Only eleven days until travel and digging resumes for the 2013 season. This year we will be working on the agora it seems, shop complex and mosaic so you are bound to see lots of photos and interesting reports from this years season. So here is some background information on this amazing site where we will be digging and translating.
Excavations are currently being undertaken by the Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project headed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the area of Rough Cilicia in modern Turkey. The excavation site of Antiochia ad Cragum (Αντιόχεια Κράγου) is located about 8 miles to the East of the modern town of Gazipaşa, in the area of the village of Guney. Over the centuries, Antiochia ad Cragum has also been known by the names of Antiochetta and Antiochia Parva which basically translates to ‘little Antiochia’. The additional name ‘ad Cragum’ comes from the site’s position on the steep cliffs (Cragum) overlooking the Mediterranean coast in Southern Anatolia. The site covers an area of around three hectares and contains the remains of baths, market places, colonnaded streets with a gateway, an early Christian basilica, monumental tombs, a temple, and several unidentified buildings. The city itself was built on the sloping ground that comes down from the Taurus Mountain range which terminates at the shore creating steep cliffs; in some places several hundred metres high. The temple complex is situated on the highest point of the city and most of the building material remains though in a collapsed state. There is also evidence of a gymnasium complex nearby.
The harbour at Antiochia ad Cragum measures about 250,000m squared and is one of the few large, safe harbours along the coast East of Alanya. On its Eastern side are two small coves suitable for one or two ships but with limited opportunity for shipping and fishing due to wave activities. The area is well situated as a defensible position against invaders. Recent terrestrial survey at Antiochia ad Cragum has had emphasis on finding evidence of pirate activity which has been limited, but it has turned up pottery principally from the Byzantine Period with additional pottery from the late Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Thirty stone weights and anchors have been uncovered, alongside lead stocks from wooden anchors and almost twenty iron anchors representing the early Roman through Ottoman periods. There is little evidence of pre-Roman occupation at the fortress or pirate’s cove at Antiochia ad Cragum. Banana terracing may have caused much of the evidence to have been erased. The maritime survey has turned up shipping jars, transport amphoraes and anchors from the Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic periods as well as a range of miscellaneous items. It is not possible to date the stone weights and anchors at present, but further research may assist in their analysis. Many of them are small and likely to represent local fishing activities over a long period of time. The assemblage appears to indicate early activity to the West of the harbor moving East over time. Access to the site these days is through the Guney village grave yard and past the old school house which is now used as the excavation’s artefact and equipment house.
History of the Site
The city of Antiochia ad Cragum was officially founded by Antiochis IV around 170 BC when he came to rule over Rough Cilicia. The site and its harbor likely served as one of the many havens for Cilician pirates along the South Anatolian coast, this is because of its small coves and hidden inlets. Unfortunately no definite pirate related artefacts or buildings are visible in the modern day. Antiochia ad Cragum’s pirate past ended with Pompey’s victory in the first century BC and the takeover of Antiochia IV. Initial occupation appears to have occurred in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, followed by a surge of activity in the Roman periods. The area of Antiochia ad Cragum is also neighboured by a citadel on the Western peninsula which was built by Armenian princes and a well-preserved necropolis on the South-Eastern peninsula.
Pompey ended the pirate menace in 67 AD with a naval victory at nearby Korakesion, modern day Alanya. The emperor Gaius gave control of Rough Cilicia after this episode to the client king of Rome, Antiochis IV of Commagene around AD 38 and later in 41 AD under Claudius. After Pompey’s victory he founded and named Antiochia after himself but was removed by Vespasian in 72 AD. With this later change of control, Antiochia ad Cragum and the rest of Rough Cilicia fell under direct Roman rule as part of the enlarged Roman province of Cilicia. The numismatic evidence left at the site shows that there was a working mint at Antiochia for several centuries after the Roman takeover. One coin dates from 139-161 AD and reads of Marcus Aurelius as Caesar on the obverse with a nude male god holding a long sceptre and a mantle over his shoulder. Other coins from Antiochia ad Cragum date from the mid-third century AD, with examples detailing Philip I and Trajan Decius.
History of Excavations
The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project (ACARP) was founded by Professor Michael Hoff from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Rhys Townsend from Clark University in 2005. ACARP started off as a facet of the regional survey, the Rough Cilicia Archaeological Survey Project (RCASP) which ran under the field direction of Nicholas Rauh of Purdue University. The aim of RCASP was to document and record the physical remains of the major cities and minor sites within the survey zone, this zone included the site of Antiochia ad Cragum. The members of the RCASP research team have already prepared and published a number of publications detailing the progress of the survey.
