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The Dzarylgac Survey Project

Cite as:

Groninger Instituut voor Archeologie (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen); Center for Black Sea Studies (University of Aarhus); (): The Dzarylgac Survey Project. DANS. https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-zwa-fma6

2010-08-31 Groninger Instituut voor Archeologie (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen); Center for Black Sea Studies (University of Aarhus); 10.17026/dans-zwa-fma6

The Džarylgač Survey Project (DSP) is an archaeological research project that, using a variety of field survey methods, aims to study the interaction between Greek colonists and indigenous populations in northwestern Crimea (present-day Ukraine) during the late Classical and early Hellenistic period (late 5th - 3rd century BC). The project, named after the lake around which fieldwork was done, entails field surveys, test excavations, environmental studies and geophysical prospections and has furnished important new insights in the local settlement history, not only during the period of Greek presence but also for the Bronze Age and early modern period.


black sea area Black Sea area (click to enlarge)

wider study area Wider study area (click to enlarge)

The fieldwork area Fieldwork area (click to enlarge)


The Dẑarylgaĉ Survey Project

The Dẑarylgaĉ Survey Project (DSP) is an archaeological research project that, using a variety of field survey methods, aims to study interaction between Greek colonists and indigenous populations in northwestern Crimea (present-day Ukraine) during the late Classical and early Hellenistic period (late 5th - 3rd century BC). The project, named after the lake around which fieldwork was done, was carried out by a joint team of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), the Centre for Black Sea Studies at Aarhus (Denmark) and the Crimean Branch of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The company Eastern Atlas Geophysical Prospection from Berlin (Germany) carried out part of the geophysical prospections in the project.

field_methods

Within the DSP, fieldwork was done during campaigns in 2006, 2007 and 2008. After preliminary explorations in 2006, systematic surveys using various methods were carried out in 2007 and 2008. In terms of present-day land use, the area around lake Dẑarylgaĉ consists of two distinct zones that each call for a distinct methodology of investigation. The lower areas around the lake are in use for large scale arable farming and consist of large regularly ploughed fields. These were explored using an intensive method (the “block survey”) by which fields are divided into regular units from which surface artefacts are systematically collected (at a coverage of 20%). Inland, parts of the landscape south of the lake consist of a system of parallel hill slopes that are only extensively used and covered with grassy steppe vegetation. Systematic artefact collection is impossible in these conditions and here we surveyed individual hills by following the natural relief. During these explorations (the “slope survey”, again with a surface coverage of ca 20%), artefacts, stone structures and crop marks were mapped. As in the block survey, the mapping was done using PDAs with mobile GIS software connected to GPS receivers. In 2008, additional work on the slopes included geophysical explorations along a series of transects. Besides systematic surveys, a number of targeted investigations were carried out on archaeological sites. These investigations included geophysical studies, test excavations (usually in trenches of 2 x 2 m), Total Station mapping of a number of kurgans (burial mounds) and visits to sites (“the extensive survey”) that had been recorded during previous studies in the area. A final part of the fieldwork entailed soil studies and a coring program (“the landscape survey”), which aimed to provide a classification of the area into land types, against which changes in observed settlement and land use patterns could be analyzed.

The project, although it was ended prematurely, has given new insights in the long-term settlement history of the area as well as in the relations between natives and Greek colonists. Both in the lowlands near the coast and on the interior hill slopes, settlements of the Bronze Age have been found, and the presence of animal enclosures on some of these suggests that pastoralism was an important aspect of the Bronze Age economy. During the period of Greek colonization, the landscape around lake Dẑarylgaĉ was dotted with sites. On the coast, Greek settlers built large settlements and smaller fortified farms, while around the lake the surveys have mapped many small pottery scatters that may represent small establishment in the farmed zones. The widespread occurrence of artefacts of this period in off-site contexts also suggests that the land around lake Dẑarylgaĉ was cultivated in this period. Also on the interior slopes many settlements have been found; some of these consist of clusters of simple rectangular structures (perhaps to be considered as indigenous), while others also show more complex plans that resemble ‘Greek-style’ farms. On the slopes, hundreds of burial mounds have also been observed, which are often aligned along ridges and natural routes between the settlements.