construction of a great city on a virgin site must have had
a very significant impact on the local environment. Clearing
of the mountain-top itself, cutting of nearby timber for building
and other purposes, and the introduction of new agricultural
practices in the near vicinity would each have had a strong
impact on the ecology through deforestation, erosion and changes
in hydrology. Destruction and abandonment of the city would
perhaps have brought about some reversal. In order to document
and assess the level and speed of these aspects of human impact
on the environment a program of environmental and geomorphological
studies is being undertaken by Catherine Kuzucuoglu and Mehmet
Ekmekçi (Fig. 36).
This involves the geophysical sectioning of surrounding valleys
and drilling into local sediments to obtain cores. Study of
the cores will reveal a regional history of environmental change
that it will then be possible to relate to patterns of human
exploitation of the landscape throughout the last 10,000 years
of the holocene period.
Dates for sediments in the cores will be obtained through radio-carbon
atomic mass spectrometer (C 14 AMS) dating of very small quantities
of organic matter. One exciting possibility is that traces of
ash from the fire that finally destroyed the city, around 547
BC, might be detectible in the cores.