The project focused on settlements in remote, hard-to-reach mountain regions. The question arises for the compensation of the marginal habitat and the reasons for the creation of these settlements.


So far, a group of settlements in mountain regions of the Pisidian Taurus was almost unexplored. Even if one of them dates back to the Chalcolithic period (Hacilar culture), they seem to have their origin mainly in the final Bronze Age and the beginning of the Early Iron Age. A more accurate dating can only be achieved by soundings. Two of them, Kale Tepe at Gönen (Conana) and Erinler Tepe, 5 km north-northwest of it, are documented with surveys.

In the framework of a dissertation (Arie Kai-Browne), specific prospecting and documentation techniques were developed for this settlement type, ranging from semi-automatic classification of satellite images to precise topographical three-dimensional detections of the surface and of building structures with UAV, total station and laser scanner. In addition, geophysical surveys were carried out.


Circular structure in the centre: hilltop settlement of Erenler Tepe, 3D view from north-east | Author and Copyright: A. Kai-Browne/HTW Berlin and Isparta Archaeological Survey

Circular structure in the centre: hilltop settlement of Erenler Tepe, 3D view from north-east | Author and Copyright: A. Kai-Browne/HTW Berlin and Isparta Archaeological Survey


It is striking that visual contacts between the mountain or hilltop settlements were evidently important. For this, the inaccessibility was accepted, whereby the water supply by sources had to be ensured. In the case of Kale Tepe and Erinler Tepe, the direct proximity to the large pasture (Yayla), which is encompased by mountain ranges and is usable by semi-nomadic groups, plays a big role. It allowed the supply of meat, leather and dairy products and has two particularities: at least today, larger groups of free running horses live here, which are caught and ridden to on demand, and on the edge of the Yayla deposits of coal are superficially exposed.

The supply of agricultural products was possibly supported by terrace cultivation. Terraces are difficult to date, but spatial relation to the remote settlements suggests simultaneity. Whether the settlements were completely independent of agriculture in the lake and river plains (Ovas) depends on the number of former residents. Kale Tepe nor Erinler Tepe may have been totally autonomous. Terraces for agricultural use, often difficult to identify, are always in the context of this settlement group. At least in the case of Erinler Tepe, presumably also parts of Kale Tepe, terraces were used for architecture, too.

The project was part of an interdisciplinary collaboration to ‘settlement structures in northwest Pisidia from the late 3rd millennium BC until the beginning of the 1st millennium BC’, a cooperation with the Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Isparta, under authorization of Bilge Hürmüzlü. The settlement development of northwest Pisidia should be investigated more closely from the late Early Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. It was necessary to review and re-evaluate existing theories on the causes of the ‘dark ages’ phenomenon, which describes the apparent lack or the small amount of archaeological remains from the Middle and Late Bronze Age. The possible causes of the missing material include a shift in the settlements from the valleys to inaccessible mountainous regions during risky periods, economic changes that forced the local population to nomadism, or a covering of the Bronze Age sites by large Hellenistic and Roman centers.

The project was co-financed by the University of Applied Sciences Berlin.