The 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.


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