In the summer of 2005 Hoff and Townsend formed the separate project at Antiochia ad Cragum with the collaboration of architectural engineer Ece Erdoğmuş who is also from the University of Nebraska. Originally the project at Antiochia ad Cragum began operating under the aegis of the local archaeological museum in Alanya. But in 2008 it was granted a full excavation permit by the Archaeological Directorate of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Professor Hoff is a professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he has been since 1989. Hoff specializes in Greek and Roman archaeology. Townsend is a lecturer with the Department of Visual and Performing Arts in the Art History Program at Clark University.
The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project has several goals which will hopefully be achieved in the next few years. The project will be pioneering in architectural and archaeological studies in Rough Cilicia. The main goal is the restoration of the temple to a sufficient point. The temple reconstruction is a huge work in progress as currently the project does not know how much of the architecture can be reused. This will not be determined until the marble blocked have been removed to the adjacent block fields, cleaned and repaired. After this has been achieved and the podium of the temple has been completely revealed and assessed, then the extent of the restoration can be determined and a full and detailed plan for restoration can be submitted to the Preservation Board of Historical Buildings in Antalya. This plan and its subsequent approval will be needed before final submission to the Ministry of Culture in Ankara for actual permission to carry out restoration.
The goals for the temple are shared by the local governmental authorities and the Ministry of Culture in a collaboration involving archaeologists, engineers, authorities and preservation officials. There is also a huge collaboration with the local villagers who reap many of the benefits of the excavations. They receive short-term employment opportunities as workers and guards on site and also long-term economic gain and education from the project. The site foreman who looks after the site year round is also a prominent member of the local community in the village of Guney and banana grower.
The first full season of digging at Antiochia ad Cragum began in 2005 and began by documenting the temple’s remains by surveying every block in situ with a total station. Two-hundred and seventy blocks were recorded which will be used to create an accurate plan of the blocks and their find spots. This allowed the researchers to determine the basic structure of the temple and some of the decoration and moulding that originally were associated into the structure. At this point, the dedicatee of the temple was unknown but bust remains suggest possibly Apollo or an Imperial personage. The 2005 season hypothesized that the temple belonged to the first half of the third century AD.
The 2007 and 2008 seasons of the excavation saw a total of four-hundred and ten blocks catalogued, almost 50% of the material of the collapsed structure. In 2008, the excavation team used Ground Penetrating Radar to survey for underground features. This first focused on the block field to make sure they were free of anomalies. The GPR unit was also used to survey the top of the temple platform and it indicated the presence of an intact arched vault underneath the stone platform. This chamber was already suspected because temples nearby at Selinus and Nephelion include the same form of feature. Additionally Professor Erdoğmuş began analysis of the block and lime mortar on site in order to gather authentic materials and assess the condition of the existing materials for the restoration process.
The 2009 season saw the team continue the architectural block recording and removal as well as remote sensing and excavation. The architectural block removal focused on the western and southern quadrants of the collapsed temple with refined documentation and photographic techniques. The blocks were removed with the help of a local crane operator who became adept at carefully lifting the ancient material. By the end of the season there was three block fields being used and four-hundred and thirty-four blocks successfully moved and five-hundred and forty-six blocks catalogued with almost half drawn. This has left three sides of the temple cleared with the east side still to be cleared. GPR was also used to scan the suspected vaulted chamber. 2009 excavations of the deposits under the platform allowed further scans to be undertaken and further indication of the vaulted chamber. Fiberscopic Remote Inspection equipment was also utilized to investigate the original structural and architectural designs of the temple. Several cavities were investigated but unfortunately none allowed for deep probing.
The excavations focused on the temple mound in 2009 starting with two small trenches (001 and 002) in the northern quadrant. Trench 001 revealed a long wall running parallel to the cella wall alongside the Eastern side of the temple podium. Much pottery and a frieze fragment was uncovered as well as a decorated columnar drum fragment. Trench 002 revealed little information concerning post-antique usage of the structure. Thick marble fragments of a floor were uncovered in both trenches 001 and 002. The suspected chamber vault’s entrance remained undiscovered after no evidence of an internal staircase was found. A trench 003 was also excavated to probe the exterior rear façade of the temple. Excavation through the fill around the temple revealed no discernible stratigraphy. Trench 003 also revealed the top of the base moulding of the temple supporting a large orthostate course.
