To which degree are central places influenced by their environment? Is the centrality higher in areas where the environmental conditions are more favourable in contrast to other? And if so: why? And if not: why?
These are some questions this doctoral thesis deals with. It is the general aim to reconstruct the environmental parameters that influenced the centrality of sites. The concept of central places as defined by Christaller (1933) as well as its theoretical enhancements and adaptions to archaeological questions [see also Projekt A-I-21] are the theoretical base. Since these concepts do not integrate the natural environment an assessment of it is very individual and subjective. This work attempts to formulate general environmental parameters that influence human and their spatial behaviour (e.g. the suitability for agricultural and traffic purposes or the access to resources) and – more importantly - integrate these in the description of a place’s centrality. This is the base of a holistic comparison of A-I’s different case studies. Preliminary results show that there are different spatial scales that shape the centrality of a place – naturally and culturally. Furthermore, there is a natural centrality and an artifical centrality. The first mainly characterizes areas of long settlement continuity and is strongly related to the environmental conditions. The latter is opposite to this and marked by a very high centrality for a short time. Nevertheless, depended from the duration of their importance they can sustainably influence the spatial palimpsest. At the moment analysis are conducted at the Syrian city Halab (Aleppo) in cooperation with the project A-I-6 as well as in Western Anatolia in cooperation with A-I-8.