Month: August 2014

Yeomans conducts research in Turkey, Italy

Yeomans conducts research in Turkey, Italy

Sarah Yeomans,  FN 07, spent the summer of 2014 doing archeological research in Turkey and Italy.

In July she and a group of friends chartered a small ship to identify and survey previously undocumented Greek and Roman sites that can be accessed only by sea.

Yeomans emerging from a subterranean tomb structure located in the ancient city of Lydea, a site about a one hour hike up from the cove of Ağa Limanıb along the southwestern coast of Turkey.” Photo by Cenk Eronat

“Many sites from the ancient Classical world are located along the coastline, since the sea routes were the primary trade and transport highways “ Yeomans explained. “The result of this, especially in Turkey, is that there are many ancient cities of relatively substantial size that have no modern land access.

“It is not unusual to have an ancient site that once had a population of more than 20,000 that is partially submerged in the sea now, and with no other way of accessing it other than by sea and sometimes by helicopter.

She said those in the group “all had a slightly different scholarly agendas, but the sites were the same and it was a great way to see some of these places – many of them are impossible to get to otherwise (unless one has access to a small and nimble helicopter!)

“I must say it is a thrilling experience to be able to swim along an ancient Roman road,” she wrote. “We did casual snorkeling. Getting permits to do more substantial underwater survey by diving is a complicated process in Turkey, and they are very vigilant about patrolling these sites as they are, unfortunately, very vulnerable to looters and treasure seekers.

“The result is that some areas are off limits to SCUBA divers altogether, so our work was limited to those areas that are partially submerged and therefore shallow. These could be observed just by swimming along the surface of the water, where the coast guard could keep an eye on us.”

From Turkey she “spent a month in Rome, researching ancient Roman medicine for her dissertation prospectus research on the Antonine Plague in the 2nd century and the myriad ways it impacted the Roman Empire as a whole.

John Maclean writes about deadly wildfires

John Maclean writes about deadly wildfires

The National Geographic published a Web story by John N. Maclean FN 02 about the twin anniversaries in June 2014 of two fatal western wildfires, and how the lessons of the older fire failed to prevent a similar tragic outcome two decades later.

The 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire of 1994 on July 6, a week after the first anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire, on June 30.

The South Canyon Fire fireline where twelve of the fourteen firefighters who died were caught by the blaze; an early winter scene in the fire's aftermath. Photo by John N. Maclean

The South Canyon blaze killed 14 firefighters and did much to change how wildland fire is fought. But then last year on June 30 in Arizona circumstances that were disturbingly similar to the South Canyon Fire—rugged mountain topography, height of the burn period, violently changing fire behavior, a storm sweeping in, absence of adequate supervision, bad communications—combined to produce a similar fatal outcome, and 19 firefighters were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Maclean is the author of Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire, and several other books on wildland fire, most recently The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57. Those two books are currently being developed as feature films.

The Yarnell Hill Fire as it crested the Weaver Mountains near Yarnell at the approximate time of the fatalities. Photo by Matt Oss.

John Maclean’s books are available on his Web site.