What is ?
Wall with tethering holes in the
|Ashlar is the architectural
term for a large dressed stone. At Zeugma, ashlars are often used
as uprights, forming a framework which is then infilled with panels
of lighter masonry such as mud brick or faced rubblework.
The results of the GPR
survey in Mayenne
GPR in action at Mayenne
France, which also involved the OAU and Stratascan.
What is ?
Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a
non-intrusive geophysical survey technique which can, under the
right conditions, provide a detailed 3-dimensional profile of below
ground deposits and structures up to and beyond depths of 3 metres.
The radar sends a short pulse
of energy into the ground which rebounds off different materials,
for example walls and surfaces, and creates an image of the below
ground archaeology. The amplitude of the echoes are recorded on
radargrams and an approximate conversion is made to calculate the
depth of features. The penetration of the radar varies depending
on the local geological and topographical conditions: drier material
such as sand, gravel and rock will permit the survey of deeper sections
than materials that retain moisture such as clay. The penetration
of the pulse can be increased by using longer wavelengths but at
the expenseof resolution.
What is ?
The courtyard house is centred on
a courtyard. This courtyard is open to the elements and is surrounded
by colonnades on all four sides. The columns making up the colonnades
sit on a plinth and support a roof over the passageway surrounding
the courtyard. The rooms of the house opened off this walkway.
At Zeugma the courtyards exposed so far have mosaic floors and
below ground cisterns located to the side of the courtyard storing
water. Usually the entrance from the main door of the house would
lead to a vestibule with flanking rooms either side. From this
vestibule you could access the courtyard, with the door normally
positioned in the middle of one range. The main reception room
was the triclinium or dining room. This was normally directly
opposite the entrance. The triclinium could be the most lavishly
decorated room of the building with as much money as possible
spent on mosaic flooring and wall painting. Other rooms would
include bedrooms, secondary dining rooms, kitchen and storerooms.
(Click here for large image of courtyard house plan)
What is ?
is a technique where, by the use of a large format camera in conjunction
with theodolite survey, an accurate scaled image of an object
or wall elevation can be made. It allows for a rapid but accurate
record to be generated without the need for labour intensive,
time consuming hand measured survey, a luxury not always available
under archaeological 'rescue' conditions.
First, a series of surveyors targets are affixed to the architectural
elevation or feature to be recorded. These targets are surveyed
in using an EDM theodolite so that their precise locations are
known relative to one another and to the overall site grid. Once
the location of the targets has been recorded, the photograph
can be taken. Each photograph will include a minimum of four surveying
targets to allow for the image to be 'rectified' at the processing
stage. Specialist medium or large format cameras are used as their
large, flat photographic plates minimise the amount of distortion
to the image.
Large format camera
with flat, etched plate used for rectified photographic survey.
David Stevens undertaking
rectified photographic survey of medieval masonry at the Château
de Mayenne in Normandy, France.
In the photographic
darkroom, the measurements between the surveying targets on the
image are verified against the values from the theodolite survey
before printing - this allows for the image to be minutely corrected
('rectified') to remove any minor distortions so that it presents
a fully accurate, scaled image. Once the image has been accurately
rectified, the photograph can be printed.
By scanning the scaled photographic
image into the computer, the elevation can be traced 'on-screen'
using computer aided design software and a scaled drawing produced.
The technique of rectified photography is particularly useful for
architectural elevations with a large amount of stonework detail
and can significantly speed up the process of architectural recording
without loss of accuracy
An Object Conservator
|The finds recovered
to date have been of an exceptional quality and quantity, providing
non-stop work for the object conservators. On site these specialists
provide emergency 'first aid' and lifting procedures for especially
fragile finds. Back at the laboratory they undertake investigative
cleaning treatments and recording of decorative and technical
details on objects, as well as advising on storage and safe
packaging. On site they carry a walkie/talkie so that they can
be on call if needed in any trench.
