About Orgame/Argamum

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Blog created and administrated by: Dr. Vasilica Lungu (excavation director of Orgame necropolis), Dr. Alexandra Dolea, Dr. Alina Mușat-Streinu and Dr. Marius Streinu. Orgame/Argamum is one of the most important archaeological sites along the Black Sea coast. The pattern of habitation for the area lasts, with small periods of interruption, almost two millennia. The archaeological discoveries fully illustrate this interval, starting about the 13th century and divided into the following periods: Bronze Age (13th century B.C); Early Iron Age (10th – 8th centuries B.C.); Archaic and Classical (7th – 4th centuries B.C.); Hellenistic (3rd – 2nd centuries B.C.); Early Roman (2nd – 4th centuries A.D.) and Late Roman (4th – 7th centuries A.D.).


Geophysical Field Camp in Jurilovca

During the period 29 July – 7 August 2011, Bucharest Student Chapter (BSC) (a student association affiliated with the University of Bucharest’s Faculty of Geology and Geophysics) organized a project entitled “Geophysical Field Camp in Jurilovca”. As a student chapter of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), BSC is able to apply to participate in different programs that the SEG is implementing. In the spring of 2011, BSC was awarded an SEG Foundation Field Camp grant to organize a field application in Romania where students at the University of Bucharest could learn how to set up a field camp, get practical experience in using geophysical equipment and understand the basic principles of the near-surface geophysical methods. The field location chosen was the Argamum/Orgame archaeological site, near the town of Jurilovca, Romania. The European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers and ‘Prospectiuni SA Company’ chose to co-finance the project, offering crucial contributions for the success of the field camp.
The project was managed by PhD and Master students and also benefited from the involvement of two assistant professors at the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics. Eventually, the group was formed of 18 undergraduate students belonging to the University of Bucharest, Romania and to Belgrade University, Serbia. The scientific purpose of the project was to apply non-invasive methods to investigate and identify the buried structures at the archaeological site of the ancient city of Orgame, which is more than 2700 years old. The efficiency of the investigation methods suitable for this purpose has been improved over time and has developed into the so-called ‘geo-archaeology domain’. The methods used were: active seismics, resistivity surveys, ground penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetometry.
The area was split into three different perimeters and the students were split into teams so that each team would conduct a different kind of survey in the same time. The students were rotated throughout the duration of the project, so that each one of them would get the chance to apply every method of investigation.
In the first and the second days of the field camp, all the students worked on seismic acquisition, on two out of the three perimeters. The geophysical equipment was offered by the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics. The seismic surveys were performed using 3 Geometrics Geode units, totalizing 72 geophones, the source being a 10 kg hammer. Two profiles were investigated:  one of 100 meters and the second one of 72 meters. Technical issues were encountered during the survey, but the supervisor was able to fix them in time and the experience was useful for the students, who learned to manage problems that might occur during a field investigation like this. The GPR investigation was carried out using a GSSI device, with multiple surveys being implemented over the same grids with antennas of 100, 200 and 400 MHz. The magnetic surveys were performed using a Geometrics G-856 device. Total field and gradient data were acquired over the same grids investigated with GPR. The resistivity surveys were realized using an ABEM SAS1000 Terrameter, and the investigation method was the Wenner profiling. The data acquisition on the two areas was done during the course of three days where the students were rotated in the teams with different people and different methods. The data-processing took place every evening, after the completion of the data acquisition and for the quality check we have discussed different processing methods.
The project was a collaboration between geoscientists and archaeologists, who are students at universities in Romania and Canada. Cezar Iacob held a presentation especially for them in which he explained the applicability of a few geophysical methods in the investigation of archaeological sites. The following day, the archaeology students met with the geoscientists in the field and experienced a little the geophysical investigation methodology.
The primary results were quickly interpreted and discussed with Ms. Vasilica Lungu (the person responsible for the archaeological site). More data processing is still to be done by the scientific advisors of the project, a detailed interpretation being planned to be discussed with the archaeology partners during a workshop scheduled for November 2011.
The project was a complete success for the undergraduate geosciences students and an interesting experience for the archaeology students. 

Text: Cezar Iacob

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