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ANMED Issue: 2006-4
Perge 2005

The excavation and repair work at Perge in 2005 was conducted from July the 25th to September the 25th by the Centre for Archaeological Research in Antalya Regionof Istanbul University’s Faculty of Letters, with the permission issued by the Directorate General of Museums and Cultural Heritage. This work was financed by the Directorate General of Museums and Cultural Heritage, DÖSİM and the Administrative Secretariat of Scientific Research of Istanbul University. The Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilisations sponsored the conservation project for the mosaics of Agora, while the Foundation for the Improvement of the Cultural Consciousness financed the repair and erection of the columns. In addition the Turkish Historical Society participated with a symbolic contribution. We would like to express our thanks to all these institutions for their support.

Excavations in the Western Necropolis:
The 2005 campaign focused around tomb M9, which was uncovered in 2003. In the sounding opened in the first area toward east of the western peribolos wall, noarchitectural remains were uncovered.

The second area of work in the Western Necropolis was between the northern peribolos wall and sarcophagus L10 and uncovered here, were three limestone sarcophagi carrying no decoration. These sarcophagi are orientated in an east-west direction and their lids were joined to each other with mortar. The fact that all three sarcophagi are positioned at a lower level than tomb M9 suggests that they should predate the burial chamber.

The lid of the limestone sarcophagus L56 is in pieces and its western part is only partially preserved. The small finds from these sarcophagi include: glass and baked clay unguentaria, bronze coins, baked clay oil lamps, a bronze mirror and a few fragments of figurines. In addition an octagonal rock-crystal seal is of note, executed in intaglio, its convex side is carries a figure of a priest standing before a fire altar.

The third work area at the Western Necropolis encompassed the uncovering of a sarcophagus that had previously been identified at the northern end of the Acropolis. This sarcophagus has a tabula ansata with a sevenline Greek inscription and it contained three burials. The small finds from it included golden earrings, a boneneedle and marionette, fragments of baked clay unguentaria and bronze objects.

Excavations in the Colonnaded Street:
A sounding was dug to the south of the wall, which stands at the junction of the northern gallery of the Colonnaded Street Jb and the western gallery of the Colonnaded Street Ja. Floor level was reached and was seen to have a şagstone pavement as is the case with the rest of the street. A carved pediment corner-piece with depictions of Triton on the front and Selene on the short side is noteworthy among the numerous architectural fragments uncovered here, and it indicates the presence of a monumental fountain situated here.

Another work area in the Colonnaded Street was in the widened western gallery between streets J9 and J11. This portion was also understood to have a mosaic flor as in the other galleries. It was also seen that street J10 has a stepped entrance towards the west and the wall to its east has an exedra facing the Colonnaded Street.

  The work in the western gallery of the Colonnaded Street progressed from north to south and the finds include numerous marble facing fragments, pier capitals and architrave blocks. Two portrait heads of statues – one male head belonging to a priest of the Imperial Cult and one female head belonging to a priestess of the Imperial Cult and also a statue base are worthy of note. It is highly probable that the male portrait head is connected to Gn. Pedanius Valerianus, honoured as the Imperial Priest by Gerousia, whose name is mentioned on a base that was uncovered in the Colonnaded Street.

Anthropological Studies: In 2005 Assc. Prof. Dr. Y.S. Erdal of the Anthropology Department of Hacettepe University and his team studied the skeletons uncovered from tomb M6.4 in 2004. In all, M6.4 contained the skeletons of: 69 adults – 27 men, 36 women and 6 unidentified – as well as 10 infants and 22 children. Those skeletons whose age of death could be identified are: 16 young adults, aged between 15 and 30, 18 adults, aged between 30 and 45, and 14 skeletons of the elderly, over 45 years of age.

 On a skull of a male from sarcophagus B there is the trace of a healed oval trepanation measuring 38.5 mm. in diameter. 3/4 of the trepanation was preserved and the individual had continued with his life after this operation.

On a skull from sarcophagus A there is a tumour on the outside of the left temporal bone which measures 41.5x24 mm.

Studies for the Mosaic Corpus:
Within the framework of the mosaic corpus project conducted by AIEMA (Association internationale pourl’étude de la mosaique antique) centred in Paris, the documentation, repair and conservation work of the mosaics of Perge focused on the mosaics in the Agora in 2005. All the mosaics in this  area were re-exposed, documented using total station and photography employing modern photogrammetric methods and, in consequence, it is now possible to see all the mosaics of the Agora in the context of the architecture.

Conservation, Repair and Landscaping Works:
The anastylosis work continued in the widened western gallery to the south of the Demetrios-Apollonios Arch on the Colonnaded Street, as well as in the Agora, culminating in the erection of a total of 31 columns.

 When the mosaics were re-exposed after about 30 years, the parts that had deteriorated were identified and conserved using modern techniques. Then, they were covered first with geotextile and sacking and then with washed fine creek-sand for their protection All the baked clay, glass and metal finds uncovered in 2005 were cleaned and assembled together in the laboratories at the excavation house and in the shed.

At the end of the 2005 campaign a total of 26 items worth cataloguing and 121 items worthy of study were handed over to the Antalya Archaeological Museum following their restoration and conservation.

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