The “Beyond Chalkida: Landscape and Socio-Economic Transformations of its Hinterland from Byzantine to Ottoman Times” Project / ‘Hinterland of Medieval Chalkida’ (‘HMC’)

Years of Operation:

2021-2025

Director(s):

Prof. Dr. J.A.C. Vroom, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

Dr. A. Kostarelli, Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea (EAE) in Chalkida

Project Team:

Project assistants D. Kalantzis-Papadopoulos, J. Ouellet, R. Kolvers, M. Mulders and E. Valkanou, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University (2021-2023).

Dr. V. Kilikoglou, Dr. A. Hein, Dr. A. Panagopoulou, Dr. G. Polymeris and Dr. Y. Maniatis, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, National Centre for Scientific Research ‘Demokritos’ in Athens (2022-2023).

Dr. T. Kalayci, Dr. L. Lambers, GAIA Prospection & Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University (2022-2023).

Dr. M. R. Hoosbeek, Soil Chemistry, Wageningen University (2023).

Geerts, Rodericvs Ceramics & Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University (2023).

Associate Director(s):

Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea (EAE) in Chalkida, represented by its current director Dr. D. Christodoulou, and the previous director Dr. A. Simosi. Support staff: E. Katsali, I. Manoloudi and G. Pappas (EAE).

Dr. K.D. Politis (Chairperson), Dr. A. Blackler, Hellenic Society for Near Eastern Studies (HSNES) in Chalkida. Support staff: Dr. D.K. Lamprakis (Department of History, Ionian University, Corfu).

Objectives of the Project:

In 2021, the HMC project started to investigate the connections between the port city of Chalkida (ancient Chalcis) and its rural hinterland on Euboea Island. To date, very limited systematic archaeological study, let alone field research, has been undertaken to shed light on the material remains of the Byzantine, Latin or Ottoman presence in central Euboea. It is one of the main objectives of the HMC project  to change this state of affairs. Together with various collaborators, an innovative research program in the form of a multidisciplinary field survey has started to document the archaeological record in the Hinterland of Medieval and Ottoman Chalkida.

This project aims to answer the following questions: how did the landscape and geography of the local surroundings of Chalkida impact medieval to early modern productivity, habitation, mobility, and interaction in a wider sense? And where are such changes and continuations still visible in the landscape?

While other archaeological surveys in Greece devote only part of their research to post-Antique finds, this may be the first regional survey in central Greece to focus exclusively on the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods. One of the main aims of the project is to highlight the importance of the city of Chalkida during the Latin and Ottoman eras in relation to similar contemporary urban communities.

The current research program is envisaged to develop for the first time an understanding of the social and economic changes occurring in the city’s hinterland during the later periods, while producing an updated topographical record of all sites in the region. The project’s focus is not only on the surviving monuments (sites categorised as fortifications, towers, churches, farm steads, water mills etc.), but also on their intra and inter relationships to the urban centre of Chalkida, the wider eastern Mediterranean, and ultimately, the Western European world.  This will require, apart from the direct involvement of field archaeologists and ceramists, the participation of other specialists (including historians working with written sources of the Latin/Venetian and Ottoman periods).

The main objectives of research are the following:

  1. To gain insight into the long-term changes in habitation and land use, the management of water resources, the exploitation of wetlands and salt pans, the transformation of the environment, the organisation of the military, and the socio-economic structure of the hinterland of Chalkida during the Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman periods.
  2. To construct based on surveys and pottery finds, a typo-chronological framework to firstly understand ceramic use and production throughout the periods under study, and secondly to create a model of trends in and transformations of local, regional, and inter-regional distribution and pottery manufacture.
  3. To gain a better understanding of Euripos’ position in the trade networks (in terms of general trade and including recipients of local industrial production) both within the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire but also beyond, and, after 1204, within the limits of its Latin and Ottoman successors.

 

Funding

Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University: Fieldschool 2 Funding in 2022 and 2023.

Leiden University Fund, Chastelain Nobach Fund (W20296-6-CNB) in 2023.

Barakat Trust (UK) in 2022-23 (G2022/A3/774) and in 2023-24 (G2023/A3/804).

Castle Studies Trust (UK) in 2022 and 2023.

 

 

Major Publications:

Blackler, A. 2016. Mapping Frankish Euboea: Tracing the depiction of the island by the portolan charts and early maps from the 13th to 17th centuries. In: Z. Tankosic, F. Mavridis and M. Kosma (eds.), An Island Between Two Worlds: The Archaeology of Euboea from Prehistoric to Byzantine Times, Papers and Monographs from the Norwegian Institute at Athens 6, Athens, 653-661.

Blackler, A. 2020. The Medieval Landscape of Euboea (Negroponte): A Framework for Interpreting the Byzantine and Frankish Towers of Greece, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Birmingham (UK).

Kostarelli, A., J. Vroom et al., forthcoming. Μunicipality of Chalkis – Municipality of  Dirfion Messapion. Research program (2021-2025) with the title « Beyond Chalkida: Landscape and Socio-Economic Transformations of its Hinterland from Byzantine to Ottoman times», Archeologikon Deltion 76 (2021).

Vroom, J. 2003. After Antiquity. Ceramics and Society in the Aegean from the 7th to the 20th centuries A.C. A Case Study from Boeotia, Central Greece (Archaeological Studies Leiden University 10), Leiden: Leiden University Press.

Vroom, J. 2014. Byzantine to Modern Pottery in the Aegean. An Introduction and Field Guide,  Second and Revised Edition, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers (First edition: Utrecht: Parnassus Press, 2005).

Vroom, J. 2022. Shifting Byzantine networks: New light on Chalcis (Euripos/Negroponte) as a centre of production and trade in Greece. In: E. Fiori and M. Trizio (eds.), Proceedings of the Plenary Sessions: The 24th International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari, 453-487.

Vroom, J. (ed.) 2023. Feeding the Byzantine City: The Archaeology of Consumption in the Eastern Mediterranean (ca. 500-1500) (Medieval and Post-Medieval Mediterranean Archaeology Series, vol. V), Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

Vroom, J., E. Tzavella and G. Vaxevanis 2021. Exploring daily life in the Byzantine Empire: Pottery finds from Chalkis (Euboea, Greece), ca, 10th/11th-13th c.. In: P. Petridis, G. Yangaki, N. Liaros and E.-E. Bia (eds.), 12th Congress AIECM3 On Medieval and Modern Period Ceramics, Proceedings, Vol. 1 (Research Series 10), Athens: National Hellenic Research Foundation Institute of Historical Research & Hellenic Republic National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 449-458.

Vroom, J., E. Tzavella and G. Vaxevanis 2023. Life, work and consumption in Byzantine Chalcis: Ceramic finds from an industrial hub in Central Greece, ca. 10th-13th centuries. In: J. Vroom (ed.), Feeding the Byzantine City: The Archaeology of Consumption in the Eastern Mediterranean (ca. 500-1500) (Medieval and Post-Medieval Mediterranean Studies V), Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 223-260.

Vroom, J., A. Kostarelli, A. Blackler, D. Kalantzis-Papadopoulos and R. Kolvers, forthcoming. The Hinterland of Medieval Chalkida: A preliminary overview of the 2021 and 2022 fieldwork seasons, Pharos 25 (2022)

 

Contact Information

Prof. Dr. Joanita Vroom, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

 

Website

Medieval Chalcis and its Euboean Hinterland – Leiden University (universiteitleiden.nl)