Erdogmus, E., Buckley, C.M., and H.Brink, ‘The Temple of Antioch: A Study of Abroad Internship for Architectural Engineering Students’, AEI 2011: Building Integration Solutions: Proceedings of the 2011 Architectural Engineering National Conference, March 30 – April 2, 2011, (Oakland, 2011), 1-9
Hoff, M., “Interdisciplinary Assessment of a Roman Temple: Antiochia ad Kragos (Gazipasha, Turkey),” (with E. Erdogmus, R. Townsend, and S. Türkmen) in A. Görün, ed., Proceedings of the International Symposium on Studies on Historical Heritage, September 2007, Antalya, Turkey (Istanbul 2007) 163–70.
Hoff, M., “Bath Architecture of Western Rough Cilicia,” in Hoff and Townsend, eds. Rough Cilicia, New Historical and Archaeological Approaches. An International Symposium held at the University of Nebraska, October 2007 (Oxford 2011) 12 page ms; forthcoming.
Hoff, M., “Lamos in Rough Cilicia: An Architectural Survey,” (with R. Townsend) Olba 17. Proceedings of the IVth International Symposium on Cilician Archaeology, Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey, June 4–6, 2007 (Mersin 2009) 1-22.
Hoff, M., “Life in the Truck Lane: Urban Development in Western Rough Cilicia,” (with N. Rauh, R. Townsend, M. Dillon, M. Doyle, C. Ward, R. Rothaus, H. Caner, U. Akkemik, L. Wandsnider, S. Ozaner, and C. Dore) Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes in Wien (JÖAI) 78 (2009) 169 page ms; forthcoming.
Hoff, M., “Rough Cilicia Archaeological Project: 2005 Season,” (with Rhys Townsend and Ece Erdogmus) 24. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (24th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium). Turkish Ministry of Culture (Ankara 2007) 231–44.
Hoff, M., “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2009 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 8 (2010) 9-13.
Hoff, M., “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2008 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), 27. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (27th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium).Turkish Ministry of Culture, Ankara 2009 (with R. Townsend and E. Erdogmus) 461-70.
Hoff, M., “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2008 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 7 (2009) 6-11.
Hoff, M., “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2007 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), 25. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (25th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium). Turkish Ministry of Culture (Ankara 2009) 95-102.
Hoff, M., “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2007 Season,” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend, S. Türkmen) Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 6 (2008) 95-99.
Hoff, M., “The Rough Cilicia Archaeological Project: 2005 Season,” (with Rhys Townsend and Ece Erdogmus) Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 4 (2006) 99–104.
Hoff, M. and R. Townsend, eds. Rough Cilicia. New Historical and Archaeological Approaches. An International Symposium held at the University of Nebraska, October 2007 (Oxford 2011) forthcoming.
Marten, M.G., ‘Spatial and Temporal Analyses of the Harbor at Antiochia ad Cragum’ (2005) Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations Paper 2715
Turner, C.H., ‘Canons Attributed to the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, Together with the Names of the Bishops, from Two Patmos MSS POB’ POG’ ’, The Journal of Theological Studies (1914) M: 72
 I’d like to thank Professor Michael Hoff of the University of Nebraska for the permission and freedom to write articles based on the excavations which are due to be published this year, in addition to Associate Professor Birol Can of Ataturk University for his kind permission to publish information on the mosaic and current excavations being undertaken by Ataturk University at Antiochia ad Cragum.
 Marten, M.G., ‘Spatial and Temporal Analyses of the Harbor at Antiochia ad Cragum’ (2005) Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations Paper 2715: 5
 Marten 2005: 63-68
 Marten 2005: 43, 50
 Marten2005: 43
 Marten 2005: 56, fig. 4.2 – Antiochia ad Cragum Artifact Distribution
 Antiocheia (AD 139-161) AE 26 – Marcus Aurelius 100 views Marcus Aurelius as Caesar, 139-161 AD. AE26 (10.40g). ΑΥΡΗΛΙΟC ΚΑΙCΑΡ, head right / ΑΝΤΙΟΧЄΩΝ Τ-ΗC ΠΑΡΑΛΙΟΥ, nude male god holding long scepter, mantle over shoulder. Nice green patina, VF.
