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ANMED Issue: 2006-4
Surveys at Ancient Olympos in 2005

The 2005 campaign of surveys at ancient Olympos under the direction of the Antalya Museum Directorate was conducted from August the 15th through to September the 15th. The team members were Assc. Prof. Dr. B. Y. Olcay Uçkan, Dr. E. Uçkan, lecturer E. Uğurlu, research assistants Z. Demirel Gökalp and M. Bursalı of Anadolu University, Eskişehir, lecturer Y. Mergen of Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, archaeologist O. Atvur, cartographer A. Nadir Topograf, master’s students G. Öztaşkın and S. Evcim of Anadolu University, art historians A. Gümüşoğlu, Z. Kaya, N. Kart and graphics designer M. Cengiz. We would like to express our thanks to the Directorate General of Museums and Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Research Fund of Anadolu University, the Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilisations (AKMED), Vasco Tourism Inc., VEGA Cartography, INTA Satellite Systems and Ekol Architecture for their support.

The 2005 expedition concerned not only urban surveys in the ancient city of Olympos but also entailed surveying the nearby settlements which are thought to be directly related to the city of Olympos. This arose from the need to evaluate the ancient city together with its environs. For this purpose, first the remains of the settlement on Musa Mountain, which can be called the Upper City during the period when piracy was at its peak, were surveyed.

In addition the Göktaş Fortress, which is thought to have been settled for defensive purposes, and Yanartaş (Khimaira), which is directly connected with the city according to its legend, were also surveyed.

 In the ancient city of Olympos, the work began in previous years and covering the identification of the urban structures and their topographical mapping showing its phases continued, as had been planned. Within this framework, the topographical map of Olympos also showing its connections with neighbouring contemporaneous settlements was completed; the field work as supported by satellite images and the city plan was transferred onto the topographical map (Plan 1). Based on the country’s coordinates, grid systems of 200x200 m. and 10x10 m. were prepared in order to facilitate future excavations.

Following the transfer of the city plan entirely into digital format, the work for the 3-D topographical modelling of the city began. The relevés of the structures started to be prepared in the field and the data collected with a digital camera was also transferred to digital media. In the excavation house, the evaluation of the digital data collected continued. In addition, based on the data collected in the field, 3-D restitution proposals for some urban structures have been developed. As the computeraided restitution takes longer, office work also continues during the winter months.

  Göktaş Fortress:
To the east, passing over a bridge of the Çıralı road across a small tributary to the Ulupınar stream there is a fortress at an altitude of 170-175 m. on a small hill  Its plan, prepared by S. Aydal in past years, was doublechecked and the missing minor details were completed while detailed descriptions of the structures were also prepared. Rock-cut stairs lead to the entrance on the east (Fig. 2). The southeast wall is entirely cut from the bedrock and the missing parts were completed with ruble and mortar. The well-preserved stairs have five steps and the entrance is also quite intact, however the lintel is missing. The northern jamb is a well cut monolithic block and the southern jamb was built from rubble and mortar. Inside the fortress, seven rooms with an almost square, rectangular layout and also a U-shaped structure to the northeast of the fortifications were identified.

Outside the rooms inside the fortress, potshards that had been dispersed due to the slope of the terrain included Roman period and Early Ottoman examples. The Roman potshards belong to wares of daily use with a buff, red-yellow and brown paste containing lime and mica. Also a baked clay object was found. The Ottoman potshards are small glazed fragments with painted or under-glaze painted decoration. The glaze is white or of a green transparent type and the pastes include lime and mica. There are examples glazed without any slip, while the slip to be seen is white. A broken stone pithos lid was also documented along with these ceramic finds. The first phase of this fortress is identified as dating from the Hellenistic period as was understood from the western fortification. From the ceramic finds, it is possible to claim that the fortress was in continuous use until the Ottoman period. The Göktaş fortress overlooks the area from Çıralı beach and the costal road on the east, to the Eren Tepesi to the west and southwest. It must have served as a watchtower from the Hellenistic period onwards. The flat area surrounding the fortress and a grinding stone found here may suggest that this was a tower-farmhouse.

Yanartaş is known as the site where the legend of Bellerophon and the Chimera took place. In addition, there are the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Hephaistos at Yanartaş. Today, some worked stones and inscriptions are still visible at this site. The first temple must have been built around the şames of methane rising from the ground, known as the ‘perpetual fire of Lycia’.

