Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tomb Monkeys

The entrance into the Midas Tumulus
In addition to working on the artifacts in the Gordion Museum and in storage we also do some work in the fabulous wooden tomb chamber inside the Midas Tumulus. The Midas Tumulus is one of the archaeological resources open to the public in and around the village of Yassıhöyük.  Located across from the Gordion Museum it gets up to 60,000 visitors every year.

This year there are been a project to view features on pitched roof of the tomb and we have been working with the archaeologists who are carrying out the project to document the activity.

Documenting work on the roof of the 2700 year old tomb
Working on and around the tomb chamber involves some rather acrobatic maneuvers. Also being inside a fence and at times viewed by visitors gives a rather interesting flavor to the work- thus the term "tomb monkeys" has developed to describe the archaeologists working in the tomb day after day.

Silverback tomb monkey imparting advice to his assistant
We are also continuing environmental monitoring of the tomb to ensure that visitation, archaeological documentation activities and any unknown problems don’t create an environment that would endanger the wooden structure. This project, on-going for over a decade, has shown that there are small changes in temperature and environment that track what’s going on outside. The changes are slight and the ancient wooden structure (so far) is not in any danger from theseagents of deterioration.

Looking at 2010-2011 datalogger data
Tomb monkeys headed home after a long day 

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