General discussion of landscape archaeology, of the relationship between Greek poleis and their territory, and between Greek settlers and the indigene environment is unthinkable without the rich evidence preserved from the Black Sea region. This has previously been acknowledged at conferences such as Territoires des cites grecques 1991 (Brunet 1999) and Problemi della chora coloniale dall’Occidente al Mar Nero 2000 (Stazio & Ceccoli 2001). During the days 31 August-3 September 2003 the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Black Sea Studies hosted an international conference on Chora, Catchment and Communications. The present state and future prospects of landscape archaeology in the Black Sea region, 7th century BC-4th century AD at Sandbjerg Estate in Sønderborg, Denmark. As reflected in the title of the conference, which took the Black Sea region as its point of departure, the aim of this scholarly meeting was two-fold: to establish an overview of the relationship between the larger Greek cities and their territories through discussing how the chorai were defined and organised in time and space, but also to take the pulse on the current status of landscape archaeology in the Black Sea region. Researchers representing the main ancient cities of the west, north and south coasts of the region were invited, as well as specialists working in the Mediterranean, who provided a comparative perspective. Unfortunately, not all researchers invited could attend. In the present volume, 13 of the papers presented at the conference are published. Two of these were read by members of the Centre staff, because their authors (V.A. Kutajsov and G.M. Nikolaenko) were unable to participate in the conference, and further two papers have been added after the conference (O. Doonan; T.N. Smekalova & S.L. Smekalov) in order to fill some of the major gaps in the present volume’s coverage.
Investigation of the rural landscapes of the Greek poleis of the Black Sea region, in particular along the north coast, has a long ancestry. Since the early 1950s, when intensive archaeological exploration of the rural territories of the Greek Black Sea cities began, the interaction between polis and its chora, as well as the internal organization of the chora itself, became one of the main issues of archaeological research in this region. Good examples of such overall studies, to mention but a few, are the investigations of A. Avram on the Greek poleis of Kallatis and Istros, of S.B. Ochotnikov, S.D. Kryžickij & S.B. Bujskich on the Dniester and Lower Bug regions, of S.F. Strželeckij, A.N. Šceglov and G.M. Nikolaenko on the territory of Chersonesos, as well as of I.T. Kruglikova . . .