The papers in this book result from a conference held in Istanbul in 2004, and are the product of collaboration between the British Academy Black Sea Initiative (BABSI) and the City and Regional Planning Department of Istanbul Technical University. They cover a period from the first appearance of human settlers in the Black Sea region to the present day, and all emphasize the significance of the Black Sea itself as a source of unity, linking communities and histories in a wider regional context, extending westward along the Danube basin, northward into the Ukraine and south Russia, east into the Caucasus and southward over the Anatolian hinterland. A major introductory paper re-examines the evidence for the Black Sea flood hypothesis.
A group of four papers evaluate new evidence for the economic and cultural relationships between Greeks and native populations in the Black Sea region from the seventh to the fourth centuries BC. The next group of studies is concerned with the interconnectedness of the Black Sea between medieval and modern times, highlighting Seljuk and Ottoman trade, and the roles of the ports of Odessa and Trabzon. Four papers deal with the economic and social development of the Turkish Black Sea region in recent times. The final section places Black Sea history in a long perspective both from a cultural and a political viewpoint.