Research carried out in Turkey over the last few decades seems to indicate that the Early Bronze Age in west and central Anatolia was a period in which new socio-political structures emerged whose mature development is reflected in the territorial entities of the Old Assyrian period. From the second half of the third millennium, we have evidence of social stratification both at the intra-site and inter-site level, accompanied by a wealth of prestige goods and public structures displayed in settlement and funerary contexts. This phenomenon is also paralleled by the rapid growth of long-distance relations both within Anatolia and with surrounding regions, at least partially triggered by the rise in metal demand of local and foreign elites.
My doctoral research employs a broad range of EBA archaeological evidence (namely small finds, architectural traits and burial customs) to analyze in detail the mechanisms and dynamics of these networks, trying to identify the developments of this phenomenon, the nature of the travelling goods, the routes followed and their impact on the process of polity formation.
I explore whether the presence of routes can be detectable from the distribution of certain classes of archaeological evidence such as the distribution of 'depas'-type vessels across the Aegean and western Anatolia and whether these axes of movement were restrained and confined along actual roads.
Comparison with Roman roads in the same area seems to be valuable in this sense, as well as least-cost path analysis and simulation of road formation. The location of Hittite rock monuments on or near to routes of much later Roman roads suggests the possibility that Roman roads may provide a proxy indication of much earlier networks.