Project Overview

Kaymakçı is the largest Middle to Late Bronze Age (2000-1200 BCE) citadel currently known in western Turkey. Located 100 km inland from Izmir and the Mediterranean Coast, the ancient site is located in a valley surrounded by modern agricultural fields. Rising above the adjacent river valley, the once fortified site likely held political and economic control over the surrounding area.

The Kaymakçı Archaeological Project is engaged in a number of endeavors, ranging from archaeological survey and excavation to activities focusing on site preservation and community involvement. Excavations began in 2014 in order to understand better the nature of the site during its lifetime, as well as what could have led to its eventual abandonment.

Employing an interdisciplinary approach, recent work has included paleoethnobotanical and faunal analyses, ceramic analysis, geochemical sampling, and site mapping using GIS and various digital technologies. Funding for the project includes such sources as the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Boston University.

To find out more about the project and its goals, visit the project website.

Environmental Archaeology Lab Member Involvement

John M. Marston was the director of paleoethnobotany for the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project from its inception in 2014 until 2021. With the implementation of a systematic sampling strategy for collecting bulk soil samples, Marston has ensured a reliable means of intra-site comparison. Botanical samples from the site have given hands-on practice to those in the lab interested in learning to identify macrobotanical remains such as carbonized plant remains. Opportunities have been available for lab members to participate in summer research at the site, which includes training in flotation and recovery of archaeobotanical samples. Nami Shin focused on Kaymakçı for her MA research and is including it in her PhD research.

Related Publications


Marston, John M., Canan Çakırlar, Christina Luke, Peter Kováčik, Francesca G. Slim, Nami Shin, and Christopher H. Roosevelt. Agropastoral economies and land use in Bronze Age western Anatolia. Environmental Archaeology online before print.

Shin, Nami, John M. Marston, Christina Luke, Simone Riehl, and Christopher H. Roosevelt. Agricultural practices at Bronze Age Kaymakçı, western Anatolia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 36:102800.


Ciftci, Asiye, Funda O. Değirmenci, Christina Luke, Christopher H. Roosevelt, John M. Marston, and Zeki Kaya. Ancient DNA (aDNA) extraction and amplification from 3500-year-old charred economic crop seeds from Kaymakçı in Western Turkey: comparative sequence analysis using the 26S rDNA gene. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 66(6):1279–1294.


Roosevelt, Christopher H., Christina Luke, Sinan Ünlüsoy, Canan Çakırlar, John M. Marston, Caitlin R. O’Grady, Peter Pavúk, Magda Pieniazek, Jana Mokrisová, Catherine Scott, Nami Shin, and Francesca Slim. 2018. Exploring space, economy, and interregional interaction at a second-millennium B.C.E. citadel in central western Anatolia: the 2014–2017 excavations at Kaymakçı. American Journal of Archaeology 122:645-688. Link

Related Presentations


Shin, Nami, and John M. Marston. “Agricultural patterns of Bronze Age Kaymakçı, Gediz Valley” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research


Kaya, Zeki, Asiye Çiftçi, Funda Özdemir Değirmenci, Çiğdem Kansu, Christina Luke, Christopher H. Roosevelt, and John M. Marston. “Comparative sequence analysis of 3500-year-old charred crop seeds from Kaymakcı in western Turkey with their contemporary relatives using chloroplast and nuclear gene regions” Paper presented at the SARA Seed Science and Archaeobotanical Research in Anatolia symposium


Shin, Nami, John M. Marston, Christopher H. Roosevelt, and Christina Luke. “Reconstructing Late Bronze Age agriculture at Kaymakçı, western Turkey” Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology

loading slideshow...

  • The topography of Kaymakçı, which lies atop a natural ridge

  • Beginning excavation in 2014

  • Stone-built architecture is common across the site

  • EAL alumna Nami Shin operating the flotation tank

  • EAL member Emily Johnson operating the flotation tank in 2016

  • Nami sorting heavy fraction

  • Nami excavating at Kaymakçı