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Black Sea Studies

The Black Sea, known to the Greeks as Pontos Euxeinos or the "Hospitable Sea", is the focus of this series, which is concerned with ethnic relations, cultural interaction, and economic interdependence in the Black Sea region in the period c. 700 BC-AD 325, but with a main focus on the years ca. 400 BC-100 AD.

Although the Black Sea region is viewed as a whole, attention is concentrated on the north and south coasts of the Black Sea region, i.e. of modern Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

Publications devote special attention to centre-periphery relations, to cultural interaction as an expression of ethnic and cultural strategies, and the analyses are based on a long-term view of the Black Sea region as a link between Asia and Europe.

All the articles in the books can be downloaded as read-only pdf-files.


Black Sea Studies, Vol. 1
Black Sea Studies, Vol. 2
Black Sea Studies, Vol. 3


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Black Sea Studies 1


The Cauldron of Ariantas, Studies Presented to A.N. Sceglov on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday.


Black Sea Studies, Vol. 1Edited by Pia Guldager Bilde, Jakob Munk Højte & Vladimir F. Stolba
Aarhus University Press 2003



With this publication 23 scholars from Ukraine, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Denmark celebrate the 70th birthday of Alexander Nikolaevic Sceglov. The contributions shed new light on a vast range of Black Sea issues: from the earliest settlements and their functions to the formation of a Russian science of Classical antiquities. In focus are the important Greek cities Histria, Olbia, Chersonesos, and Herakleia Pontike, the cities' material culture and their relationship to their own rural territory and to their non-Greek neighbours.



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Black Sea Studies 2


Ancient Fishing and Fish Processing in the Black Sea Region

Black Sea Studies, Vol. 2

Edited by Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen
Aarhus University Press 2005



This volume challenges the orthodox view that fish products played only a marginal role in the economy of the ancient world. The authors assess the present state of research on ancient fishing generally and discuss its implications for the economic and environmental history of the Black Sea region, especially the Greek settlements on the north coast. While grain has traditionally been viewed as the main export of the Pontic colonies, the presence of salting vats in the cities of the Crimea indicate production of salt fish or fish sauce on a large scale.



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Black Sea Studies 3

Chronologies of the Black Sea Area in the Period c. 400-100 BC.


Black Sea Studies, Vol. 3

Edited by Vladimir F. Stolba and Lise Hannestad
Aarhus University Press 2005

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in chronological problems. In this volume 13 archaeologists present their contributions on the chronology of the Black Sea area, with focus on the period from 400 to 100 BC. Contributions include papers that present the chronological basis on which archaeologists currently operate, as well as papers on specific case studies where the dating of a site, a group of sites or deposits, and the reason for the suggested dates are presented. Central issues are amphora stamps, coins and imported fine-ware pottery, together with the written source material.



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Black Sea Studies 4

Surveying the Greek Chora. The Black Sea in a Comparative Perspective


BSS4forsEdited by Pia Guldager Bilde & Vladimir F. Stolba
Aarhus University Press 2006

Any discussion of landscape archaeology, of the relation between Greek poleis and their territory, and between Greek settlers and the indigene environment is unthinkable without the rich evidence from the Black Sea region. In 2003 the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Black Sea Studies hosted an international conference with the aim to establish an understanding of the territories of the larger Greek Black Sea cities and to take the pulse on the current status of landscape archaeology in the Black Sea region - seen in a comparative, Mediterranean perspective. Though "landscape archaeology" and "survey" are well-known field methods, it soon became clear that the scope and approaches which the two terms describe differ fundamentally. This led to a heated methodological debate. Such a debate is to be welcomed, because this is exactly what leads to scientific progress.


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Black Sea Studies 5

Rome and the Black Sea Region: Domination, Romanisation, Resistance


BSS5forsEdited by Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen
Aarhus University Press 2006


At the height of the Empire, Roman control extended over two-thirds of the Pontic shoreline. The advent of Rome brought immediate changes in administration, taxation and power relations. Over time other less tangible, but no less important changes in lifestyle, modes of thought, self-perception and consumption patterns followed. This volume traces the cultural impact of Rome on its Pontic dominions, as well as the reation of the indigenous population.




