(Guest post by Megan Daniels)
I am probably the only one on this project who rarely even sees the water, let alone gets into it! My job at Burgaz is twofold: one on hand, I manage the finds as they come in from the field, from their desalinization to drying, sorting, and cataloguing, to photography and drawing, and finally to finer-grained analyses. On the other hand, I have also spent much of the last month looking closely and patiently through an eyeglass lens, trying to pick out subtle details of pottery that might help us in distinguishing different types of local fabrics. Consequently, through characterizing fabrics and sorting the Burgaz ceramics into distinct fabric groups, we hope to gain a clearer picture of local networks of production. I have to date distinguished around 8 different local groups of fabrics through close inspection, photography and written descriptions.
In addition, I have been using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) machine to take chemical readings on different fabrics in order to test the accuracy of visible identifications and to build up a “library”, so to speak, of chemical profiles of local fabrics. Essentially, XRF instruments emit x-ray photons into a sample of material (in our case, ceramics) and then measure the characteristic fluorescent energies given off by different elements within the material. The XRF readings along with a physical reference collection I have assembled should give us a better handle in analyzing fabrics and understanding the ratios of local versus imported wares. Ultimately, the data we are gathering through fabric-sorting and XRF-testing will help to build up a picture of the changing importance and nature of Burgaz throughout different periods, from its earlier periods as a bustling town and port to later periods, when the site served a more local industrial purpose.