Since 2010, Yalburt Project has annually carried out multiple seasons of archaeological fieldwork, museum study of collected artifacts at Aksehir Museum, and archival work at Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
This project investigates the politics of water and settlement in the southern borderlands of the Hittite Empire (modern day central Turkey), following an ecological perspective and the field methodologies of landscape archaeology. During the last century of the empire (13th century BCE), at a pivotal moment when the Bronze Age Mediterranean network of trade and diplomacy was on the verge of regional collapse, the Hittite king Tudhaliya IV sponsored the construction of two water monuments in the highlands of Pedassa, a region bordering the Mediterranean kingdom of Tarhuntassa. The first of these monuments is Yalburt Yaylası Sacred Pool Complex, built on a mountain spring and featuring a lengthy Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription that narrates Tudhaliya's military victories to the southwest. The second is an earthen dam at Köylütolu Yayla in the agricultural lowlands. Since 2010, Yalburt Yaylası Survey Project collected abundant archaeological evidence that suggests the implementation of a large scale program of water management and new settlement in the landscapes around these two monuments as an intervention in the existing Bronze Age settlement pattern. Combining extensive and intensive methods in archaeological survey, critical geomorphology, and environmental research, Yalburt Project investigates diachronically the dynamics of settlement and ecology in the borderlands to contextualize the historical circumstances in which the water monuments were built. The project also calls into question the methodological tendencies in survey archaeology to avoid degraded post-industrial landscapes of the Anthropocene, and aims to contribute to the debates on environmental crises and climate change in the humanities and the social sciences through an ecologically comparative perspective on the landscapes of the Holocene (Bronze Age) and the Anthropocene (modernity).