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Space Archeology Overview at Gordion: 2010 to 2012In fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, Compton Tucker was the principal investigator of a NASA Space Archaeology project that worked at Gordion, in Central Turkey. Tucker was assisted by an excellent team of co-workers including Joseph Nigro and Daniel Slayback of Science Systems Applications Incorporated, Jenny Strum of the University of New Mexico, and Karina Yager, a post doctoral fellow at NASA/GSFC. This report summaries their research activities at Gordion for the field seasons of 2010, 2011, and 2012. Because of the possible use of our findings at Gordion for tomb robbing there and/or the encouragement of potential tomb robbers using our geophysical survey methods to locate areas to loot, we have not published any of our survey results in the open literature nor placed any of these results on any web sites. These 2010- 2012 survey results remain in the confidential archives of the University of Pennsylvania's University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the group that leads the Gordion Excavation and Research Project. Excavations are planned for 2013 at Gordion, including several that will be based upon the research results in this report. The site of Gordion in central Turkey, famous as the home of King Midas, whose father's intricately tied knot gave the site its name, also served as the center of the Phrygian kingdom that ruled much of Central Anatolia in Asia Minor during the early first millennium B.C. Gordion has been a University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology excavation project since 1950, yet the site is incompletely published despite six decades of research. The primary obstacles related to the site and its preservation were two problems that NASA technology could address: (1) critical survey errors in the hundreds of maps and plans produced by the earlier excavators, most of which used mutually incompatible geospatial referencing systems, that prevented any systematic understanding of the site; and (2) agricultural encroachment upon the site that was compromising its archaeological integrity. Our NASA Space Archaeology proposal was written to address both of these problems. When we started working at Gordion in 2010, we added a third objective, (3) ground penetrating radar and magnetic geophysical surveys of threatened areas. The first objective our NASA Space Archaeology Project was to provide the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology a system to rectify and incorporate all existing survey data from Gordion, including previous aerial photographs of the site, detailed site surveys, maps, and excavation plans, into a common mapping system. This was accomplished with a Geographic Information System (GIS) based upon a 60 cm Quickbird satellite image ortho-rectified using Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) 30 m digital elevation data and tied to a known datum at Gordion. This enabled the first accurate, multi-layer plan of this complex site, occupied almost continuously from the Bronze Age to the 1st millennium CE, and made possible Gordion's three-dimensional development for the first time.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tucker, Compton J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Slayback, Daniel (Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Nigro, Joseph D. (Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Yager, Karina A. (Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
May 9, 2014
Publication Date
April 2, 2014
Subject Category
Geosciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
The Digital Future Of World Heritage Symposium(Rome)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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