  In the Byzantine period, possibly in the 6th century, a church was built to the north of the Temple of Hephaistos. The eastern wall of this three-aisled basilica, which extends in a northwest-southeast direction, is today entirely in ruins. The encircling wall starts 5.50 m. West of the western aisle and possibly encircled the narthex and joined the eastern wall. The interior of the central nave and the western aisle both end in semicircles (Fig. 3). The eastern apse is built with a loophole window, different from the others. It is thought that this structure had a rectangular narthex. The naos is rectangular. The arched entranceways opening onto the western and eastern aisles were later blocked. On the western aisle wall are two small round-arched windows. The arcshaped masonry discernible on the partially standing apse of the western aisle suggests a low-arched vaulting here. Traces on the walls point to the fact that they were once entirely covered by frescoes (Fig. 4). Interlacing, quadrangles formed by intersecting diagonal lines, zigzags, and four-petal şowers are the motifs that were quite often employed here. In addition, other vegetal and geometric motifs were employed in various parts of the structure. It is clearly discernible that the fresco decoration had two phases as can be inferred from the parts exposed beneath the fallen plaster and from the figures preserved at the rear of the apse of the western aisle. The walls of the church were built from rubble stones. On the eastern lower part of the outer side of the main apse there are finely cut blocks, possibly gathered from the ancient temple and reused here. The mortar is pink in colour and contains brick particles and tiny Stones mixed with the lime.

About 35 m. north of the church is a rectangular chapel extending in a north-south direction (Fig. 5). The apse in the north is semicircular both inside and out. Two openings in the west wall were later blocked up with masonry. The eastern wall is partially in ruins. There is a window in the still-standing northeast part of the apse wall. It is highly likely that there was also a window in the partially standing northwest part. The entrance to the structure is on the south side and there is a Greek inscription on the lintel, which is a reused block. The inscription mentions a bathhouse built in the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus. The structure was dedicated by an Olympian woman called APPHIA.

Musa Mountain:
The Sepet Mountain, important for the urban topography of Olympos, rises directly to the south of the city and reaching a height of 568 m. is named Musa Mountain. The ancient road and paths connecting Olympos with its environs began by the Heroon in the western necropolis. Today, to reach Musa Mountain it is necessary to climb up towards south from the path by the Kavuşuk Boğazı. The steep pathway in Clidre (modern Çillidere) valley is more suitable for descent. It is also possible to reach the area from the Adrasan cove. The ruins on Musa Mountain are found on the eastern side. The settlement is surrounded with walls and towers, in particular on the side overlooking Adrasan. It is possible to identify other examples of such Hellenistic period walls in the region. In the western part accessible from the Yaylacık area, there are burial chambers built from cut stone. Proceeding southeast from here, one reaches the urban remains, which are mostly built with isodomic and pseudo-isodomic masonry.

 In the centre of the remains is the agora measuring 60x80 m. (Fig. 6) and built from cut stones. The gates to the northwest and southeast open onto streets. On the west there are shops, on the east is a stoa and there is an exedra in the eastern corner. In the middle there are three deep conical cisterns cut into the bedrock.

Civilian Byzantine Structure in the Southern Part of the City:
About 40 m. southeast of the basilica there is a rectangular, almost square, structure with its entrance on the west side. The massive walls are built from regular courses of rubble and grey mortar containing lime. There is one loophole window on the west, three more on the east and two in the southern wall. Inside there is a wall starting from the western wall and stretching toward the northeast, joining the bedrock in places. This wall has an organic connection to the small rectangular room to the west of the entrance. The entrance to this small room is also on the south and at an angle with the entrance of the main hall. On the street side of the southwest corner of the room there is a buttress rising to a height of 70-80 cm. and built from regular courses of rubble. This would have been built in order to make the street narrower rather than being related to the structure. A complex of three square and rectangular rooms that extend parallel to this structure, form a street between them. The surface finds in this area date to the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods.

 The storehouse is located to the east of the Byzantine shops and to the west of the vaulted Byzantine structure, comprising two rooms with niches, in the southeast part of the city. Extending on the same axis as the street where the Byzantine shops open, this structure has two entrances on the north wall. The upper parts of the jambs and the lintel of the first doorway have fallen down while the second doorway remains intact. The masonry employed is pseudo-isodomic. There is an inscription on the entranceway and a total of 11 blocks bearing the inscription can be seen.

The Chapel:
Located to the south of the agora, in the southwest part of the city there is a chapel built from fine and coarse cut stones. It has a single doorway and its apse is semicircular both inside and out. Among the debris inside are fragments of balustrades and columns. A column fragment in situ located at the bema, which was exposed through illegal looting excavations, suggests the former presence of a baldachin here. There is a second apse encircling the former and forming a corridor between them. The relation of the second apse with the structure is not clear as it does not connect to it. There are a few traces of paint on the second apse. In front of the chapel there is a well, set in a square-shaped platform, slightly raised from the ground. On the southwest wall of the chapel there are pieces of architectural sculpture, possibly gathered here by previous researchers; the styles, motifs and rendering of these fragments indicate a date probably in the Middle Byzantine period. Scattered about there is a portable altar base, a Stone object for ritual purposes and another cylindrical Stone object.

Describing the fortress of Zeniketes on Olympos Mountain, Strabo states, ‘all of Lycia, Pamphylia and Milyas can be seen from here’, and this phrase perfectly fits the area dominated by this settlement. Based upon the available information, this settlement on Musa Mountain can be considered to have been connected to Olympos during the Hellenistic period. On the other hand, the lower Olympos should have functioned as the harbour for this settlement. It is thought that the Olympians moved gradually down to the harbour area, following the defeat of Zeniketes, but this upper settlement was never entirely abandoned.

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