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ANMED Issue: 2008-6
 
Excavations at Rhodiapolis in 2007
Nevzat ÇEVİK - İsa KIZGUT - Süleyman BULUT
 

The excavations and surveys in the 2007 season were conducted from June to August. The work was financed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums – DÖSİMM, by Akdeniz University and by the Kumluca Municipality. In addition to our core team from Akdeniz University, a total of 81 people including 21 scientists, 3 restorers, 1 cartographer, 35 student-workers from Istanbul University, Mannheim University (Germany), Marmara University and Süleyman Demirel University, and 21 workers joined the campaign in 2007. As in 2006, work was conducted in five different areas by five different teams. According to the schedule designed for the first five years of the project, the work initiated in 2006 was continued in 2007. Our primary aim was to complete the excavations of the theatre and the bath house that began in 2006. In addition, we began the excavation of the Opramoas Monumental Tomb, the South Building and the Basilica (Fig. 1).

Topographic and photogrammetric work
The topographic map of the city to a scale of 1:1000 has been largely completed, covering an area of 225,000 sq. m. It was made by E. Yüksel and E. Akalın. In addition to all the topographic details of the area, every archaeological detail visible on the ground has been marked on this map. The Theatre’s plan began to be prepare by İ. Özdilek employing the ground photogrammetric method.

Theatre (Figs. 1)
In this campaign we began to excavate the stage building together with the tomb of Opramoas. The hyposkene of the stage building was excavated on the outside to the level of the floor of the tomb of Opramoas but its east side was left unexcavated to facilitate access by the crane which was needed to remove the blocks of the Opramoas Monument. It was seen that the substructure of the proskene, containing an intermediary corridor and two side rooms continued – only the vault has collapsed and the door lintels have fallen.

Opramoas Stoa; the area between the west parodos and the stoa – in front of the western analemma (Fig. 1)

The area between the west side of the stage building, the western analemma, the lime kiln in the Opramoas Stoa and the northwest end of the stoa, measuring 12.35x11.65 m., was excavated. This area is related to the theatre in respect to the western parodos and the front of the analemma; it is also related to the Opramoas Stoa, regarding both the area between the stage building and the tomb of Opramoas and its construction joins the corner of the western analemma. The excavation of this area revealed the connection between the Opramoas Stoa, the Opramoas Tomb and the western parodos. This also led to the clarification of the expected physical and organisational differences between the Hellenistic theatre and the Roman stoa. The filling reaches a thickness of 6 m. at the back of the western part, with the filling comprising rubble and debris from the stoa wall with a further source for the filling being the blocks and inner filling of the western analemma wall. The potshards recovered from this filling originated from the flow that came down from the acropolis.

Along the stoa wall are eight niches of various sizes. The niches alternate, having semicircular or rectangular cross sections. The rectangular niches are topped by an arch, the semicircular ones by a semi-dome. They were built from regular rubble and lime mortar. The stylobate of 4.50 m. width was constructed from dressed stone blocks. The roof tiles exposed during the excavations gave the impression they had been piled up in groups in places. In this area was found an oil lamp dating from the 4th-5th centuries A.D. In front of the analemma, under the layer of roof tiles were found fragments of a woman’s statue completed from 53 pieces and which depicts the Goddess Fortuna. Her coiffure and especially the bun of her hair recall depictions of Faustina, while her hair falling down behind the ears recalls depictions of Aphrodite; this statue in consequence is dated to the mid-2nd century A.D. (138-161). In the same trench were found a hand and arm fragments of another statue also depicting a woman. A single bronze finger also found here belonged to a bronze statue of life size.

