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Fieldworks and desk-based research about the deep history of Urla-Çeşme peninsula yielded a number of significant results. So far we recorded 446 archaeological sites and landscape features including agricultural terraces, paths, wind mills, olive oil/wine production facilities etc. Owed to the material analysis the sites are dated and classified according to period, size and function. Spatial analysis executed in GIS environment gives us a basis on site distribution, site hierarchies, settlement patterns for each period. We are making use of the data to explain the transformations and shifts in settlement systems from prehistoric times to the Medieval. Phenomenons like land use trends, territorial organization, continuity and abandonment of places, demonstration of power in landscape, urbanization and pastoralism, and networks are being investigated for the peninsula.  

View from Gölkaya near Çeşme. This area have been used from prehistoric to Byzantine era. The outcrop rock is a landmark. 

Hidden prehistoric landscapes have been one of the major subjects of Aegean archaeology in the context of field surveys conducted at mainland Greece since 1980’s. Low visibility caused by surface processes and heavy landcover, long-term habitation and sealing of early deposits, short-term settlement characteristics that are not well represented with surface finds are the major reasons for the low number of Prehistoric sites in the region. KLASP so far recorded 38 Prehistoric sites dated from Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age (6500/6000-1200 BC). 15 of those sites are dated into the Late Neolithic period, and their regular distribution in the given area clearly show that there has been a cultural or commercial network in the peninsula as early as the Neolithic period. The size of the recorded Neolithic sites ranges from 2 ha to 10 ha and they have been unexceptionally inhabited continuously into the Classic periods. This tells us that there is a bigger potential for smaller and short-term prehistoric sites in the region. Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age transition is also an enigmatic era for the region. The surveys yielded only a handful of sites that can be dated into Early Iron Age. This phenomenon is parallel to what have been obtained from the surveys on the Greek mainland as well, where expeditions have also often found it difficult to identify Early Iron Age sites dating prior to the Late Geometric period. In Ionia itself, the surveys around Miletos, have turned up only two sites (the sanctuary of Athenia Assesia and Kömür Adası) with evidence for Early Iron Age habitation in the form of a handful of Ptotogeometric sherds. KLASP recorded 18 sites dating to the Late Bronze Age, 21 to the Early Iron Age. Low number of Prehistoric sites recorded by the field surveys doesnot necessarily imply that the region was essentially desolate. Post-depositional process may have influenced the visibility of sites, and also the reduction in the number of sites is due to historical process

Prehistoric sites recorded by KLASP
View from Birgitepe, a hill with long time occupation from Calcolithic to Byzantine Era.


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. 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 the Byzantine era. This work investigating the deep history of terraces is continuing.  

Settlements and other type of sites with different functions (forts, watchtower, tumuli, sanctuaries etc) are classified according to macro periods on the basis of datable surface finds. The maps presented here shows the site distribution and site hierarchies for Neolithic, Bronze Ages, Archaic Period, Classical Period, Hellenistic Period, Roman Period and Medieval era. Although these maps do not provide a full view gives a good scope about the settlement systems for each macro period and gives us a basis to discuss the shifts in the settlement patterns under the light of social, cultural, political and environmental contexts. As already explained in HIDDEN LANDSCAPES prehistoric periods are less visible and less represented. However, the regular distribution of Neolithic sites clearly show that there was a social network on the peninsula during the Late Neolithic period. In Early Bronze Age that network seems to flourish whereas Early Iron Age sees a decline in the number of sites and also seize of the major sites. The Klazomenai/Liman Tepe excavations have revealed significant evidence for defining the urban layout of the settlement from the Early Bronze Age to Hellenistic periods. Prehistoric settlement layers of Klazomenai clearly indicate that the site was an important harbour town through the Early and Middle Bronze Ages but shrank during the Late Bronze Age. This phenomenon is also reflected in the hinterland. Archaic period is characterized by the dramatic increase of sites distributed all over the area, which implies intense use and control of the rural territories which is reflected with the determination of boundaries and the organization of khorai. In the early phases of the Archaic period the number of settlements reach up to 78 and it increases into the later periods summing upto 110. 16 of those Archaic sites are either fortified or large sites over 10 ha, distributed regularly within the territories of newly established poleis. Most probably those large but secondary sites under the dominion of Ionian poleis were located strategically to control the rural landscapes and for intensive agricultural activities that was always main economic income.  Early Archaic period also sees the simultaneous organization of urban cores and territories. This phenomenon can only be followed at Klazomenai and Teos. Lebedos is not excavated, and we still know very little about the urban layout of Erythrai other than the monumental buildings the temple and the theatre.

