Subproject: ‘Air:

an aerial archaeological contribution to the study of settlements, landscapes and spatial interconnections in southern Euboia’.

PhD-researcher: Anke Stoker, MA.

Outline: This study contributes to a long-term settlement history of southern Euboia explaining  interrelationship between habitation patterns, landscape and land use. Places and areas with a potential significance within interconnectivity networks are identified, in order to compose a comprehensive picture of the locations and distribution of settlements, agricultural land, economic resources, cult places, harbours, etc. Primarily aerial and space borne archaeological remote sensing methods will be employed (historic and modern aerial photographs, high-resolution and multi-spectral satellite images) in combination with the spatial analyses of historic and modern cartographic data (geological, geomorphological and elevation maps) in the project’s GIS. The findings based on remote sensing and predictive modelling are checked in the field for their validity and to enhance their interpretation. Finally, the identified patterns of land use are investigated and interpreted in terms of interconnectivity, which should result in a regional biography of the connected landscape.



Subproject 2: ‘Earth:

Landroutes and overland communications in southern Euboia’.

PhD-researcher: Stefan Kooi, MA

Within the Mediterranean interconnectivity paradigm there is only a limited interest in terrestrial connections and land-based communication systems. This is directly related to a more general underestimation of the importance of overland communications in the ancient Mediterranean, which resulted in an archaeological neglect of the subject. The aim of this subproject is to fill the resulting lacuna by making a detailed study of landroutes and economic, religious, defensive, and socio-political overland communication systems in southern Euboia. Empirically-known, ancient roads stand at the basis of this research, which differs from many other studies that focus more on concepts of connectivity within network theory, but ignore the actual routes of interaction. The dataset of ancient roads known from previous investigations is complemented by roads found on aerial images attained by drones and in archaeological field surveys conducted by our project. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is used to analyse these roads in relation to the ancient physical and human landscape, in order to answer such questions as to how space was used, organized and perceived, and how people in different periods were connected to their natural resources, their gods, other communities and the wider Mediterranean world.

Two case studies may be singled out, connected to the cultic and economic landscape, respectively:

  1. Recent excavations on the top of the coastal hill of Plakari to the southwest of modern Karystos have revealed a sanctuary dating to the Early Iron Age to Classical period. On the nearby Karababa hill a second cut place  is located that on the basis of surface finds can be dated to the Archaic-Classical period.  The two sanctuaries are clearly linked though intervisibility, orientation and similarities in architecture and layout. It is hypothesized that there was a processional road connecting the two sanctuaries, as segments of an ancient road can be seen on the slopes of the Karababa hill leading towards the sanctuary close to the hil top. Finding and mapping new road segments using various remote-sensing techniques (drone imagary, satellite images, field surveys) help to reconstruct how these fragments connect. A next step in the analysis pertains to how this road system linked the two cult sites together, how it connected the cultic to the agricultural landscape, how it helped people to experience their territory, what different views on the landscape it offered, etc.
  2. Close to the Roman cipollino marble quarries north of modern Karystos several, over ten meters long columns are lying in situ on the steep mountain slopes. They date to the Roman age period and apparently have been left there for further transportation. It remains a complete mystery how these large columns were to be transported to the coast. Remote sensing (drone imagery, satellite imagery, field surveys) in combination with Least-Cost Path (LCP) analysis in combination with may throw important new light on this aspect of the economic landscape.


Subproject: ‘Water:

Maritime landscapes, searoutes and seaborne communications around southern Euboia’.

PhD-researcher: Ruben Brugge, MA.

Outline: This subproject aims to contribute to a better understanding of Mediterranean interconnectivity by a detailed study of the information that our study area provides about maritime communication systems and their functioning in relation to the physical and cultural maritime landscape. A mariner´s perspective is adopted to fully appreciate this maritime landscape, and four aspects are studied in detail to come to a longue durée history of the maritime Karystia:

  • The physical maritime landscape. This concerns the area’s marine geology, coastal geomorphology and bathymetry, with special attention to alterations in the coastal and submarine landscape. Other importance aspects are climate and weather, especially wind, and sea currents.
  • The cultural maritime landscape. The point of departure is that stories and myths were extensively used to give meaning to and make sense of the seascape. These narratives provide important information with regard to the way that the seascape was perceived and used, containing information about such things as searoutes and the dangers associated with specific areas. Many such are also found in connection with the seas and coastal areas around southern Euboia. In this part of the research, information from ancient texts will be systematically collected and analysed, and linked to elements of the physical maritime landscape, particularly to land and sea marks. All this is to achieve two goals: to create a biography of the maritime landscape of southern Euboia, and to analyse what information these narratives contain about searoutes and maritime interconnections.
  • Visibility and visual perception. These aspects are of key importance for experiencing and evaluating the seascape. Visibility at sea, however, is a complex matter. Together with Prof. A.M.J. van Eijk (TNO), visibility maps of the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean will be created. These will be used to analyse the relationship between the visibility of coastlines and land and sea marks, on the one hand, and navigation routes on the other.
  • Maritime interconnectivity. This part encompasses the study of imported artifacts and other aspects of material culture from key sites in the region that provide information about interregional social interaction (or the lack of it). The ultimate goal is to arrive at a multi-scalar, longue durée reconstruction of maritime interconnections and connectedness of the area.