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Black Sea Studies 6

The Black Sea in Antiquity: Regional and Interregional Economic Exchanges


BSS 6 frontEdited by Vincent Gabrielsen & John Lund
Aarhus University Press 2007


This volume addresses a wide range of issues concerning the economic exchanges that took place within the Black Sea region, and between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean areas from about 700 BC to AD 200. The contributing scholars of ancient history and archaeology consider old and new evidence in order to shed light on central aspects of the economic relationship that existed between these two eminently important regions in Antiquity. The authors offer novel approaches and propound a number of fresh interpretations to key questions concerning the relationship between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The overarching question is whether the Black Sea and the Mediterranean were organically linked and thus complemented each other in economic terms. 


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Black Sea Studies 7

Urban Life and Local Politics in Roman Bithynia. The Small World of Dion Chrysostomos


CoverBy Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen, Aarhus University Press 2008


Most studies of Roman local administration focus on the formal structures of power: provincial laws, imperial edicts, urban institutions and magistracies. This book explores the interplay of formal politics with informal factors such as social prejudice, parochialism and personal rivalries in the cities of northwestern Asia Minor from the first to the fifth centuries AD. Through a detailed analysis of the municipal speeches and career of the philosopher-politician Dion Chrysostomos, we gain new insights into the petty conflicts and lofty ambitions of an ancient provincial small-town politician and those around him.



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Black Sea Studies 8

Meetings of Cultures: Between Conflicts and Coexistence


BSS 8 cover 2Edited by Pia Guldager Bilde and Jane Hjarl Petersen, Aarhus University Press 2008


Meetings of cultures arouse strong feelings. In this volume, ninteen scholars from Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine present a profound discussion covering various topics from the physical arena of the colonial encounters, to the layout of land and protection of cities, to the dynamics of the cultural exchange, to the perception of how it was to be Greek in the Pontic realm, and finally, to the reciprocal strategies exerted by the Greeks and Scythians in Olbia as described in Herodotos's Skythian Tale. Through the many-sided contributions it is revealed how the self and the other are two sides of the same coin - yesterday, today and tomorrow.



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Black Sea Studies 9

Mithridates VI and the Pontic Kingdom


BSS 9 coverEdited by Jakob Munk Højte, Aarhus University Press 2009


Mithridates VI Eupator, the last king of Pontos, was undoubtedly one of the most prominent figures in the late Hellenistic period. Throughout his long reign (120-63 BC), the political and cultural landscape of Asia Minor and the Black Sea area was reshaped along new lines. The authors present new archaeological research and new interpretations of various aspects of Pontic society including its contacts with the Greek world and its eastern neighbours, and investigate the background for the expansion of the Pontic Kingdom that eventually led to the confrontation with Rome.




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Black Sea Studies 10

Die Einführung der Eisentechnologie in Südkaukasien und Ostanatolien während der Spätbronze- und Früheisenzeit


BSS 10 coverBy Jens Nieling, Aarhus University Press 2009


Im Hochland Ostanatoliens treffen im späten 2. Jahrtausend v. Chr. drei Lebenswiesen aufeinander und sind denselben ungünstigen Klimabedingungen unterworfen: Die orientalischen Hochkulturen der Hethiter und Assyrer sind im Rückzug begriffen. Südkaukasische Adelsgefolgschaften mussten ihre angestammten Siedlungskammern verlassen. Sie treffen auf traditionelle Nomadengesellschaften. Aus der folgenden Akkulturation wird gegen Ende der Früheisenzeit das Urartäische Reich entstehen. Gleichzeitig verdrängt Eisen die im 'Erzgebirge' Kaukasus reichlich vorhandene, identitätsstiftende Bronze. In einem interdisziplinären archäologisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Ansatz wird vorgelegt, zu welchen Leistungen die frühen Metallurgen in der Lage waren und welche Forschungsmeinungen als überholt gelten müssen.


