Dispatch 3: Search By Land

July 10, 1999

(Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or edit dispatches.)

Graduate archaeology student Alex Gantos is combing the rocky face of a promontory in Inceburn, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northwest of Sinop. In only a few moments he finds several flint fragments that litter the hillside. The fragments are leftovers from Paleolithic toolmakers.

Photo of Alex Gantos

The search for evidence of human settlement in Sinop is not limited to the sea floor. In fact as of this writing, more substantial evidence of human settlement can be found on nearby land.

The search area of the expedition, a joint effort between land and sea archaeologists, is defined as “from mountain top to sea floor” by Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, head of the land team.

Hiebert’s team has already divided the Sinop peninsula into nine zones, each of which has been “transected” or surveyed in sweep fashion, by the archaeologists.

Photo of a Paleolithic settlement

This preliminary survey has yielded several striking finds. Hiebert describes the zones as a veritable “Whitman’s sampler.” Like plucking candy from a box, the archaeologists have culled artifacts and relics from the Paleolithic, Bronze Age, and Byzantine eras.

It is the Paleolithic period (the time before humans learned to farm) that interests the scientists because artifacts from this period prove that humans settled here before the time of the flood.

Just as one team maps out and verifies underwater targets, the other does the same for land. The ultimate goal of the expedition is to combine both maps, and zero in on the best possible archaeological sites.





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