 Antiocheia (AD 244-249) AE 29 – Philip I58 views Philip I, 244-249 AD. AE29 (13.00g). Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right / ANTIOXЄωN THC ΠAPAΛIOV, eagle on wreath. Very fine; Antiocheia (AD 249-251) AE 26 – Trajan Decius279 viewsTrajan Decius, 249-251 AD. AE26 (7.83g). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Eagle standing facing on wreath, head left. Good VF, jade green patina.
 “Rough Cilicia Archaeological Project: 2005 Season,” (with Rhys Townsend and Ece Erdogmus) 24. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (24th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium). Turkish Ministry of Culture (Ankara 2007): 231–44.
 Project Sponsors include: National Science Foundation, Loeb Classical Library Foundation, Harvard University, Research Council, University of Nebraska, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Nebraska, College of Fine and Performing Arts, University of Nebraska, Dean’s Office, Clark University
 “The Rough Cilicia Archaeological Project: 2005 Season,” (with Rhys Townsend and Ece Erdogmus) Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 4 (2006): 99–104; “Rough Cilicia Archaeological Project: 2005 Season,” (with Rhys Townsend and Ece Erdogmus) 24. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (24th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium). Turkish Ministry of Culture (Ankara 2007): 231–44.
 “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2007 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), 25. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (25th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium). Turkish Ministry of Culture (Ankara 2009): 95-102.
 “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2008 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), 27. Arastirma Sonuçlari Toplantisi (27th Annual Archaeological Survey Symposium).Turkish Ministry of Culture, Ankara 2009 (with R. Townsend and E. Erdogmus): 461-70
 “The Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project: Northeast Temple 2009 Season” (with E. Erdogmus and R. Townsend), Anadolu Akdenizi Arkeoloji Haberleri (ANMED) 8 (2010): 9-13.
- Late Roman mosaic at Antiochia ad Cragum (adrianmurdoch.typepad.com)
- Excavation Projects in Ancient Corinth (greece.greekreporter.com)
- Roman-era mosaic tiles found in Milas (worldbulletin.net)
Awesome! I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the brilliant blogger Kelly M, author of the blog The Archaeology of Tomb Raider. It is now with great pleasure that I nominate 12 other blogs and bloggers for the award. Full details on this award can be found on its website. This is also an excellent chance to share with you some of the fabulous history, archaeology and literary blogs out there.
Here are my nominations, in no particular order:
- Nyssa Harkness – Nyssa writes some wonderful and analytic material on media and cultural studies with a focus on genre fiction, gaming and creative society. She also knows more about zombies than anyone else I know.
- Writ, Ritual, and Revelation – Pasha runs this blog providing her readers with a flashlight into the Attic of her mind. A personal venture which is psychologically and culturally interesting and full of pretty artwork and creative insight.
- Classically Inclined – Liz is the author of this fairly new blog. She writes excellent guides to help out classics students on how to write and also insightful posts into archaeology.
- Following Hadrian – This blog is a personal story of adventure by the author as they talk about their archaeological digs and various beautiful sites around the world in connection with Hadrian. It is particularly easy to read and full of enthusiasm.
- Bones Don’t Lie – Katy’s work is a wonderful and educational array of anthropology and bioarchaeology. She takes great care in appealing to the general public and academics alike.
- Digitised Diseases – This blog I recently discovered and it provides an excellent introduction to the laymen. The author is informative and shows a clinical understanding of chronic conditions affecting the skeleton using archaeological and historical exemplars.
- History Kicks Ass! – The author Nadine is an enthusiastic blogger who adds her own touch of humour with a great knowledge of the historical.
- Digging Anthropology – This blog is a record of archaeology and anthropological venture at Ferry Farm. A recent blog but doing a fantastic job at showing the public what archaeologists and anthropologists really do.
- Archaeology Fantasies – The authors of this blog do an intelligent job of showing where archaeology and realities meet. They show and transmit an understanding of concepts and themes in archaeology which is interesting and enthused.
- History of the Ancient World – this blog has won awards before and remains a classic blog for the general enthusiast of history. It is particularly good with introductory information on historic topics.
- Adventures in Archaeology, Human Palaeoecology and the Internet – Matthew writes a diverse blog which particularly promotes discussion and sharing of ideas on many topics.
- The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World – The author’s musings on archaeology, technology, teaching and history are practical and well-written. They do particularly well in remaining interesting to all but also academic.
If you’ve been nominated for the award and wish to join in the fun, you will need to:
- Thank the person who nominated you this award and include a link back to their blog.
- Select 15 awesome blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
- Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award (if possible, include a link to the website so that others can learn more about the award)
- Share 7 facts about yourself.
