‘Urban’ and ‘Rural’ in Byzantium: The Gulf of Mandalya (Güllük Körfezi) in light of Archaeological EvidenceUfuk Serin
This paper, focusing on the results of a long-term and interdisciplinary archaeological research project conducted in theGulf of Mandalya, investigates the transformation of rural settlements and the countryside in coastal Caria from Late Antiquity to Byzantine times, together with the economic activities and forms of labour, including the quarrying and exploitation of Iasos marble, on which the survival of rural communities had depended. Despite considerable changes in settlement patterns over time, the literary, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence suggest that this region was widely occupied, with numerous sites located both inland and in coastal areas. The most notable among these sites, whose history and experiences contributed to the formation and profound modification of the settlement features of the land surrounding the gulf, were Iasos and Kazıklı to the north and Bargylia to the south. The Mandalya Archaeological Survey Project (1988-2011) revealed an almost uninterrupted continuity of settlement and land exploitation in this micro-region from the Late Bronze Age through to the 18th/19th centuries CE, with a major concentration of archaeological evidence from the 6th century BCE to 7th century CE. Within this wide chronological context, the paper focuses on the continuity/ discontinuity of rural settlements, closely or more loosely affected by multiple factors, in the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (7th and 9th centuries) and beyond. It also attempts to explain the changing nature of settlements through transformation and adaptation, involving abandonment and resettlement (within or around the ruins of the now largely deurbanised and ruralised urban fabric) or relocation.
Bizans’ta ‘Kent’ ve ‘Kırsal’: Arkeolojik Veriler Işığında Güllük (Mandalya) KörfeziUfuk Serin
Mandalya Arkeolojik Yüzey Araştırması Projesi (1988-2011) verilerini temel alan bu çalışma, Antik Çağ’da Karia bölgesinin bir parçası olan ve Mandalya Körfezi olarak da bilinen Güllük Körfezi’nde Geç Antik ve Bizans Dönemi kırsal yerleşimlerinin değişim ve dönüşümünü, başta yerel Iasos mermerinin işletimi ve ihracatı olmak üzere bölgesel geçim kaynakları ve kent
ve kırsal (territorium) ilişkisi üzerinden incelemeyi ve değerlendirmeyi amaçlamaktadır. Mandalya Körfezi’ni çevreleyen ve Antik Dönem’de körfeze adını vermiş olan önemli kentsel yerleşimler arasında kuzeyde Iasos (Kıyıkışlacık) ve Kazıklı, güneyde ise Bargylia (Boğaziçi) bulunmaktadır. Bu bölgeyi merkez alan Mandalya Projesi’nden elde edilen arkeolojik veriler özellikle MÖ 6. yüzyıl ve MS 7. yüzyıl arasında yoğunlaşmakla birlikte, çok disiplinli araştırmalar burada kırsalın Geç Bronz Çağı’ndan 18. ve 19. yüzyıllara ve hatta günümüze kadar neredeyse kesintisiz olarak kullanıldığını doğrulamıştır. Bu çalışmada özellikle üstünde durulmak istenen konu, Bizans İmparatorluğu’nun başka bölgelerinde olduğu gibi, Anadolu’da
da Pers ve Arap akınları başta olmak üzere, farklı faktörlerle ilişkili olarak arkeolojik verilerin azaldığı 7. ve 9. yüzyıllar arasında Mandalya Körfezi’ni çevreleyen kentler ve kırsalda yerleşim ‘sürekliliği’ olup olmadığıdır. Mimari ve arkeolojik nitelikli bulgular, Karia’nın bu kıyı bölgesinde yerleşim birimlerinin ve yaşamın ‘kent’ ve ‘kırsal’ arasında bir çizgide, zaman zaman kesintiye uğrayarak da olsa değişen ekonomik koşullara ve savunma gereksinimlerine uyum sağlamaya çalışarak, şekil ve nitelik değiştirerek devam ettiğini doğrular niteliktedir.
This contribution, centring on the results of a long-term and interdisciplinary archaeological research project conducted in the Gulf of Mandalya (Güllük Körfezi), investigates the transformation of rural settlements and the countryside in coastal Caria from Late Antiquity to Byzantine times, together with the economic activities and forms of labour that ensured the survival of rural communities throughout centuries. Despite considerable changes in settlement patterns over time, the literary, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence suggest that this region was widely occupied, with numerous sites located both inland and in coastal areas. The most notable among these sites, whose history contributed to the formation and profound modification of the settlement features of the land surrounding the gulf, were Iasos and Kazıklı to the north and Bargylia to the south. The Mandalya Archaeological Survey Project (1988- 2011) revealed an almost uninterrupted continuity of settlement and land exploitation in this micro-region from the Late Bronze Age through to the 18th/19th centuries CE (and beyond), with a major concentration from the 6th century BCE to 7th century CE. Within this wide chronological context, the paper focuses on the continuity/ discontinuity of rural settlements in the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages, and attempts to understand the changing nature of settlements through transformation, abandonment and/or relocation.
