Spatial variability in surface artefact distributions in the Yambol study areas

Adela Sobotkova

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This chapter discusses the results of spatial analysis conducted on surface survey data from the Yambol study areas of the Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project (TRAP). In the rolling landscape of the Middle Tundzha River watershed, tributary valleys serve as zones of settlement, contributing to east-west settlement systems. Elevated ridges between the tributary valleys host mortuary landscapes. These linear systems pose a challenge to quantified assessment of aggregation and dispersal due to their single dimension, and so this study focuses on rates of growth, site spacing, and hierarchy. Given the ubiquitous presence of productive soils in the tributary valleys and the lack of topographic obstacles, economic and social factors emerge as the main drivers of settlement. Historical settlement dynamics change in response to internal and external socio- economic stimuli. An Early Iron Age rise in site counts is similar to that seen in Kazanlak. After the number of sites decline in the Late Iron Age, the Roman period sees the apex of settlement. Functional differentiation is attested in stratified urban and rural sites, while surface artefacts signal that local communities engaged in crafts and commerce. After Roman-era growth abates, settlements decline during the Late Antique and Early Byzantine period. Recovery during the Mediaeval period sees a different settlement pattern established, where only a few permanent sites sit amidst an agricultural hinterland. During the Ottoman period habitations relocate to their modern placement outside of the study areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project
Subtitle of host publicationSurface Survey, Palaeoecology, and Associated Studies in Central and Southeast Bulgaria, 2009-2015 Final Report
EditorsShawn Ross, Adela Sobotkova, Georgi Nekhrizov, Julia Tzvetkova, Simon Connor
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxbow Books
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781789250541
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • spatial statistics
  • linear settlement patterns
  • diachronic settlement patterns
  • population dynamics
  • cultural and environmental history


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