Temporary packing for objects
awaiting further treatment/radiography. Scales bottom shelf,
lock top shelf
Dana Goodburn-Brown from
AMTeC Recording the micro details
- mineral preserved wood on a knife blade
|A wide variety of
artefacts have been found. Some are made from organic materials
such as textiles, leather and timber that do not usually survive
unless in waterlogged, oxygen free conditions . Interestingly,
large quantities of charcoal have invariably been associated
with these materials when found on site, suggesting that the
charcoal in destruction layers may have provided a buffering
microenvironment against agents of decay (much in the same way
that activated charcoal and charcoal cloth are often used as
protective measures to mop up organic acids in modern museum
The conservation lab has a microscope
with a video attachment. This helps record materials found
in fine detail. We have been able to identify the scant remains
of textile attached to a broach and the material a weaving
kit was wrapped in.
All treatments undertaken on
artefacts, both on and off site are documented and will form
part of the site archive. The relationship between the nature
of preservation of the materials excavated and the type of
burial environment they lay in are of particular interest.
A better understanding of these processes leads to more accurate
predictions and management decisions for the site as a whole.
What is ?
A quern stone
Some of the largest artefacts
found during the excavation are the quern stones made of the
hard local stone, black basalt. Quern stones are tools used
for grinding and include both hand querns and donkey mills.
Rotary hand querns are of a
simple design and are easy to operate. The substance to be
ground, for example flour or lentils, is placed between two
rounded flat stones. The upper stone is rotated, either by
hand, or more often with the aid of a short stick that is
slotted into a hollow cut into the side of the top. The two
stones are held together by a variety of ingenious methods.
While the upper stone always has a central perforation, the
lower stone can have a perforation, a low hump, or an iron
spike in the centre. The upper stone either slots over the
lower one, or a strong wooden stick with padding around the
lower half is jammed into the two perforations.
|These querns would
have been a standard utensil in any Roman kitchen. Although
they can be very large and heavy, they were carried by the Roman
army on the march, with maybe one quern for every ten men. Rotary
hand querns are not just an ancient tool, but were used extensively
into the last century and are still used today in more rural
areas, for example by Bedouins in south Jordan.
Rotary hand quern
mills represent the industrial revolution in the world of quern
stones. The upper stone is hourglass shaped with two handle
blocks on the outside. These blocks are hollow squares with
perforations in two sides. The perforated end of a large wooden
beam would be slotted into the block and held in place by a
peg running through from the holes in the sides. The lower stone
is cone shaped. The upper stone sits on the cone and is turned
by two donkeys tied to the beams or by two strong people. The
top half of the hourglass provides a trough for feeding the
grain into, whilst the grinding surface is the friction between
the lower half and the cone.
Simple in design, donkey mills provided the means for grinding
greater quantities of grain and their presence is indicative
of larger-scale production and hence a bigger population. They
are also thought to have been used for industrial purposes,
for example in mines where they may have been used for grinding
What is ?
A steelyard scale
A steelyard scale has been found in
trench 9, the excavation area that revealed the remains of what
are thought to be shops or workshops. This type of scale has three
main parts, a horizontal bar with two suspension hooks, a weighing
pan and a weight. The two hooks are situated at one end of the bar,
on opposite sides. One is for suspending the complete scale and
one is for the pan, which hangs down from the bar on chains. The
remainder of the bar is marked out with notches indicating the different
weights. The weight itself is suspended from the bar on a hook and
chain. The scales operate by placing the object in the pan and then
sliding the weight along the bar until it hangs level, the notch
where the weight rests is thus the weight of the object.
Scales in temporary packaging
awaiting further investigation/conservation treatment.
scale is almost complete; the pan, weight and the bar with the two
suspension hooks have all been found. The bar is hollow and it is
likely that the long notched part upon which the weight would slide
was a separate piece of metal to be inserted in the open end of the
bar. This would allow the steelyard to be packed up and stored and
transported easily. The weight is made of lead covered with copper
plating. It is shaped like an acorn.The steelyard is one of the simplest
types of scales, and the design has changed little over time; an hour's
drive from the Zeugma site is the town of Sanliurfa where, in the
copper market, similar scales are still being produced today.