The 2009 IAS survey began with an investigation of Akyokuş Tepe , a conspicuous natural hill situated north of Gönen. It then moved southwest, so as to investigate the piedmont and highlands that frame the adjacent plain. While visibility in this territory varies considerably (the vegetation ranges from maquis shrubland on the higher elevations down to olive orchards and grain fields in the vicinity of the plain), from the very onset it was evident that this landscape was a palimpsest of human activity from the 2nd millennium BCE to the middle Byzantine era. The 'carpet' of ceramics occasionally blurred the picture; nonetheless, it became apparent that dissemination was the outcome of recognizable patterns and specific settlement schemes. In addition, we did a cursory survey of the Kale Tepe site.
The Kale Tepe Site
In the summer of 2009 the IAS began to investigate and map an impressive fortified site at Kale Tepe (1656 m ASL, Figs. 2, 4: 1a, 5, and 11), 2 km northwest of Gönen. The Kale Tepe site appears to have supported a fully nucleated city, possessing a large and complex fortification system within which was contained a large domestic quarter and a system of streets. In addition, the southeastern flank of the hill is punctuated by tumuli and graves cut into the bedrock, some of which we investigated.
The preliminary pottery evidence indicates this hilltop site was active in the early Hellenistic period and that it was abandoned in the Roman phase, when it appears settlement activity shifted to the southeast onto the gentle slopes that dominate a vast and fertile plain. Water resources and rich soils made this sector of the landscape especially conducive to occupation and to agricultural activities. A dense presence of Byzantine finds, in particular, may suggest a further extension of the settlement to the west. Although it is too early too tell, the findings warrant testing the hypothesis that the city center of Konane in the Hellenistic period may have actually been located at Kale Tepe, and only in the later Roman phase did the heart of the city move southeast to lie under the modern town of Gönen.