Contextualizing Pompeiopolis: Urban Development in Roman Anatolia from a Comparative Perspective, Taşköprü (Türkei), 09.-10.07.2016

Landscape of cultivated change – first results of a geoarchaeological field campaign in the hinterland of Pompeiopolis

Katja Kothieringer, University of Bamberg

Recent archaeological research at Pompeiopolis has been providing comprehensive evidence of the
urban development and organization of this metropolis in Roman Anatolia. However, the evolution
of the surroundings (hinterland) of the city and its integration into the urban development is less well
known. In this paper I present new geoarchaeological investigations of Pompeiopolis’ hinterland and
the possible connection to Roman urbanization. The goal is to ascertain for which purpose and to
which extent the landscape in the surroundings of the Roman city was integrated into the urban
development and thus was exposed to various land use changes over the centuries.

It is to assume that the pre-Roman, rural infrastructure of the hinterland was intensively reorganized by the Romans. Presumably, land was mainly reclaimed for the agricultural supply of the city’s constantly growing population. This reorganization must have caused a significant change of the natural landscape conditions, e.g. by the clearance of forests in order to gain open space for arable and pasture land. In turn, this intensified, long-term land use by humans and animals certainly initiated processes of soil erosion.

In order to verify this hypothesis, the investigation of geoarchives, i.e. (paleo-)soils and sediments, is
a suitable tool. One appropriate site for this kind of investigation is located at about 600 meters to
the north of Zımbıllı Tepe in a natural depression of the undulating hinterland. Soil material was
drilled out of two meters soil depth and was sampled for further laboratory analyses. The present
soil type is a Kolluvisol which consists of three different layers of anthropogenic soil sediments,
containing ceramic and charcoal fragments. These sediments indicate three former (agricultural) land
use phases and subsequent slope erosion, the age of which will be determined by means of 14C dating of charcoal fragments. Additionally, the investigation of soil physical and chemical
parameters in the laboratory will allow for an assessment of both recent and ancient soil quality, the
first results of which will be presented in this paper.