Monumental Tomb of Opramoas (Figs. 1-3)
This monument has been heavily damaged firstly by nature and through the actions of the local inhabitants during the Byzantine period, secondly by epigraphists and finally by illegal excavations conducted by treasure hunters and in consequence, the fallen blocks are not in their original places. As a result of comparisons made through previous publications it is evident that the Benndorf – Krickl team conducted excavations more than the treasure hunters and read almost all the inscribed blocks. However, the blocks of the monuments deteriorated over time with the interventions made by other epigraphists who also worked on this monument, one of the most popular important epigraphic monuments in Anatolia. Inside the monument there is a pit that has been dug during the course of illegal excavations by treasure hunters. In consequence, both the front side and the interior of this unique monument have been damaged by everybody who has been interested in this monument. When we compared the inscribed blocks we have uncovered with the restitution drawings made by E. Löwy from the Asia Minor Commission at Vienna, unfortunately we saw that they have been badly damaged during the intervening period. According to the excavation schedule under the direction of S. Bulut, the interior was partly cleaned first; excavations were then carried out firstly on the south side, next to the front continuing to the north side and then the rear. The fragments of the inscribed blocks uncovered in urgent need of preservation were immediately restored. The blocks lying scattered around the monument, whose original locations have been identified, were replaced in their original position on the monument. Only on the south lateral side, nine blocks were replaced in their former position. All of the blocks of the pediment were found, the damaged ones were restored, and the pediment was reconstructed on the flat area in front of the monument. The monument was excavated down to its original floor level, where the floor pavement was found intact. However, the stepped entrance area has been almost entirely destroyed due to the actions of the illegal excavators. The interior of the monument was reused during the Byzantine period. The bricks from the wall of the adjacent stage building were removed and they were re-used to construct walls inside this monument and a new floor was created from rubble and lime mortar lying above the level of the Roman floor. As the Byzantine walls lie beneath the debris of the Roman wall blocks, it is possible to say that the monument was still standing during the Byzantine period and that it was in use during this period.

Solid evidence regarding the construction and technology gathered during our excavations has clearly shown that the restitution attempt that was made by E. Löwy from the Asia Minor Commission at Vienna is incorrect. Evidence available today indicates that the monument had a typical prostyle temple layout. It was entirely built from cut stones and was roofed with roof tiles. All of the cut stones were hauled with the lewis technique and no binding material was employed.

Bathhouse – Gymnasium
Approximately 90% of the excavation of the bathhouse was completed during the 2006 season and in the 2007 season excavations were resumed in the trenches on the southern and western sides of the palaestra. The excavations were conducted by H. O. Tıbıkoğlu. In this area Byzantine walls had been constructed from reused Roman blocks. The area on the southern corner of the palaestra, which was left unfinished in 2006, contained the water canal leading to the bathhouse. This 0.50 m. wide canal was built from masonry and extends toward the hill where Building G is located. In order to expose the continuation of the canal and whether the stepped street actually existed, a sounding trench was dug. The trench brought to light the continuation of the water canal and, in addition, a layer of small rubble could have provided the sturdy infrastructure for the expected street. The most significant find from the 2007 season in this area were potshards having geometric period characteristics, uncovered beneath the Byzantine layer in this part of the palaestra and some of the shards could be joined together. Parallel examples with concentric circles and wave motifs from the region indicate a date towards the end of the 8th and beginning of the 7th century B.C.

South Building (G) (Fig. 4)
The work at Building G was carried out by a team led by İ. Kızgut and M. Kunze. This building having an unclear function is located behind the Sebasteion covering a large area on the flat land at the southern end of the city (Fig. 4). As is typical of Rhodiapolis building, it has a cistern comprising three large sections constructed beneath it. The superstructure of the cisterns has entirely collapsed, leaving no evidence of the floor level. The front facade faces west, slightly northwards. It was designed with triple entrances, whose blocks are decorated with different motifs. The east and south fronts are lined with independent rooms, which were at least two stories high, as is inferred from the beam holes and the traces of stairs. Considering the architectural blocks and decorated pieces uncovered during the excavation of the facade, together with those in situ we were able to determine that the entrance was designed with three separate monumental entrances on the front facade. The middle entrance was larger than those on either side. The fact that the masonry contained inscribed and decorated blocks that actually belonged to the building, that the additional walls were built from small rubble and the pressed earth floor contained a coin dating from the 4th century A.D. indicates this room was constructed during the second phase of the building’s use. The potshards uncovered, together with a small lamp broken in two, are also characteristic of a 4th – 5th century A.D. date while the underlying layer is thought to date from the 2nd century A.D. Amongst the material uncovered are fragments of column capitals dating from the Hellenistic period, but there is a possibility that these were spolia in secondary use.

