Ongoing Projects

  • Identification of the Iron Age Glass Technology Based on the Glass Remains from the Excavations at the Mound of Van Fortress, TUBITAK 1001 (Project No: 118M248, 2018)

Director: Dr. Özden Ormancı


Research of archaeological artefacts is aimed to describe how daily life was organised in the past. The better we understand the context in which people used and produced artefacts, the more likely we are to understand the agency of underlying practices in a society. Artefacts are then not simply raw material for classification by archaeologists or evidence of production, but they can reveal how trade relations or productions evolved. The most important aim of the scientific examination of archaeological and historic artefacts is the determination of their provenance. Such a study thus not only answers questions on mining and quarrying, arts and crafts or trade, but also documents social stratigraphy and chronological changes in the standard of living. All these topics are extremely important to the evaluation of the ancient socioeconomy of a region.

The studies understanding of Urartian civilization began in the second half of the 20th century and the data provided by these studies are based on achaeology and art history. However, there is still no open literature on provenance detection work specifically for Urartu glasses, and also it is clearly stated in the literature that the studies on Iron Age glasses are very limited.

The main aim of the proposed project is to obtain detailed information about Urartian glass technology . The scientific analysis on glass can reflect very important informations from the glass making period to the specific raw materials used. However, the archaeological excavation area to be studied has a big importance because it has to reflect the entire civilization. Thus, in the proposed project, findings from the excavations at the Mound of Van Fortress, the capital of the Urartians, have been decided to work. Within the Project, Urartian and Post-Urartian glass samples will be investigated.

The Project will be carried out at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Materials Research Center for Cultural Property and Artworks-Central Research Laboratory. The method of the project is based on advanced analysis which will provide detailed informations about the chemical compositions of the artefacts.

The composition of the artefact is effectively a ‘chemical fingerprint’, and has been used to identify where artefacts were produced. However, in case of glass, the heat treatments during smelting or melting may have dramatic effects on the concentrations of minor elements. Thus, within the project, besides the major and minor elements in the glass findings, trace elements will also be determined. The Sr and Nd isotope ratios, which are powerful tracers and believed to be identical to that of the raw materials from which it was derived, will also be identified in this study. The results will be compared to exising data groups of known provenance and, it is the most important purpose of the study to see if the provenance of the Urartian glass will be identified or not.

The pigments used for coloring of glass will also be determine by using X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy- High Energy X-Ray Spectrometer (SEM-EDS). But, even if it is very important to identify the components used for glass making and raw material provenance, It does not mean that the glass making technology has been precisely identified. It is also an important part of this technology to determine the temperature values to which heat treatment is applied for shaping and coloring. For this purpose, glass productions with the same composition as the original glass samples will be produced and the heat treatment temperatures will be determined by thermal analyses.

At the end of the project, very detailed data about glass production technologies of Urartu and Post-Urartu periods will be obtained. The obtained data will be published in international journals and will make a significant contribution in eliminating the deficiencies mentioned in the literature.

  • Determination of Material Properties and Production Technologies of Late Roman Period Glass Mosaics, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University,  Scientific Research Projects Unit, (Project No: 2019/11)

Director: Dr. Özden Ormancı

  • Characterization of the 18th Century Ceramics Found in the Excavations of the Old Van City, Castle and Mound,  Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University,  Scientific Research Projects Unit, (Proje No: 2019/10).

Director: Prof. Dr. Meriç Bakiler

Projects Completed

  • Investigation of the Materials of Şile and Hoşköy Lighthouses Built in the Ottoman Period with Advanced Analysis Methods, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University,  Scientific Research Projects Unit (Project No:2018/06).

Director: Prof. Dr. Meriç Bakiler

  • TUBİTAK PROJECT- Determination of 15th-20th Centuries Wall Painting Materials by Analytical Methods in Sinop Balatlar Building Complex, 1.11.2014-1.11.2016 (Project No: 114K263)

Director: Prof. Dr. Meriç Bakiler


Balatlar Building Complex, in the city center of Sinop which was an important trade and cultural center in ancient times, is the only building of ancient Sinop which can be defined in terms of its real identity other than the city wall remains. The building complex stands out with multi-colored wall paintings, displaying rich decorations dating from the Late Roman to the Ottoman periods. In this project, the aim is to carry out the materials analyses of the paint and plaster layers of the wall paintings in order to characterize the raw materials used (pigment, binding materials etc.),understand the deterioration mechanisms and reveal the production techniques in the Late Roman wall painting fragments (2nd-4th century)from the southwestern Roman bath-palaestra complex as well as the Ottoman period wall paintings (15th-20th century) located in situ in the Rum Orthodox Monastery. The studies were carried out in two stages, as in situ and at the laboratory. The visual analyses were carried out in situ using portable equipment such as Multispectral Imaging System (MSI) and spectrophotometry. Analyses at the laboratory cover the chemical and physical tests, petrographical analysis and advanced analysis techniques. Analyses were carried out in a micro-destructive or non-destructive manner by the use of advanced analysis instruments (XRD, μ-XRF, SEM-EDX, GC-MS, FT-IR and Raman spectrometry). By the evaluation of all the analyses’ outcomes, information regarding the paint-plaster stratigraphy of the wall paintings, the petrographical characteristics of the plaster layers, the chemical compositions of the pigments andorganic substances in the paints as well as the paint execution techniques was obtained. These studies are also important for the conservation-restoration works of the in situ wall paintings which are prone to destruction. Despite its richness in ancient wall paintings, studies on the material characterization and production techniques of the wall paintings are scarce in Turkey, which marks the significance of our project.

Images of the works carried out in Sinop Balatlar Church between August 23-26, 2016.

Images of the works performed at the Balatlar Church of Sinop between 17-19 October 2016

Images of the works performed at the Balatlar Church of Sinop between 26-29 November 2015

  • “Central Research Laboratory”, State Planning Organization (DTP) Infrastructure Project 2010K121200, 2010-2015

Director: Prof. Dr. Meriç Bakiler