The Lower Kaikos Valley, situated in Western Turkey, is an interesting landscape in which to investigate the development and transformation of central places. In prehistoric times, the region had a decentralized settlement structure. By Hellenistic times, an advanced net of central places had developed around the central places of Atarneus and Pergamon. One of the main topics of research is the connection between the system of the Kaikos river as an important communication line and the rise and fall of Atarneus and Pergamon as important Hellenistic central places. One of the most prominent questions is whether the Greek geographer Strabon was wrong when he stated that Kaikos entered into the Aegean Sea near Atarneus, because the recent river mouth is located about 20 km southeast of this location. Did the mouth of the Kaikos river system change its location within the Late Quaternary? And how did landscape evolution and human settlement activity interact? To answer these questions, the project includes sedimentary and geomorphological investigations and integrates archaeological research. As a result, ongoing sediment analyses focus on the identification of different deposit forms and on human impact.
Steffen Schneider is a research assistant at the Institute of Geographical Sciences of the FU Berlin and part of the Topoi Graduate Group “Landscapes”. His dissertation is on landscape change and man-environment interactions in the environs of ancient Pergamon.