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North Ridge
The topographical feature known as the North Ridge, which is the project’s primary area of physical interest, covers approximately 4-5 square kilometers of the site and is centered between ‘Royal’ and ‘Sacred’ precincts, or areas, of the urban core (Figure 1). In this area important historical remains have already largely disappeared due to human pressures upon the archaeological environment. Our aim is to record any surviving information that is visible on the surface of the North Ridge. Because the project focuses upon recording surface remains, as opposed to excavating, we should eventually be able to map a large portion of the extensive building and habitation remains.

By utilizing state of the art surveying technology, Archaeos has been able to bring a greater degree of accuracy to the ongoing documentation process. Although upon initial visual inspection the North Ridge today appears to have been largely uninhabited in ancient times, the results of the mapping process has already yielded a very different picture, based upon the approximately 75,000 to 100,000 square meters that have been precisely surveyed by the Archaeos’ team thus far (North Ridge Progress).

The numbers and the massing of architectural and other cultural remains along the surface of the North Ridge, in fact, indicate dense urban development and now that many of these disparate features have been mapped, they can be more easily understood as the remains of coherent structures and indicators of economic and social activities. It is clear that this now largely denuded area, which was long thought to have been only sparsely inhabited during medieval times, was in fact a densely populated area that should be considered to have been a central part of the urban core. This result is hardly surprising given the position of the North Ridge. It is directly situated between the royal, walled complex known as the Zanana Enclosure and the outer fortification walls of the Royal City.

Of particular interest in the projects’ survey area are several large buildings that had been very roughly indicated on the VRP’s 1:400 survey maps from the 1980’s. One of these buildings had also been previously drawn by a separate archaeological team using
hand held tapes. Archaeos’ re-surveying of that area using modern surveying techniques, however, has revealed many inaccuracies that occurred due to the older technologies and techniques that had been employed.

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