Seven days of hard work and discussion – report from the Workshop

Between 15th-21st of October the Workshop for Reading Past and Present Landscapes in Central Europe has been held in the Sárvíz-valley region. Operating from a field base in Nagyhörcsökpuszta an international team of scientists has conducted extensive field surveys aided by GPS techniques in a study grid of 4 x 6 km. This research was assisted by intensive case studies applying geophysical methods of prospection and aerial photography. The project is now in the phase of post-processing of the results. The research was possible to conduct only through close co-operation of the institutional partners: Archeomap, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungarian National Museum – National Heritage Protection Center, Institute of Archaeology at University of Warsaw and the financing and professional help from International Visegrad Fund and its administration. Here’s the day-by-day report from the Workshop.

Photo 1 – Poster of the Workshop (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 1 – Monday October 15th

The Workshop was opened on Monday with the arrival of the Hungarian and Slovak team and later the group of Polish scientists. Initial briefing was held and first survey grids were measured with the use of hand-held GPS devices. Upon the arrival of all the scientists an introduction to the method and between the teams took place followed by post-processing of daily acquired data and an integration evening.

Photo 2 – Polish team crossing the Carpathians (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 2 – Tuesday October 16th

The only bad weather that the Workshop encountered occurred on Tuesday. heavy raining since early morning hours created an intense state of hesitation whether to go or not into the field. But despite heavy rain the decision was made to go. After a short briefing and introduction to the method, the scientists equipped with GPS devices and rain-proof clothes went into the field to survey a small area. Afterwards, in the warm and dry shelter of the base, the discussion panel has been held. Przemysław Dulęba gave the lecture Archeologiczne Zdjęcie Polski as a national system of field research. Then Piotr Wroniecki presented a paper on Non-invasive archaeology in Poland. Afterwards Agnieszka Tomas presented a paper called Roman Pannonia – Remote sensing techniques in research of the Roman limes. The discussion held afterwards, aided by introduction to the new method by Gábor Mesterházy and Máté Stibrányi, consisted mainly of exchanging doubts and guidelines to differences between old Polish and newly-developed Hungarian system. The evening was spent on international integration and further discussion.

Photo 3 – Brave workshop cars going off-road while on-road on field roads (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 4 – Surveying in heavy rain (Author: Marcin Jaworski)

Photo 5 – Przemysław Dulęba and his paper (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 6 – Piotr Wroniecki and his paper (Author Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 7 – Agnieszka Tomas and her paper (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 3 – Wednesday October 17th

The extensive survey with GPS blasted off fully on Wednesday. International mixed groups of four went into the field in the morning with the goal to survey 1 x 1 km square grid each. The method, developed by the Hungarian team was fully tested and all the participants of the project gathered experience and started developing ideas on improving it. In the mean time a team of geophysicists measured the area where a Roman age road was located, and afterwards the measurements were held on a Bronze Age hillfort. This was aided by aerial photography and prospection. In the evening post-processing of GPS and geophysical data took place followed by initial data presentation.

Photo 8 – Traversing through terrain obstacles (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 9 – International teams of four surveying the grid with GPS devices (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 10 – Rough weather conditions improved in the afternoon (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 4 – Thursday October 18th

The weather conditions improved extremely, as the temperatures elevated sky-high. Conducting the GPS-aided survey method in grids followed in new areas through Thursday in international groups. Geomagnetic prospection aided by aerial photography prospection and documentation was held again on the hillfort and in the area where surface finds suggested a presence of Roman Age settlement, possibly a villa. In the evening post-processing of the GPS and geophysical data has been done with a brief presentation of daily results. Hungarian media accompanied the survey preparing a document about the Workshop.

Photo 11 – A trench found during survey revealed in its profile a past dig (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 12 – A panoramic picture of the Bronze Age hillfort (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 5 – Friday October 19th

With a lot of sunny and really hot weather, the GPS survey continued in international groups. After identifying through surface finds an area where a second Roman Age villa (so called Villa Melinda) could be located more geophysical research has been conducted. Afterwards the geophysical team moved to an area where a Medieval settlement of Saint Martin, destroyed in the 2nd part of XVI-th. cent., was supposed to be located. The prospection there was held in the presumed area of the town’s church and graveyard. In the mean time the aerial prospection team conducted kite-photography over the hillfort. In the evening Martin Krajňák presented his paper Archaeogeophysics: non-destructive archaeological prospection. It was followed by a short discussion and data post-processing with initial presentation of the results. A discusison over Polish and Hungarian methods took place while planning next day’s steps. Hungarian media accompanied the survey preparing a document about the Workshop.

Photo 13 – Many situations of encountering wild-life in the survey area (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 14 – The so-called Villa Melinda settlement area (Author: Marcin Jaworski)

Photo 15 – Martin Krajňák and his paper (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 6 – Saturday October 20th

Last day of field prospection was held in really hot weather conditions, really unexpected when the Workshop was prepared. Along the GPS-survey, a classical AZP-based method of surveying was conducted on Villa Melinda, followed by an experiment of comparing the GPS-survey and a combined GPS+AZP method. Further experiments were conducted through applying RTK GPS to pinpoint the surface finds. Along these surveys aerial multi-spectral photography from a plane has been conducted on the hillfort and it’s vicinity. In the evening a presentation of the results along with a discussion over the methods took place. After post-processing of the data and presentation of daily results an exchange of contacts took place, followed by Workshop’s closing party.

Photo 16 – AZP-based survey method conducted on Villa Melinda (Author: Marcin Jaworski)

Photo 17 – Discussing different approaches in the field (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Photo 18 – Plane flying over the vicinity of the hillfort conducting multi-spectral imagery (Author: Marcin Jaworski).

Day 7 – Sunday October 21st

Since morning, on the last day, a final debriefing took place with a final exchange of ideas and future plans for post-processing of the results and evaluation of all the data. After breakfast and a common picture the Workshop has been closed and the scientists have left the base around noon.

Sharing experience, gathering ideas and working with enthusiastic people was very inspiring. Many of the aims of the Workshop and the whole project have been fulfilled during this intense week. Intense field walking allowed the extensive survey grid to be surveyed in over 70%. Geophysical survey and aerial photography have produced successful and significant results. Now all of the data has to be gathered, post-processed and interpreted, so the outcome of the project in form of publications and reports can be reached. There is still a lot of work in the evaluation phase, but the success of the Workshop is unquestionable. We hope to meet in future for more common projects and exchanging experience and ideas for cooperation and research in Central Europe.

-Marcin Jaworski

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