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Searching ancient territorium of Hygassos in Anatolia: settlement patterns and spatio-temporal investigations through aerial and GIS applications


This paper attempts to present and discuss the geomorphological and spatial analyses of Hygassos in the middle Mediterranean (a demos in ancient Bozburun Peninsula) through the application of GIS and photogrammetry, where necessary. The contextual data is composed of the settlement features and humanly constructed terrace relics. In search of the spatial and social territoria, the research questions greatly lean on the present geographical attributes and, the results of a recent survey concerning the ruins situated along a narrow valley in modern Selimiye-Kızılköy and the Acropolis rising beside. The physical scope encompasses the khora of the Acropolis whose spatial coverage applies to ca. 27.26 km2. As the results show, the socio-economic transformation of Hygassos, under the observance of a major stronghold (Kaletepe), must have been quite dependent on the interplay of the topographical and natural factors, as well as the likely shifts from or to the Acropolis over time. However, ambiguities remain for the resilient western half territory (near immediate Losta Bay) which perhaps encroaches on the frontiers of neighbouring Tymnos. Unfavourable but cultivable areas were preferably used for household construction and terracing whereas the land exposed to maximum erosion was refrained for settling purposes.

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  1. 1.

    For the Incorporated Peraea, see Fraser and Bean (1954: 94–98).

  2. 2.

    The corpora compiled by Bresson (1991) is referrable (Bresson 1991: nos 66–83). That the sites of Losta and Selimiye also finds place in the Hellenistic and Roman epoch is mentioned by Foss and Reger (2000: 938–948).

  3. 3.

    The expression of “Peraea” is used in order to avoid the potential anachronic debates hereunder.

  4. 4.

    Unless otherwise stated, all the directions are referenced according to the Acropolis throughout the text.

  5. 5.

    Güverdağ Formation is free of fossils.

  6. 6.

    The borders of Hygassos fall into the area marked in black on Fig. 3.

  7. 7.

    For more on sclerophyllous forests, see

  8. 8.

    Further research about the architectural style and texture and the chronology of Kaletepe is under way.

  9. 9.

    Note that new settlement data from the south of Tülütepe is introduced in Fig. 6, in this research.

  10. 10.

    On some pressing platforms of Phoinix, refer to Oğuz-Kırca (2014b: 289, 302).

  11. 11.

    Also valid for Kaletepe, the cross-border coverage is confined to the whole raster surface at hand (see Fig. 10a, c below). The seaward line of sight extends e.g. over the Cnidian Peninsula.

  12. 12.

    It was previously postulated to have belonged to Tymnos (see Oğuz-Kırca 2015a: 62; Oğuz-Kırca 2015b: 131).

  13. 13.

    In the meantime, no extra attention was paid to the terraced lands in terms of visibility nor were the terraces displayed on the maps. The reason for such lies in the priorities normally to be given to the topographical parameters as dealt in the previous part.

  14. 14.

    Digital soil base maps obtained from the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock by the first author were utilised for the generation of the pedological maps that are pertinent to the territorium of Hygassos.

  15. 15.

    On erosion that arises from miscellaneous factors, e.g. tectonism, rainfall regime, human activity like overgrazing, doing excessive agricultural, rugged topographies, also referrable to Bevan and Conolly (2011: 1310).

  16. 16.

    Label “E” stands for the Terra-Rosa & Brown Soil, in the original data layer.

  17. 17.

    Where the nuances for the identically defined categories with various codes (see I–II–III; V–VI–VII in Table 1) lie in the technical background.

  18. 18.

    Orhaniye, neighbouring Turgut and Bayır, further to the north, is a perfect case for the depositional process under sand effect, in the Peninsula (Flemming et al. 1973: 49–50).

  19. 19.

    Exposure to changes due to sea rise and ruins of buildings are visible in the environs of a group of sandy islands around Kızılada and Kiseli Ada, in Bozburun. Almost awash sandbank is clearly seen around Adaboğazı. In Thyssannos, the walls of the Medieval houses are in ca. 30 cm water level on the shoreline (ibid.).

  20. 20.

    Also see Altunel et al. 2003: 138 (figure 1), 139.

  21. 21.

    More on overpopulation in Ottoman Anatolia, see the results of an archival research (comprising ca. 700 rural areas) conducted by Cook (1972).

  22. 22.

    More on efficiency of distance, labour and self-sufficiency, see Forbes (2007: 188–189).

  23. 23.

    Oğuz-Kırca (2015a: 43) first assigns Kaletepe to Tymnos but flexibly restores to Hygassos afterwards (Oğuz-Kırca 2014c: 40). A sequential problem in chronology arises from the delays in the publication process of the latter work (2014c).

  24. 24.

    The occurrence of upheavals of the interplay between the people and their surroundings, the indigenous developments particularly in architecture, etc., e.g. Lerna.

  25. 25.

    The grant could not be used by the first author due to the private reasons which had arisen beyond her control during the first quarter of the research period.


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The archaeological data (relevant to Selimiye and environs) cited in this study is incorporated from the regional-Bozburun Peninsula survey results obtained through the permissions granted by the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, between 2009 and 2012 campaigns. The authors express their highest gratitude to the Republic of Turkey, General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and; Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock for having granted and provided the relevant permits and soil maps. Many thanks are also owed to the General Command of Mapping for having supplied the former survey team with the topographical maps and aerial images that are utilised as the base materials in this study. Sincere thanks are offered by the first author to TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) for having granted the post-doctoral research award during the preliminary stages of the joint work.Footnote 25

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E.Deniz Oğuz-Kırca and Ioannis Liritzis declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Oğuz-Kırca, E.D., Liritzis, I. Searching ancient territorium of Hygassos in Anatolia: settlement patterns and spatio-temporal investigations through aerial and GIS applications. GeoJournal 83, 441–464 (2018).

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  • Karia
  • Rhodian Peraea
  • Hellenistic Hygassos
  • Selimiye
  • Kızılköy
  • Ancient territorium
  • Spatial archaeology
  • Geomorphology
  • Pedology