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ANMED Issue: 2003-1
 
Patara 2002
Fahri IŞIK
 

Excavations and survey work of the 2002 campaign at Patara lasted 50 days, between the 16th of July and the 5th of September; the team comprised 27 students, 20 Turkish and 7 foreign, 23 scholars, 19 Turkish and 4 foreign, 1 restorer and 16 workers. The campaign activities included photogrammetric drawing work at the Theatre, Bouleuterion, Prostyle Temple and Marcia Temple-Tomb; completing the unfinished work at the Doğucasarı Altar-Tomb; and work for protection conservation purposes at four underground tombs. The campaign activities are summarised as follows:

Bouleuterion
The work from the 21st of July through to the 28th of August was organised in two phases. First of all, excavations and sand removal were carried out at four points: in the centre of the structure, in the interior of the big vault in the north, in the interior of the staircase vault in the south and in the central vault. The stone blocks in front of the stage building in the east were taken to the stone storage field in the northeast, and the earth infilling was taken out of the ancient city. In the second phase of the work, the areas cleaned were measured and drawings were prepared and photographs were taken. Aerial photographs of the Bouleuterion were also taken, which facilitated the making of a computer photograph of the building’s present state, to the scale of 1:200.

 The most important find of the 2002 campaign at the Bouleuterion was the rows of seats in situ and the in situ throne of the Lyciarch in the centre, bounded with staircases on both sides. These rows were discovered at the level of the vault in the north; however, from this level onwards, only six rows were unearthed. Soundings taken in the second half, in the south also revealed the presence of rows of seats. The rows of seats in front of the southern wall had been dismantled. Therefore, based on the available evidence to date, it is possible to reconstruct two-thirds of the cavea. After the northwest corner had been cleaned, it was understood that the semicircular architectural form on the west extended to the middle of the northern wall and that a flat platform existed in front of it. Based on the measurements of the rows recovered in situ, it is thought that there were 21 rows in total. However, taking into consideration the steepness and height of the area where the throne of the Lyciarch is located, it is possible to add several more rows to the east of the cavea in the reconstruction drawings.

Though it is not known when the structure was first built, it is probable that it was built soon after Patara assumed the title of the Capital of the Province of Lycia. This hypothesis is further supported by the craftsmanship of the throne of the Lyciarch located in the middle, the rows of seats and staircases and Hellenistic characteristics of their profiles.

Excavations at the Necropolis
 One of the main foci of the excavations at Patara initiated in 1988 has been the necropolis and the tombs of the city. The first underground tomb excavations in Lycia began at the Tepecik necropolis and, since 1995 the rock-cut tombs have been under excavation. A total of 48 rock-cut tombs have been unearthed to date, and made significant contributions have been made to the typology and tomb finds of Lycian and Anatolian archaeology. In this campaign four more tombs were excavated, as they were exposed to the danger of illicit diggings, with the caving in of the earth around them.

The Marcia Temple-Tomb
This tomb is located near a gate opening on to the estuary, on the edge of the harbour in the Akdam area to the north of the Patara city centre. Work began on the 21st of July with the drawing of a detailed plan to the scale of 1:20. With its superstructure entirely destroyed, the tomb was studied for the detailed drawing and information needed for restoration purposes and for locating the situation of the blocks. Both archaeological drawings were made, and aerial photographs and measurements were taken from a balloon at a height of ca. 15 meters above ground level. Coordinates were determined through the surveying polygon and photogrammetric drawings were begun. Using a crane, 329 blocks, some of a weight of ca. 3 tons were conveyed to the storage field after numbering, for drawing, repair and location purposes. 85 blocks exposed after the others were removed were drawn into the plan with their levels-position, and will be removed to the storage field in the next campaign.

Based on a preliminary study of the blocks removed, the tomb had the front of a temple with a triangular pediment and vaulting on the inside. Oriented in an east-west direction and facing the harbour on the west, it measured 9.76 x 13.80 m. The structure had two postaments on the back and front sides, but on different levels. There must have been four columns of 0.48 m in diameter between the postaments at the back. The hyposorion accessible from the north side is rectangular in shape and oriented north-south. The entrance is 0.84 x 0.70 m and had a sliding doorway. The hyposorion of 2.50 x 6.94 m is 1.98 m high.

 The Altar-Tomb at Doğucasarı
The “U” shaped tomb facing west, located in the flat area called Ambaryanı at the northwest foot of Doğucasarı Hill was partially excavated in 1989, its façade was fully and its sides and rear side partially exposed. This campaign’s work aimed at exposing the entire structure together with its architectural sculpture; therefore, first the structure was cleaned and then fully exposed. The architectural pieces of the structure now fully exposed were grouped and drawings made, the work was accomplished.

Corinthian Temple
Prior to the onset of the excavation, for safety reasons, the broken lintel of the temple doorway was supported by scaffolding, while the excavations progressed. Excavations were begun at the temple in order to gather information concerning the end of the western podium and the staircase. The excavation of the western podium revealed that the blocks with profile on top, were removed after the first two rows. The row at the bottom on which the blocks with profile rested was followed from the western end of the anta, and profiles with three different sizes and craftsmanship were discovered on the last block. In order to unearth this block entirely, the digging continued towards the north and it was seen that a Byzantine structure stood upon this block; therefore, the block with its profile could not be exposed in its entirely. The eastern side of the same block was also dug and the possible staircase profile was obtained. However, when the trench was extended to the east, in order to gather data on the front podium of the temple, it was seen that the stones in this area were completely removed and that this area functioned as a cemetery in the Byzantine period.

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