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Ainos : archaeology and geoarchaeology

Anca Dan
Sait Başaran
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1122032
Mustafa Sayar
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1210873
Helmut Brückner
Ercan Erkul
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1122033
Sahan Kircin
  • Function : Author
Wolfgang Rabbel
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1122034
Felix Reize
  • Function : Author
Martin Seeliger
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1098151


The archaeological research started in Ainos in 1971-1972, under the direction of Arfif Erzen; it continued during 1978-1993, with the participation of Sait Bașaran, who directed the research from 1994 until 2019. During these decades, Ainos transformed itself from a simple toponym, known from some ancient literary and epigraphic texts, published from the 19 th century onwards, to one of the best known archaeological sites in European Turkey. The nearby Hoça Keșme, discovered by Sait Bașaran and his family and excavated by Mehmet Özdoğan, is now the most important Neolithic site in SE Europe. Ainos’ Greek, Roman and Early Byzantine funerary zones (the so-called Çakıllık, the Su Terazisi and the Taşaltı necropoleis), excavated in very difficult conditions, due to the rising water table, have filled two rooms with exceptional finds in the Edirne Museum. Enez’s Kale (“Acropolis”) revealed the traces of the oldest Greek habitation and is now open to the public, with a fully restored “Fatih” or “Hagia Sophia” Mosque. Sait Bașaran put Ainos on the map of the studies on Thrace, publishing or co-publishing nearly all the important historical and archaeological studies about this area. He opened his excavation to international and interdisciplinary projects, supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SPP Häfen; 2012-2017) and by the French National Research Foundation and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mission d’Ainos; 2017-2021), which made significant progress in identifying Ainos’ topography, in particular the harbours and their chronology, from Greek Antiquity to late Ottoman times. Geoelectric profiles combined with geomagnetic and georadar surveys gave hints for the shape of two ancient harbour basins, besides several other anchoring points. The sediment cores in the basins as well as on former beaches show the evolution of the ancient maritime gulf south of Ainos into the Taşaltı and Dalyan lagoons. Through geochemical analyses, combined with the study of pollen and microfauna, our team was able to reconstruct the ecological history of these lagoons, and to identify and date the human actions which transformed them first into harbours and later into simple fishing basins. In this paper, we present a survey of the most important archaeological and geoarchaeological finds and hypotheses concerning Ainos: after a general presentation of the historical and archaeological data about the city (with a particular focus on the Roman time), we try to reconstruct the city’s connectivity, by discussing the Roman roads and harbour evidence, including the preliminary results of the 2021 campaign.
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Dates and versions

hal-03919207 , version 1 (02-01-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-03919207 , version 1


Anca Dan, Sait Başaran, Mustafa Sayar, Helmut Brückner, Ercan Erkul, et al.. Ainos : archaeology and geoarchaeology. Trade and Trade Routes in Roman and Late Antique Thrace, Mustafa Sayar (Istanbul Universitesi), Sep 2022, Enez, Turkey. ⟨hal-03919207⟩
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