The rural landscapes of Caria are characterized by the presence of Late Antique ‘villages’, as well as countless settlement units, rural churches, isolated farms, agricultural terraces, and the ruins of numerous other structures dispersed throughout the countryside. This plurality confirms the prosperity of the urban territoria, with intensive agricultural activity and prolific rural settlements. In Late Antiquity, the archaeological data points to a significant concentration of occupation between the 5th and 7th centuries CE. During this time, this landscape was dominated by open, unfortified small villages, with rural churches and chapels situated inside or close to these settlement and production units. The Early Middle Ages (7th–9th centuries) saw a large-scale abandonment of the coastal regions, with settlements moving, mostly for security concerns, inland and to more isolated areas.
Archaeological evidence, including fragments of mortars, counterweights, oil and/ or wine presses discovered in situ or scattered throughout the survey area, within and around sites associated with a domestic use, demonstrate that agricultural production was a part of village life, both on the coast and inland. One of the most significant and constant economic resources hereabouts – the quarrying and exploitation of Iasos marble (marmor iassense) – merits further discussion. Quarries of a calcareous deep red-violet breccia with irregular white-grey veins, coming in two varieties – rosso brecciato and cipollino rosso – scar the slopes extending from the north of the Iasian peninsula eastwards to ‘Little Sea’. Iasos marble was widely employed in famous churches of the time, including St. Polyeuktos and St. Sophia in Constantinople, St. John’s at Ephesus, San Vitale in Ravenna, among many others, during the 6th century, when its exportation was at its peak.
While the use of marmor iassense as a significant economic resource reveals the vitality of this territory, a similar vigour can also be seen in urban areas like Iasos and Bargylia, particularly in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Life of St. Eusebia (Xena) also alludes to the existence of monasteries and convents in and around Mylasa (and elsewhere in Caria) in the same period. At Iasos, the presence of defensive structures and burial items from the Byzantine necropolis in and around the agora show that habitation continued throughout the ‘Dark Ages’. The burial goods span a large chronological range from the late 6th through to the 16th centuries, with the majority of the evidence being concentrated in the late 6th and early 7th centuries and from the 11th century onwards.
Aside from the evidence mentioned above, indicating some continuity of life or settlement activity, little is known about the ‘Dark Ages’ at Iasos and its hinterland. The city would have suffered from the Persian and Arab incursions, perturbing Asia Minor from the mid-7th to 9th centuries, although concrete evidence directly attributable to foreign raids is not always forthcoming. As a matter of fact, there is no proof that this region was uninhabited during the Byzantine Middle Ages despite the fall in archaeological evidence from the late 6th/early 7th to the 9th centuries, which collapse was seen in most regions of the Byzantine Empire in connection with Persian and Arab raids as well as other factors. As can be seen, for instance, in the neighbouring territory of Teichioussa-Kazıklı or in inland regions of Caria, such as the plateau southwest of Aphrodisias, it is also likely that after this date, the coastal areas were largely abandoned, with settlements being relocated in ‘inland’ and remote areas.
Iasos and its hinterland were protected by several sets of fortifications from the Hellenistic period onwards. In the Middle Ages, additional defences were built to secure the peninsula and the western harbour. One of these is atop the acropolis, and the other, a square tower, is located on the Roman pier that guards the western harbour in its easternmost section. The defensive enclosure on the isthmus north of the peninsula must be added to them. These medieval structures – some including various phases of construction – cover a large chronological span from the Late Roman period to Byzantine times (and beyond). Despite the fact that the precise construction date and/or chronological evolution of the disputed Medieval fortifications of Iasos are still unknown, it is reasonable to assume that they served as a ‘chain of defence’ protecting the city and its hinterland from the 7th century through the Byzantine Middle Ages and so lessened the need for additional fortification in nearby inland/ rural areas. Traces of Byzantine settlement and activity can be confirmed here, despite changing settlement patterns and temporary interruptions, until the establishment of the Menteşe Beyliği at the end of the 13th century. This process can better be defined as survival through transformation and adaptation – one that involves abandonment, resettlement (within or around the ruins of the now largely deurbanised and ruralised urban fabric) or relocation.