The present volume springs from my PhD dissertation defended at the University of Aarhus in 2007. In recent years I have travelled from Denmark to the Black Sea region on several occasions. Mostly, my trips to the area have been concerned with material studies of burial data on display in museums or topographical ‘micro-surveys’ of cemetery areas, firstly in connection with my Masters thesis and subsequently in relation to my PhD dissertation, and thus the present project. On other occasions my time has been spent in the dusty storerooms of Olbia looking through endless boxes of pottery for the collaborative project between the Black Sea Centre at Aarhus University and the Academy of Sciences in Kiev. On these trips I have encountered a small fraction of life in the Black Sea region, both in the form which it takes today and as I imagine it to have been in Antiquity. The practical experiences and the mental challenges which I have been faced with during this period have, in various ways, influenced the manner in which I approach and perceive new cultural areas and the people who inhabit them. In these encounters with ‘new lands’ I have been confronted with many important questions central to the subject of the ‘meeting of cultures’ and the formation of identities – mainly from an ancient perspective, but also in relation to my own modern-day life. It has been a true privilege to become immersed in these matters and to work with them under such advantageous conditions and in such a rewarding working environment as that provided by the Black Sea Centre.
There are many people to thank for their support, endless patience, comments, critique and encouragements – amongst them my supervisors, Annette Rathje, Jens Krasilnikoff and Catherine Morgan, and all my colleagues at the Black Sea Centre, who have always been willing to share information and ideas as well as to lend a helping hand and a listening ear. Helle Horsnæs at the National Museum, Copenhagen has provided valuable and to-the-point comments and critique of the chapter on southern Italy; George Hinge, University of Aarhus, has given his detailed, expert opinions on the epigraphic material; and Patric Kreuz, University of Bochum, has been very kind and helpful in answering my many questions concerning Black Sea funerary architecture and sculpture. Many more people have been involved in discussions of the work and they are mentioned and thanked in the text accordingly. Elena Stolba and Line Bjerg have done a fantastic job with the bibliography, for which I own them my deepest thanks. Gina Coulthard has expertly and patiently edited, corrected, and commented the final version of the manuscript.