Thursday 11 June 2009

Vasif Şahoğlu
University of Ankara

Çeşme - Bağlararası: New Perspectives on the Minoan Links of Western Anatolia
The settlement at Çeşme – Bağlararası is situated between two hills in a wide valley, 130 m from the modern harbour, but in the prehistoric period it must have been a harbour town situated right on the coastline. Excavations at the site were conducted between the years 2002 and 2005 and four different cultural layers have so far been unearthed, dated to the Early Bronze Age II (c. 2500 B.C.), the end of the Middle Bronze Age and the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1800-1600 BC.), and the later part of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1300 BC).
In the EBA the settlement consists of houses with one or two rooms built adjacent to each other with roads and open areas dividing insulae of houses. The pottery has parallels from Liman Tepe in Urla and Emporio on Chios. Following a gap, the site was reinhabited sometime towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1800 BC). The settlement consists of domestic structures and workshop areas separated by roads as in previous periods. The houses have stone foundations with mudbrick superstructure, often covered with white plaster. A wine – house built in a trapezoidal plan is one of the unique discoveries. To this period is also dated the earliest ceramic imports, consisting of Cycladic and Minoan vases found together with local Western Anatolian wares. This phase ended with a severe earthquake within the time span of the MM III Period, and a relatively short recovery period followed with the continuation of the same cultural tradition.
The final occupation period is contemporary with the Late Minoan IA period and included many pits dug all over the site. These pits contained large amounts of pottery and animal bones. The majority of the pottery reflects local shapes and wares but there is evidence for intensive contacts with the Cyclades, the Eastern Aegean Islands and Crete as attested by the presence of large numbers of imported painted pottery from these areas. This evidence indicates that Çeşme – Bağlararası was an important harbour town with close contacts with people living on the Aegean islands.
Çeşme – Bağlararası provides interesting new evidence regarding the character of the “Minoan” presence around the Aegean. The site reflects a new type of settlement model, different not only from Miletus, which is regarded as a “Minoan Colony”, but also from Liman Tepe, which had very little Minoan contact. The majority of the imports reflects eastern Aegean or Cycladic “Minoanizing” elements and are not direct Cretan imports. Çeşme – Bağlararası and the growing number of newly discovered settlements around the Aegean, reflect the presence of different socio-economic dynamics and sites with different levels of involvement with the main interaction networks of the Aegean.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...