Despite of the abundant epigraphic sources from the urban center Nikaia/Nicaea and its extensive and well-connected agricultural hinterland, archaeological information on the regional rural landscape and settlement pattern are very scarce. The historic-geographic definition of the chora of Iznik has been based almost exclusively on the epigraphic evidence, shedding light on the socio-economic role of the village communities in the territorial organization. The research questions addressed in the framework of the project concerned the archaeological definition of the local rural settlement history, sites typology and function (villae, farms, and villages), land use and resource exploitation, production and distribution of food and ceramic commodities from the Hellenistic to the Late Antique period. For this purpose a body of integrated landscape archaeological methods including remote sensing techniques, archaeomorphological analysis, extensive and intensive fieldwork in test areas, as well as GIS-based mapping and spatial analysis was used.
Within the framework of the project, the PhD thesis (A-6-6-1) Spatial analysis of settlement patterns in Bithynia of Barbora Weissova focused on the definition of spatial and quantitative proxies suitable for studies of settlement patterns and road systems development (B. Weissová, P. Pavúk, 2016) as well as on the interdependence between regional and supraregional road system and regional economic growth. The legacy data used for this study are stored in a PostgreSQL database containing the georeferenced information and were processed using a GIS-based approach, focusing on two representative diverse scales within the north-western Asia Minor. The macro-region roughly coincides with the area of ancient Bithynia, while the micro-region is defined by the immediate hinterland of Iznik (Nicaea). At the micro regional level, an intensive and extensive field survey (March 19th 2015 – April 18th 2015) has been carried out in cooperation with the University of Bochum and the University of Bursa, in order to verify the known and already published archaeological remains as well as to integrate them by identifying further sites/structures. A test area has been intensively surveyed by systematically collecting surface artefacts in transects (B. Weissová, A. Altin, “Results of Pilot Project Identifying Settlement Patterns in the Hinterland of Nicaea” in: proceedings from symposium “Iznik/Nicaea on its Way to Become UNESCO World Heritage Site” held in Iznik, Turkey).
An archaeomorphological analysis by Robin Brigand integrated the historical-archaeological study by proposing a preliminary synthesis of the urban and rural morphologies of the plain east to the Lake Iznik, in order to address questions on land use history and its interplay with the local settlements history (Weissová, B., Brigand, R., Polla, S. (in print) The Hinterland of Nikaia/Nicaea/Iznik. Analysing the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique Bithynian landscape through remote sensing and GIS techniques).
Preliminary results of the project have been presented at several international conferences during the past two years, e.g.:
5th PECLA (Perspectives of Classical Archaeology), Prague, Czech Republic (2016), Talk on “An Applicability of Thiessen Polygons / a Voronoi Diagram and Multiple Ring Buffers for Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Urbanization, Case Study in NW Asia Minor”
Mapping the Past: G.I.S. Approaches to Ancient History, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA (2016), Talk on ”Pilot GIS Project in the Hinterland of Nicaea, Bithynia, Asia Minor”
CAA Visegrad (Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), Cieszyn, Poland (2015), Talk on “Reconstruction of Ancient Road System in Bithynia with Micro-Regional Focus on Nicaea and its Hinterland (nowadays Iznik, Turkey) – How LCPA fits to the real archaeological data? “
Iznik/Nicaea on its Way to Become UNESCO World Heritage Site, Iznik, Turkey (2015), Talk on “Results of the Pilot Project Identifying Archaeological Monuments in the Hinterland of Nicaea”
Within the framework of the reflection on “economic spaces” focusing on ancient consumption patterns, the International Conference “The Archaeology of Mediterranean Consumption. Distribution of and access to commodities, food and services from the Late Hellenistic to the Late Roman period (II BC-VI AD)” has been organized. The publication of the Conference Proceedings is in preparation.