Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures in Turkish Thrace
The subject of this thesis are the Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures in Turkish Thrace. Turkish Thrace acts as a land bridge between the Balkans and Anatolia. Along this land bridge it might be expected that there has been a transfer of ideas, exchange and movement of objects between two regions. Intensive survey in a selected part of Turkish Thrace - the Edime region - and systematic field collection techniques on selected sites were conducted. Intensive surveys in the Edime region have provided important evidence relating to past land use and settlement systems. On the basis of examination settlements and artefacts, local Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures closely related to the Balkan cultures were defined. One of the research problems in Turkish Thrace is the apparent dramatic decrease in population in the late Chalcolithic period. All late Chalcolithic sites are small relative to those of other Chalcolithic cultures in the Balkans. There are as yet no geographical studies, soil analysis or pollen diagrams from Turkish Thrace. However, it seems most likely that the depopulation of Turkish Thrace can be explained by a combination of environmental changes, soil changes or exchange network collapse. In Neolithic and Chalcolithic period, some of the Anatolian material looks similar to those of the Balkans. Similarities may be explained by the interaction sphere model. An interaction sphere is defined as an information or item exchange system through which aspects of culture are transferred and which ultimately produces regional similarities. Metabasite stone axes from the Şarköy axe factories were found in the Early Neolithic levels of Hoca Çeşme as well as on settlements in the Edime region. Honey flint of Northeast Bulgaria and Aegean Spondylus were found in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlements of Turkish Thrace. These examples begin to introduce the nature of the exchange network in Turkish Thrace.