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ANMED Issue: 2010-8
Excavations at Rhodiapolis and Surveys in Its Environs 2009
İsa KIZGUT – Emrah AKALIN – Süleyman BULUT
The 2009 campaign, “Excavations at Rhodiapolis and Surveys in the Environs,” was conducted from June 11th through August 24th and focused on eight areas: the baths, the theater, the Asklepion, the Temple, the West Street, Shops, Building G and Church (Fig. 1)*.
Baths (O. Tıbıkoğlu)
Excavations of the baths began at the east side of the castellum. Apart from the work carried out here, the partly ruined eastern wall of the castellum was taken under protection by dry masonry and earth filling the empty area inside. In service room nr. 1, the floor was reinforced with dry masonry, and the late period room on the palaestra, previously excavated, was cleaned of blocks fallen from the west wall. In the working process, a structure, comprising two oblong parallel rooms, was uncovered. The rear room of this structure rests on the east facade of the baths and is divided into two by a wall. The second room is built in front of it. The walls are built with medium size rubble and mortar. No floor pavement was found.
Theater (B. Özdilek-Tıbıkoğlu – S. Fırıncı)
Work started inside the stage building and the porta regea (north gate) was exposed where some pieces belonging to the gate were found. The fill inside the forerooms of the hyposcenium was removed, completing work at the stage building. Six soundings were dug in the previously excavated orchestra, in order to investigate the strata underneath. The soundings were dug at about 0.40 m. to 0.60 m. in depth, reaching the bedrock or virgin soil. A total of six coins from the Hellenistic and Roman periods were uncovered.
Excavations at the analemma of the east cavea started at the western end. First, rubble from fallen blocks from the outer encircling wall forming the foundation of the cavea, was cleaned. The rubble contained some architectural pieces with decorations from the theater, a substantial number of daily-use ware of the Roman period, amorphous materials and ceramic paste.
Excavations were initiated by the northern top edge of the theater and a semicircular room was exposed. To the north of the room, there are stairs leading down. Both the room and the stairs are clearly of later periods and by continuing further down, the quantities of ceramics, amorphous or otherwise, and nails increased.
As the rubble was removed from the east end of the analemma wall, it was seen that some rooms were formed to incorporate the analemma itself. One room extends from the analemma to stairs of the late Byzantine period. The room was exposed when rubble was removed at a depth of 2.20 m. and many small finds were found on its floor, including bronze oinochoe, terracotta drinking vessels, lamps with animal protomes, large storage jars and coins from various periods. The room could be exposed only partially due to the stairs at a higher level, but the objects found in it suggest that this might be
popina (kitchen), and probably of a mass-hall. The finds point to a date in the 3rd century A.D.
Asklepion (E. Akalın – F. Karakuza)
The building, covering the southwest end of the town center and adjoining the sebasteion, has been 85% excavated. The wide courtyard resting on an infrastructure of cisterns is accessed via a triple portal from the stoa on the north (Fig. 2). The portal leads into the courtyard which resembles a wide corridor and facilitates circulation to rooms on the east and west. There are six rooms on the east and west sides of the courtyard. All were completely cleaned of rubble and the floors exposed. The large amounts of reused materials in the walls, as well as ceramics and coins found on the floor, indicate multiple repairs and phases. The rooms, originally designed for therapy, served as houses and other purposes in later periods. This is evidenced by most of the finds from levels above the floor being mainly wares for the kitchen and daily use. Finds from the original floor level include coins of the 2nd century, i.e. contemporaneously with the Asklepion, and fragments of medical utensils and potsherds of the same period.
Library (S. Bulut – E. Akalın – H. İnanç)
The single-room building to the west of the round building at the south end of the Asklepion, was thought to be a library with regard to its architecture. A statue base with an inscription uncovered in 2007 confirmed its identification as a library. As the only example of its kind in Lycia, this construction was, according to the inscription, a “medical library” and it was designed, together with the Asklepion, by Heraclites, who had written 60 volumes in total. The room measures 6.95x5.03 m. and the statue base, comprising four rows of blocks with profile extending along the entire length of the west wall, was blasted with dynamite which also caused extreme damage to the south and west walls. The blocks thrown out of the building were identified and carried back inside using a crane, then they were placed into their original positions (Fig. 3). The north and south walls of the library were divided symmetrically into three niches (Fig. 4). The niches are coated with a plaster layer of 0.05 m. thickness and an extant small piece shows that the niches were faced with thin marble panels.
Temple to Asklepios and Hygeia
(S. Bulut – M. Erdoğan – A. Tunç)
The temple dedicated to Asklepios and Hygeia by Herakleitos, according to inscriptions, was built on the main street which extended from the baths at a lower level on the east. The street turns north, forming a corner, then turns again to the west, towards the main gate. The temple facade faces east. Seven steps leading to the gate, and starting from the pronaos, are built with decorated blocks. The building was badly damaged by illegal excavations. Its partially preserved walls were built with small
rubble and mortar, as were other buildings of the settlement, but the facade is entirely in ruins, except the broken door jambs. The west wall is arranged as a statue base, with blocks on profile as at the library. Blocks scattered around were put in their original places after restitution work (Fig. 5). On the top of the base are two superficial pieces of stonework, a circular one at the south end, and a rectangular one on the north. The circular block is thought to be the place for a dressed female figure, while the rectangular place is thought to be for a male figure. Excavation was completed when the statue bases were put in place. Damage in the walls was repaired with lime mortar and the structure was reinforced.
