Marine coring platform

Geological and Archaeological Traces of Climatic Changes in Amuq Valley during Holocene (TUBİTAK 1001)

Studies on human-climate interaction have become quite common in recent years. Although a significant part of these studies is trying to understand human-climate interaction through models based on recent data, it is also necessary to investigate how this interaction has functioned throughout history. In order to achieve this goal, paleoclimate records, which reveal the Earth’s long-term climatic dynamics, should be examined together with the archaeological records. From this point of view, the Amuq Valley, which has a wide ranging dataset obtained by systematic archaeological methods and hosts two lakes which geologically record climatic changes, is an ideal case study to investigate long-term human-climate interaction. In order to achieve these goals, a new project was launched to obtain high-resolution paleoclimate records through detailed geochronological, sedimentological, geochemical, mineralogical, palynological, and paleobotanical investigations in undisturbed core samples extracted from lakes and in the environs of mounds. A particular target of the study is the effects of droughts, known as the 8.2, 4.2, and 3.2 ka BP events, on historical agricultural activities in the valley.

Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic records are traditionally obtained from lacustrine/marine sedimentary sequences, tree rings, and cave deposits by using multi-proxy datasets and analyses. The project entitled Geological and Archaeological Traces of Climatic Changes in Amuq Valley during Holocene, directed by Ulaş Avşar (METU, Geological Engineering Dept.) on the other hand, attempts to combine archaeological and geological records from the same spatial and temporal setting to understand real-time effects of environmental changes in an agriculturally rich and geomorphologically shifting landscape. Thus, as part of the Amuq Valley Regional Project, a sedimentary coring program was initiated in the vicinity of the Bronze and Iron Age capitals (Tell Atchana and Tell Tayinat), as well as near Tell Kurdu and the former Amuq Lake, to understand the impact of environmental changes occurring over the past several thousand years.

Coring operation
Retrieved cores ready for analysis
Documenting the cores