Abstract: Aphrodisias Regional Survey
Lecturer: Christopher Ratte
Aphrodisias was an important town of the Greek and Roman periods in southwest Asia Minor, famous in antiquity for its sanctuary of Aphrodite, its virtuoso sculptors, and its pagan philosophers. The city is unusually well preserved, and prior investigation had shown that the same is true of the surrounding territory. Building on the results of 45 years of excavation at the city-site, the Aphrodisias Regional Survey was begun in 2005 in order to supply a regional perspective on the history of Aphrodisias and similar cities, as well as to investigate the interaction between human habitation and the natural environment in a 600-square kilometer area around the city in all periods from prehistory to the present day. The survey has integrated traditional methods of archaeological surveying with remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analysis. In addition to identifying and recording archaeological sites throughout the survey area, the project has emphasized certain special topics of investigation, including: the cemeteries of Aphrodisias; the territorial fortifications; evolving patterns of rural settlement; the urban and rural water supply; the exploitation of natural resources including clay, iron, emery, and marble; road systems and patterns of rural land division; ancient agricultural technology; the sacred landscape of Aphrodisias. This lecture will report on the spectacular results of the Aphrodisias Regional Survey, scheduled from completion in 2009.
C. Ratté and R.R.R. Smith, eds., Aphrodisias Papers 4 (JRA suppl. 70, Portsmouth, RI 2009).