Stoa (E. Akalın – E. Yeşilyurt – F. Karakuza)
The stoa, adjoining the north wall of the Asklepion complex, was cleaned of debris from the temple up to the Sebasteion (Fig. 6). The stoa, which was likely roofed over, extends parallel to the street. Due to the topography ascending westward, access to the Asklepion from the east side was through an arched doorway rising on a podium. It was reached with three steps. Blocks uncovered so far are not sufficient to complete this structure because the excavation of the street is not finished.
Acropolis Church
(E. Akyürek – A. Tiryaki – Ö. Çömezoğlu)
Excavation of the church has been going on for two seasons and continues with the work on the aisles. The north aisle was determined to have been paved with mosaics. Fragments of architectural sculpture, as well as wall plaster fragments with traces of fresco, were uncovered from the debris of the north wall. The in situ column in the trench was removed, as well as the plaster fragments with fresco, and all were documented. Among the finds from this trench are a few potsherds, numerous fresco fragments and nails from the lower levels. Architectural sculpture pieces included architrave fragments,
columns separating the aisles, balusters and balustrade panel fragments. The well preserved mosaic
pavement of the north aisle contains geometric composition with drinking vessels and double-axes in the corners.
South Building (G)
(M. Kunze – S.G. Bruer – E. Tokgöz)
The work in this building of a dubious function, included excavation of a room in the southwest corner and another in the east corner. This was done to clarify its connection with a building on the west.
The southwest room was excavated down to the -3.50 m. level, but the floor was not reached. It is thought this room was originally two-storied and, after having lost its function in the later periods, it served as a waste dump for a nearby workshop. The fill, debris rubble and ashlars from the wall contain a high quantity of potsherds. The potsherds contained amorphous pieces as well as unfired pieces, suggesting there was a pottery workshop somewhere near. Some pieces, belonging to cooking
pots and pans, had inscriptions reading “Nikos Trato”, who must have been either the owner of the workshop or a master potter working there.
Shops/Work-areas (E. Akalın – A. Demirelli)
There are three adjoining rooms at a higher level to the north of the temple. The southern two rooms were entirely exposed down to the bedrock or floor. The original floor of the first rooms was reached and it was seen to open into a street on its south side (Fig. 7). As the walls contain reused blocks, it can be concluded the building was repaired several times and had different functions through different periods. The second room, which is the middle one of the three, was excavated down to the bedrock and it was apparent the original floor was not preserved due to damage by falling masonry. Among the finds from this room were potsherds from the Orientalizing period and two small terracotta human heads of the Archaic period, both of which are worth noting. Although the third room has not been fully exposed, it was thought to have had multiple phases. Its original height could not be determined. Remains of four pithoi were uncovered placed side by side in the floor. The pithos, closest to the doorway, contained a large amount of carbonized figs. In view of the fact that the first room contained many coins, it is possible these rooms had a commercial function like a shop.
Surveys in the Environs (İ. Kızgut – E. Akalın)
“Surveys in the Environs of Rhodiapolis” have been periodically conducted and in this 2009 campaign, a very large area was covered to determine the limits of the settlement. Prof. Dr. B. İplikçioğlu and his team, the epigraphy members of the excavation, continued their epigraphic surveys in the region as well.
Settlement on the Pastures: Based on information from villagers, remains of a settlement were identified at Karagöl Yaylası in Kumluca, at an altitude of 1100 m. Almost destroyed, the settlement contained a chapel, a necropolis stretching over a wide area and many unidentified buildings. The chapel was built with blocks and rubble of various sizes. It was built on a site leveled from the bedrock and terraced at places. It extends in the eastwest direction and was accessed from the northwest. Numerous blocks belonging to the chapel are scattered about. A fragment of the ambo parapet in a pasture house was recorded. The necropolis covers a large area (Fig. 8). It was noted that the graves were formed by placing local slates on top of each other without any concern for direction or form. Graves are of various sizes. In the southwest corner of the necropolis is a U-shaped arrangement. One tomb has a wide V-shaped niche on its west façade. This small niche might have served for holding lighting devices or a votive offering. The tomb was destroyed by treasure hunters and did not contain any objects.
Apollon Sanctuary: At the 18th km. of the Kumluca- Altınyaka road is a branch leading to Karagöl Yaylası. A walk of 20 minutes on foot westward from this junction takes one across a shallow valley and a low hill. The remains on top of this low hill are damaged to a great extent by treasure hunters. This hill, surrounded with a valley, overlooks nearby settlements and could have been used for signaling. The hill sees Pygela on the east, Kitanaura on the north, Idebessos, Akalissos, Kormos and Madamissos on the west and Rhodiapolis on the south; thus, it might have housed a watchtower or a communication tower. Taking into account the fact that some settlements established leagues in history, the importance of this hill comes to the fore. The large size and bossed work of the blocks suggest a date in the Hellenistic period. One level down from the tower, are heaps of blocks containing inscriptions. Three steps rise westward. One find was an inscribed house altar. The İplikçioğlu team has tentatively reported that the inscriptions contain mainly votives to Apollon and wishes. It is clear that this was a sanctuary dedicated to Apollon but which town it belonged to is not known yet. 
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