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Distribution and site hierarchy of all sites recorded by KLASP 
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Distribution of ancient rural sites with current olive groves and vineyards


Monumental temples are the first images that comes to mind when thinking of ancient polis. But polis societies also had sanctuaries at the rural which were mostly placed at remarkable natural places like caves, promontories and rock outcrops. KLASP so far recorded a dozen of cult places in the rural territories of polis settlements. Three of those are the remains of temple buildings dated to Archaic/Classical periods and identified with Zeus and Aphrodite. The others are caves and rock cut installations. The findings in caves show that these places have been numinous places since Neolithic and have been in use for cult practices continuously. Söğüt Cave, Inkaya Cave, Cılga Cave, Kokar promontory, Kaplan cave and nymphaion on Karantina Island; Taşharmanı and Kazankaya outcrops with niches are long-term used sanctuaries distributed in the rural territories of poleis. Surveys also recorded remains of two temple buildings at Köytepe, Dömentepe and Poyraz. Lestren Tepe is also one of the possible locations for a temple building, but it is destructed to build a modern fire watch tower. 

Outcrop rock with niches used for rituals at Taşharmanı
Söğüt Cave used as long term cult place


Tumuli are perhaps the most intriguing components of the cultural landscapes around polis settlements. They have been used as monumental tombs for the elite, but also made use of for marking the frontiers. The use of tumuli in Ionia lasts from early 7th century into the Roman period. Some of them have been re-used and unfortunately most of them are plundered. So far more than 140 tumuli are recorded by KLASP. The dating of tumuli is a serious issue since depending on the typology may be deceiving. Yet still we may claim that most Archaic tumuli were made of heaped stones with a simple peribolos within the Klazomenai territory whereas in Teos they were built of heap of earth. The locations for tumuli were chosen consciously since they had addressed an audience. 65 % of the tumuli were placed on the coast, which would be visible for the ones approaching the town from the sea. The rest of the tumuli were all placed on the roads at visible spots. The tumuli placed on the coasts were made of light-coloured stones to catch the viewers’ eye immediately. 


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Tumuli recorded by KLASP and their visibility
Tumulus on Nalbanttepe
Peribolos wall of tumulus at Azmak
View from Bozavlu tumuli


Defensive networks around the territories of poleis have been formed during the early Archaic period. Forts and watch-towers were used to mark the territorial boundaries. Most of those structures situated at strategic locations on hilltops have been used through the Bronze ages as well. The wall construction techniques of those forts and watchtowers are different from each other, and this may be due to repairs or available materials. Most forts are situated on natural hill tops and along the major routes for a wide visibility to control areas as large as possible. Due to their situation on rocky hilltops archaeological deposition is scarce and datable surface material is scanty. Visibility analysis executed in GIS environment showed that the rural territories were controlled through a network of forts and fortified sites, and the whole territory could have been controlled through the defensive system around the territories. Dubatepe, Sivricetepe, Çalıtepe, Akçahisar, Yemişliboğaz, Cinderesi, Çobanpınarı, Asarcık, Dömentepe, Asartepe, Dikmendağı, Ulucaktepe, Macarlar Çiftliği, Demirsu, Çıfıtkale, Çukurcak, Davacık are some of the important forts and watchtowers around the territories.  

Distribution and visibility of forts recorded by KLASP
Remains of a fort at Cinderesi
Dubatepe with remains of a fort
Remains of a fort at Çukurcak near Barbaros


Evidence from the fieldworks show that territories around the polis settlements were organized as early as 7th century BC. The concept of khora was created by the polis societies and its organization was simultaneous with the organization of urban cores. It seems likely that the territory was controlled by the Early Iron Age community, and soon it has become a necessity to establish rural satellites in order to access fields beyond the centre, and during the early Archaic period they designed the rural landscape for their commercial and political aims. The organization of the territories by making use of forts, tumuli, border marks and rural shrines is closely associated with the urbanization process which is also reflected at the urban centres with the construction of city walls, and the organization of urban spaces by dividing domestic spaces and industrial quarters. So far most of our data is from Klazomenai and Teos territories. Erythrai territory is included in our research area just recently and in the future have great potential to investigate Asty-Khora model for Eryhtrai. In means of territorial organization Teos and Klazomenai both reflect similar spatial layouts as early as 7th century BC. Both had hinterlands that are mostly determined with topographic features like deep valleys and mountain ranges. At the fringes of the territories rural sanctuaries, forts and watch-posts are placed which form a defensive network around the khorai as well as places of negotiation between polis societies through rural sanctuaries. Tumuli are also placed at the fringes of the territories, promontories and major routes to claim the land symbolically. Also a number of border-marks recorded around the territories mark the boundaries together with tumuli, forts and rural sanctuaries. The khora of Klazomenai was roughly 300 km2 in area, including the islands, and the Teian khora covered more than twice the size of the Klazomenean, reaching up to 648 km2. Although the Teian chora was larger than that of the Klazomenean, it has steeper terrain and less agricultural land with a decreased land potential. These values are much higher than those for Magna Graecia colonies, which normally range between 50-100 km2, and are also larger than most poleis in mainland Greece. During the Classical period the number of identified sites increased to 127. As expected in the following Hellenistic period, due to the process of synoceism, some of the small settlements were absorbed by the large ones and the number of sites decreased to 87. During the Roman period the number of isolated farms and hamlets increased again. KLASP has also documented Byzantine and Ottoman sites, and its work has created a basis for future research focused on late antiquity.

Klazomenai and its rural settlements
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Teos and Lebedos khorai
Klazomenai asty area
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Teos asty area
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