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Black Sea Studies 11

Achaemenid Impact in the Black Sea. Communication of Powers


BSS 11 coverEdited by Jens Nieling and Ellen Rehm, Aarhus University Press 20010


For 200 years, from the second half of the 6th century BC to the decades before 330 BC, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids ruled an enormous empire streching from the Mediterranean to Afganistan and India. The Great Kings Dareios I and Xerxes I even tried to conquer Greece and the northern Black Sea, but failed. Why were they interested in the Pontic area? In contrast to rich satrapies, such as Egypt, Phoenicia, and Syria, the Black Sea had no prosporous cities to offer. After 479 BC, the Persians acknowledged that the coast and Caucasus formed the natural borders of the empire. Nevertheless, the satraps became involved in the affairs of the Black Sea region in order to safeguard the empire's frontiers. The local inhabitants of the region became bearers and transmitters of Persian culture.



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Black Sea Studies 12

Cultural Interactions and Social Strategieson the Pontic Shores. Burial Customs in the Northern Black Sea Area c. 550-270 BC


BSS 12 coverBy  Jane Hjarl Petersen, Aarhus University Press 2010


In Antiquity the Black Sea region was a meeting point for several different population groups with diverse cultural backgrounds. The present monograph takes its point of departure in burial data from four coastal localities in the northern region of the Black Sea. The mortuary practecies are decoded and interpreted within a framework mainly based on concepts of cultural interaction rather than cultural polarisation. Thus, the dogma of "The Greeks and the Others" is challenged, and alternative perceptions of interactions between the people in the Black Sea region form the basis of the study. The burials are primarily analysed with emphasis on social strategies and cultural diversity. Furthermore, the Black Sea region is set into a comparative perspective through an outlook on burial customs and mortuary practices in the colonial milieus of contemporary Southern Italy.



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Black Sea Studies 13

The Lower City of Olbia (Sector NGS) in the 6th Century BC to the 4th Century AD


BSS 13 coverEdited by Nina A. Lejpunskaja, Pia Guldager Bilde, Jakob Munk Højte, Valentina V. Krapivina and Sergej D. Kryzickij, Aarhus University Press 2010


The Lower City of Olbia (Sector NGS) was excavated by Ukrainian archaeologists between 1988 and 2002. This large city quarter, its architecture and finds, has been analyzed by an international group of scholars from Ukraine, Denmark, Russia and USA. The book is the first publication of the life in a Black Sea city quarter through 1,000 years with complete documentation.



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Black Sea Studies 14

The Dzarylgac Survey Project


BSS 14 coverEdited by Pia Guldager Bilde, Peter Attema & Kristina Winther-Jacobsen, Aarhus University Press 2012


This book is a publication of the Danish-Dutch-Ukranian survey project carried out in 2007 and 2008 on both sides of Lake Dzarylgac – that is, in the hinterland of the ancient settlement of Panskoe I on the Tarchankut Peninsula (Northwestern Crimea). The project was the first systematic, intensive survey in the region, and its aim was to investigate the landscape from prehistory until early modern times. The publication concludes that the region was most intensively settled in the Late Classical and Early Hellenistic period. The results were spectacular: a large number of undisturbed Greek and indigenous sites were identified, which have completely changed our understanding of ancient settlement patterns in the region.


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Black Sea Studies 16

Pottery, Peoples and Places. Study and Interpretation of Late Hellenistic Pottery


BSS 16 coverEdited by Pia Guldager Bilde & Mark L. Lawall, Aarhus University Press 2014


The late Hellenistic period, spanning the 2nd and early 1st centuries BC, was a time of great tumult and violence thanks to nearly incessant warfare. At the same time the period saw the greatest expansion of "Hellenistic" Greek culture, including ceramics. Papers in this volume explore problems of ceramic chronology (often based on evidence depentent on the violent nature of the period), survey trends in both production and consumption of Hellenistic ceramics particularly in Asia Minor and the Pontic region, and assess the impact of Hellenistic ceramic culture across much of the eastern Mediterranean and into the Black Sea.


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