues related to the Pandemic situation, and recovery plans.  

RESEARCH paper published as part of Florence Heri-Tech2020 proceedings

We are very proud to announce that the paper “The RESEARCH project. Soil-related hazards and archaeological heritage in the challenge of climate change”, presented at the online conference Florence HERI-TECH, The Future of Heritage Science and Technologies Conference (14-16 October 2020) has been published as part of the open-access IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering outgoing. To download the paper, please visit https://iopscience.iop.org/issue/1757-899X/949/1.

RESEARCH at EUROMED 2020

On the 4th-5th November 2020, RESEARCH was in Cyprus at the EUROMED 2020 Conference (https://www.euromed2020.eu). Despina Makri (CUT) presented a short paper titled “Land movements estimation in Amathus archaeological site in Limassol district with In- SAR DIn-SAR methodologies”

The full conference can be followed on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBdI76zknjo8bQv5xlqkdqLndesuWLD8a  

Abstract

Amathus archaeological site is one of the most important monuments (memorials), which remains for up to 2300 years. Last decades, archaeological sites, face anthropogenic and natural disturbances. One of those is the land movements that come from landslides or earthquakes. Improved remote-sensing techniques and new data more contemporary can assist in archaeology because it provides extensive area coverage and access in difficult-to-reach archaeological sites. In the present study, we investigate the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) in land movement estimation near archaeological sites. We applied the D-InSAR (Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry) methodology in Sentinel-1 data. These data are free and available from Copernicus Open Access Hub. The methodological framework was implemented in SNAP software (Sentinel Applications Platform), which is free and available from the European Space Agency. The analysis had three main steps: a) to prepare the data and check the suitability, b) the production of the interferogram, and c) the production of displacement map in meter units. The results have shown that in the area of interest, the hazard of land movement is low.

RESEARCH at ArcheoFOSS 2020

On the 16th of October RESEARCH participated in the conference ArcheoFOSS 2020 (2020.archeofoss.org), presenting the paper “Valutazione integrata delle dinamiche di rischio di erosione del suolo in presenza di depositi archeologici. Il metodo proposto dal Progetto RESEARCH (REmote SEnsing techniques for ARCHaeology)”, which will be published as part of the conference proceedings. 

RESEARCH thanks ArcheoFOSS 2020 for great organization of the event and the opportunity.

To check the program, download the book of abstracts and watch the conference, visit the official website at https://2020.archeofoss.org.

RESEARCH will be at ArcheoFOSS 2020

RESEARCH will participate in the XIV edition of the conference ArcheoFOSS 2020, Open software, hardware, processes, data and formats in archaeological research. The conference will be held online from the 15th to the 17th of October 2020. To check the program, download the book of abstracts and watch the conference, visit the official website at  2020.archeofoss.org.  

RESEARCH at Florence HERI-TECH 2020

RESEARCH will participate to the online conference Florence HERI-TECH, The Future of Heritage Science And Technologies Conference (14-16 October 2020), presenting the paper “The RESEARCH project. Soil-related hazards and archaeological heritage in the challenge of climate change”. The contribution will be published as part of the open-access IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering outgoing within the month of November 2020. To check the program and follow the online events, visit https://www.florenceheritech.com.

UNITUS & ALMA in Itanos (Crete)

On the 27th of September 2020, UNITUS and ALMA conducted a site inspection in Itanos, one of Project case studies. Archaeologists from Università della Tuscia and staff from Alma paid particular attention to archaeological structures and features, from the perspective of the major issues related to the risk assessment of land movement to the site.