Church (Fig. 5)
The basilical church located on the acropolis and dating from the Byzantine period began to be excavated by a team led by E. Akyürek of G. Tiryaki, Ö. Çömezoğlu and others. This three-aisled basilical church has its entranceway on the west and its apse is flanked with pastophoria. On the north there is a chapel and there are units along its west side which should belong to the bishop’s residence. On the west there are three entrances constructed from re-used Roman material. The synthronon, now entirely exposed, has six steps and excavation in this area reached down to the floor level and the preliminary detailed plan of the church has been prepared. It has been determined that the east and north parts of the church have survived in a pretty good condition while the south wall can be barely discerned on the ground, that the rubble filling in the naos is not very thick, that there are three large pits in the apse and in the nave that have been dug during illegal excavations and consequently the mosaic floor in these areas has probably been damaged.

According to our preliminary observations, in the first phase, i.e. 5th-6th centuries A.D., the church was a threeaisled basilica with a timber and tile roof. The pastophoria extend to the outermost level of the apse and they are all concealed behind a wall on the east; thus, this church is a typical example of the churches seen in the Mediterranean region, especially around Silifke. Although the excavation finds have not as yet been studied in detail, our preliminary observations indicate that most of them date to the Early Byzantine period, but there are also finds dating from a time extending into the 11th-12th centuries A.D.

Epigraphic work
The epigraphic team led by B. İplikçioğlu of H. S. Öztürk and F. Dönmez-Öztürk (MSGSÜ) and F. Dingil studied the inscriptions of the Opramoas Monumental Tomb and other inscriptions in this campaign. This unparalleled monument carries the second longest inscription in ancient Greek known from antiquity, and all of its inscriptions were studied during this campaign. Three blocks that were previously unknown were found. Evaluation of the hundreds of fragments belonging to the blocks will be made during the course of the next season’s campaign.

In this campaign the work focused mainly on the inscriptions of the Opramoas Monument. The texts on the 54 blocks were double-checked meticulously and corrections and additions were made to the published texts. 16 new inscriptions discovered in 2006 were documented; these include 1 agonistic honorary inscription, 9 honorary inscriptions, 2 decrees, 1 name list, 2 architectural inscriptions, and 1 corrigendum to TAM 2, 3. A total of 10 inscriptions found in 2007 were also documented; these include 3 fragments, 1 honorary inscription, 1 honorary inscription in verse form, 1 architectural fragment, 3 new blocks belonging to the Opramoas Monument and 1 votive inscription. Apart from the inscriptions from the Opramoas Monument which has a special place in scientific study, a newly discovered inscription belonging to the renowned physician Herakleitos is also noteworthy given its content. It was inferred from this inscription that Herakleitos was a humanitarian and an intellectual thinker and poet in addition to professing medicine and that he dedicated statues to Athena, Asklepios and Hygeia as well as constructing a library. Another noteworthy inscription concerns the way to cover the expenditure of the gymnasium. This Hellenistic inscription has confirmed that there existed a gymnasium before the Roman bathhouse and records some part of the interest from the income of the city’s foundations was transferred for this purpose.

Restoration and conservation
A total of 319 architectural pieces were worked on: 101 belonging to the theatre, 78 to building G and 140 to the Opramoas Monument. When they were joined, we had 55 completed stone blocks.

Coins
In the 2007 campaign, a total of 17 coins were found. Apart from 5, most are Roman coins dating to the 3rd-4th centuries A.D., others are of Hellenistic date.

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