The Konya Plain Survey, Central Anatolia

About the Project

The University of Liverpool has been conducting an archaeological survey of the Konya plain in south central Anatolia, around the famous Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, since 1995.

There are historical questions of some interest that our survey can help to address, eg.

  • What sort of importance did such potentially rich agricultural settings have in the Hittite empire?
  • The Konya plain possibly being part of the 'Lower lands'?
  • How did settlement develop during the politically fragmented Iron Age?
  • What affect did Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires have upon settlement in the plain?

Survey evidence allows us to context past societies in an unique fashion, allowing us to approach the question of relative population levels, demographic fluctuations and the way in which populations were distributed across the landscape. The ultimate goal is the reconstruction of the social, economic, political, and environmental factors that underlie such distributions. The Konya plain offers particular advantages to the study of such questions. These are the good preservation of the settlement record and the high degree of visibility of much of that record. The relatively even distribution of resources and limited topographical variation minimize the complications of considering highly variable catchments in analysing settlement structure and central place theory can thus be used to good effect. The survey area currently encompasses c. 450km2 of the Çarshamba alluvial fan.

The application of innovative methods has allowed us to retrieve less visible components of the record, vital for the proposed reconstruction of settlement history.