Professor J. Crow, Dr. S. Turner, Dr. Athanasios Vionis
|From October 2006-September 2007 the first two authors held an AHRC award as part of the Landscapes and Society Programme. The research focused on a relatively new kind of landscape archaeology devised in Britain and applied for the first time in the eastern Mediterranean. Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) is a method for mapping the entire landscape with reference to its historic development. For our project we chose to analyse two contrasting Mediterranean landscapes: the Aegean island of Naxos (Greece), and the country around the small town of Silivri in Trakya (Turkey) (see second report).
HLC is a generalising technique that seeks to present a broad-brush characterisation of an areas historic landscape. As such, it does not normally provide a detailed description, though such detail can be added to the GIS from other sources. HLC maps differ from traditional methods of storing and presenting records about historic landscapes in several important ways, though like them HLCs are used for both landscape management and research (Turner 2006a). Such traditional methods include archaeological databases or inventories of sites and monuments [e.g. the UKs county-based Historic Environment Records (HERs)]. In Turkey the current TAY project provides an overview of regional and period inventories available on the web. Generally speaking, archaeological databases provide lists of archaeological sites together with relevant information location, period, extent, date identified and so on. Some of these databases are now very sophisticated: for example, many UK HERs are web-based and available in whole or in part to interested members of the public. As inventories of sites they are crucial tools for research, landscape management and planning, particularly where the preservation and enhancement of individual sites and monuments is concerned. However there are limitations to such datasets and Historic Landscape Characterisation provides one way to help deal with these problems. Unlike an archaeological inventory, HLC does not map individual archaeological features. Instead, it groups together features like field boundaries, lanes and farms that are linked by their historical development and then maps them as areas. To do this, the HLC researcher needs to understand how patterns in the landscape reflect its historical development, and how the physical features that make up the landscape relate to one another. So like all landscape archaeology, HLC mapping involves a partly subjective process of interpretation that is informed by the physical landscape.
Two principal sources were used to inform our characterisation:
In our research on Naxos, we are particularly interested in the research applications of HLC, and how it can help us understand past landscapes and societies. One particular research question has been the continuing debate concerning the origin of terraced field so characteristic of the eastern Mediterranean rural landscape. In places, the location of dated Byzantine monuments hints at the antiquity of Naxiot terrace systems. Although the relationship cannot be proved absolutely without fieldwork on the ground, many Byzantine churches appear to stand on terraces within braided terrace systems. Examples include the early Byzantine churches of the Taxiarchis Rachis and Ag. Isidoros in Rachi, where both monuments perch on long terraces constructed along the hillside. On the opposite side of the valley below the middle Byzantine church of the Panagia Rachioditissa great oaks that must be several hundred years old stand on similarly massive terraces that can run for at least 800m. If earlier than the churches, the Rachi terraces must be late Antique or classical. Similar long, slightly sinuous terraces run along the hillsides below the classical temple of Demeter near Ano-Sangri.
Archaeological field survey also hints at the antiquity of these terrace systems. Around the church of Ag. Kyriaki, an early Byzantine monument north-east of Apeiranthos, analysis of fieldwalking data by Vionis et al. (Forthcoming)suggests that up to 70% of the ancient finds collected belong to the 7th9th centuries AD. Curving drystone walls enclose small fields here that only partially and untidily enclose the terraces; the latter are probably related to the early Byzantine settlement. It seems likely that whatever the original date of Naxos braided terrace systems, the vast majority would have existed in or before the 17th century. Further details of this research will be available shortly on a dedicated website (see http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/archaeology/ ) and in a number of articles.
We are grateful for the interest shown in our project by Dr Charalambos Pennas of the Second Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, and to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for their financial support.
Professor J. Crow, University of Edinburgh
|Professor J. Crow, Professor D. Mektav, Dr. S. Turner
Survey in Thrace July 2007
This years field survey in Thrace combined two distinct projects, both developing from the established programme of work on the late Roman and Byzantine monuments commenced in 1994 (Crow 2007; Crow et al 2008). The first was a new programme, supported by the AHRC (Crow and Turner), concerned to evaluate the potential of remote sensing satellite images and their application for the study of ancient landscapes applying the technique of Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) in the region around Silivri (for a discussion of the technique see the outline in Crow, Turner and Vionis on Naxos). The second project, in collaboration with Professor Derya Maktav of ITU and supported by TUBITAK, will apply satellite data and other digital map data to develop further research into the Byzantine water supply system (Çeçen 1996) and to provide an extensive digital terrain model and GIS to document the complex system of Byzantine hydraulic monuments in the region west of Istanbul.
Survey in the Silivri District was directed by Prof. Crow and Dr. Turner and in Catalca by Professors Crow and Mektav.
In the survey are we were able to discern several distinct patterns of fields surviving before the creation a large agro-fields which are a feature of part of the current landscape. Further research is needed before we are able to establish a clear chronology for these field systems, but in places we can suggest they date back to the later medieval period. In places we were able to identify a farm or villa of Roman date located east of Fener village and a number of mounds or tumuli. We noted two areas of significant archaeological damage along the line of the Anastasian Wall. First at south of Kurfalı, at Çilingir Tepe, a prominent mound had been badly damaged by treasure hunters revealing parts of a massive tower (burc) at a turn in the Anastasian Wall. Second at the small medieval settlement located due north of Pinarca we encountered treasure hunters at work. The Jandarma at Catalca were informed and seven men were arrested. There was limited damage to some burials of Byzantine date.
Kurşunlugerme K 20
Kayınlık Tarla Germesi (K20.11) First main bridge after Kurşunlugerme
Another valley with a possible surviving bridge lies to the south-east of Kayınlık Tarla Germesi, the stream leads into the Ceviz Dere, but this site was not visited. The area of forest was however exceptionally thick in this area and it would be difficult identify small structures in the dense woodland.
Koserelik Germesi (Cevizlik Dere main)
This bridge was first visited by Crow and his team in 1997 but we were able to make more detailed measurements and GPS readings in 2007. The bridge and its environs have become very overgrown in the last ten years, but it is a good example of a large single arched bridge of the second phase, similar to the first phase of Talas K22. Evidence for the secondary arch indicated a narrow span across the archway, although it is not clear how this was supported (see Crow et al 2008, K20.1)
Tatlıdere Germesi (Güngormez Dere)
Turçine Germe (also Turçineçatak Germesi)
West of Karamandere Village
Testiler Germesi (K13.1)
Crow, J., Bardill, J. and Bayliss, R. The Water Supply of Byzantine Constantinople (JRS Monograph 2008).
We are very grateful to the General Directorate for permission to carry out our survey. At Karamandere Köy we would like to thank Nuri Engin and Ömer Köbek who guided us through difficult forests and drove us in a trailer along forest roads. They showed an interest and enthusiasm for the monuments in their village territory. In addition we would wish to thank Celal Kolay of ITU and the students from ITU who accompanied us, Irfan Akara, Keıem Esenem, Başak Geze and Cihan Uysıl.
Professor J. Crow, University of Edinburgh