KLASP conducts research on Urla-Çeşme peninsula within the modern district borders of Urla, Seferihisar and Çeşme. Research methodology integrates extensive and pedestrian field surveys with geoarchaeological research, remote sensing, GIS analysis and socially engaged activities. The major goals of the project are; investigating the rural landscapes around urban settlements, diachronic recording of sites and landscape features (paths, terraces, tumuli etc), explaining transformations and shifts in settlement patterns and land use, defining practices of subsistence in the antiquity, understanding cultural, social and political networks of the past.
KLASP integrates systematic pedestrian extensive and intensive surveys with geoarchaeological research, remote sensing and spatial analysis in GIS environment as well as engaged archaeology. Pedestrian surveys are used to document surface collections of pottery, architectural remains and recording current conditions of the sites. Remote sensing is used to explore various ecologies, morphologies and landforms, gives us a basis to create a stratified sampling strategy that sees an equal distribution of land morphologies, accessibility, high potential, local knowledge etc. Topography plays an important role for the formation of settlement patterns. The region is characterised by two major north-south topographic bodies, the Kızılca Dağ (Mastousian) that separate the peninsula from the rest of the mainland, and the Karaburun (Mimas) peninsula. In between lie several plains, including the Urla, Barbaros, and Seferihisar basins. The shoreline is very articulated and develops in numerous small bays, with high cliffs reaching the sea particularly in the south. Numerous small islands, many of which bear traces of ancient occupation, are close to the mainland. Within the peninsula, water bodies are generally quite small and often seasonal, with few perennial rivers; very small carstic lakes are present within the Barbaros valley and on the hills surrounding it. Our research design also makes use of previous research, travelers reports, epigraphic information, toponyms and local knowledge. Sampling strategies also seeks the way to explore sites with less visibility either due to ground cover, or relatively less accessible locations. Especially for short-term settlements like farmsteads, hamlets and camps that are difficult to be recorded due to low visibility we create specific sampling strategies by making use of available data. In GIS environment making use of large sites and their impact areas as well as agricultural terraces, old olive trees/groves, documented oliveoil/wine presses and features help us to focus on areas with high potential for conducting pedestrian surveys.
The research area including the islands covers a total of 1600 km2. Intensive surveys conducted at sampled areas with high potential and extensive surveys conducted to record the sites and landscape features at optimum level against the increasing pace of destruction caused by urbanization in the region. So far the extensive pedestrian surveys covered 136,645 ha. and recorded around more than 400 sites plus landscape features (agricultural terraces, roads, pavements etc) from various periods. Sites with high potential of surface finds and long-term habitation are all surveyed intensively to define the continuity and expansion/diminish in size. All the data including size, function, date, morphology, topography, finds are stored in an Access database for various types of inquiries. Site distribution, site hierarchy and transformations in settlement patterns are explained in the light of social, cultural, environmental and political contexts. Continuity of habitation and abandonment are investigated to explain the settlement models in the history of the region.
Current orto-photos, historical aerial images, topographic maps, rock and soil maps are used to execute spatial analysis for identifying potential sites, landscape features, roads systems and networks. Recorded sites with high degree of surface finds are divided into polygons and finds are recorded spatially. All finds are photographed and architectural remains are drawn and geographically referenced with the use trimble/GNSS GPS. All POI’s (Point of Interest) are recorded and classified according to function, date, size, location in Access database. Geo-archaeological research focuses on the dynamic geology of the region, which is defined with coastal changes, alluvial deposits, shift in water courses, lake basins and tectonic movements. So far our team focused on the coastal changes which have been previously considered by Liman Tepe and Klazomenai excavations around the urban core and also lake basins at Mandalan and Barbaros plains.
The project mainly targets the rural landscapes and records agricultural terraces, villages, hamlets and farmsteads. Agricultural terraces are mapped and classified according to building techniques. Terrace agriculture has a long history in the region, but dating them requires lab analysis. Inquiries are made in GIS environment by making use of proximity of ancient farmsteads, hamlets and olive oil/wine production facilities, olive groves with old trees with terraces. For a better understanding of use of terraces we are also taking samples for Optically Stimulated Luminescence analysis from selected terraces close to ancient villages/hamlets/farmsteads. The samples are being analysed in St Andrews University laboratories and recently dated the terraces back to Roman period. This work investigating the deep history of terraces is continuing. KLASP, also executes Historical Landscape Characterization analysis for the peninsula by making use of survey data, current orto-photos, satellite images and historical aerial photographs. By using HLC as a tool we are preparing a useful base for landscape and heritage managements. HLC provides us an insight for defining how cultural landscapes were designed, produced, exploited and modified in long terms. HLC applications transcend Cartesian representations of space and presents us a spatio-temporal context of the given area to discuss human agency and diachronic change of the landscape.