- Optional: You’re free to add the Versatile Blogger Award button to your blog if you’re one of the 15 nominees and have nominated 15 blogs of your own. Just save the image below, upload it to your blog, insert it in your blog post and/or menu, and add a link back to the Versatile Blogger Award website.
And, last but not least, here are seven facts about yours truly:
- Well as it has taken over my life it is first fair to mention that I am a PhD candidate who is in their last year of study. Hopefully will have it all completed by the end of the year, fingers crossed! My PhD is on the epigraphic evidence for healer women in ancient Greece and Anatolia and I’m fortunate in that I have incredible support and have managed to get several publications out into the world. I also teach Ancient Greek and mythology at my university where I have a great contingent of students.
- Part of that incredible support is my wonderful partner who I also work alongside in archaeology. We met on an archaeological dig in Turkey in 2012 and started a long distance relationship which has been getting stronger by the day. We are now looking into me moving to America to join him at the end of the year. He is (in his own words) the ‘pillar that holds up the earth’. 😛
- Travel and archaeology have always fascinated me. Part of this is due to having lived in four different countries by the age of 15 and having been dragged, quite willingly, all around the world by my intrepid parents. Having been born in England, we went through Scotland and New Zealand before settling in Australia. They are now secretly regretting this a little bit because it meant I had little issue with making the decision of moving to America.
- I did my first paid archaeology job when I was 17 instead of celebrating end of high school exams like everyone else. It ended up being the best thing I ever did and I haven’t stopped since. This year marks the tenth dig season I have participated in in less that 7 years. Digs I have worked on sites in Greece, Scotland, Turkey and Australia.
- Apart from history and archaeology, I have an avid love for science fiction, especially Doctor Who. I am rather a Doctor Who snob knowing more about the Classic and Current series than anyone I have ever met having watched them from when I was a baby onwards. My best geeky party trick is naming all doctors and companions in order from 1963 to 2013 without thinking about it. I am also a huge fan of Star Trek, Stargate and Battlestar Galactica.
- I have two doglets who are currently keeping my feet warm. They are the cutest things in the world and are border collies.
- My favourite form of exercise is a form of aerial acrobatics called pole fitness which I do several hours a week. People sometimes question it due to stripper connotations but it is so much fun and the best work out ever. Plus there are no boys allowed and it is part of the international Bodybuilding Federation.
PS. Visit the Versatile Blogger Award’s website if you need any more information about the award or rules and don’t forget to let me know who you’ve nominated. You can do so by leaving a link to your blog post in the comments section below.
In antiquity, apart from thieves, tombs were also damaged by people of low economic conditions. While thieves damaged tombs for burial gifts and the clothing of the dead, some people opened tombs of strangers to bury members of their own families or dismantled them in order to use pieces to make a new tomb. Grave monuments were also damaged to make milestones and to use in constructing walls, especially in late antiquity. There were two ways in antiquity to prevent violations of graves: fining and cursing.
To discourage people from violating tombs, fines were determined to be paid to the treasury of the city. To enhance the discouragement, the amount would be high, and it was legally determined to pay a part of it to the informer who reported the culprit to the authorities.
On the other hand, curses were common maledictions used by the public, addressing the person with the potential of damaging the tomb, warning the violator of the misfortunes that would happen to him. These curses were added to the end of the grave inscriptions by the owner of the tomb. Protecting graves via curses has a long history in the Near East and Anatolia. According to the religious beliefs of Anatolians on death and the afterlife, the body of the dead person that has said good bye to this world physically continued to live in the other world, and for his feelings and desires which continue also in this afterlife he needs a refuge that he would not want to share with others.
In the curses it is wished that the wraith of the gods should be directed onto the violator through disasters such as painful or untimely death, living pain because of family perishing, the house perishing as a result of fire, the children becoming orphans, epidemics, blindness, becoming disabled, etc. The power of the mechanism of punishment that starts after the violation is committed is hidden in the words incised on the grave monument.
Inv. 1225 T from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums reads:
“Nicephoros, son of Moschion (made) (this grave) for his wife Glyconis and in his own memory while still alive: if anyone buries another body (here) without my permission, he will pay 2500 denarii to the city and will be responsible for the crime of grave robbery.”
(GRAVE STELE OF NICEPHOROS AND GLYCONIS, Marble, Conane (Gonen, Bahkesir), Roman Period, end of 2nd , beginning of 3rd C AD)
When we geographically proportion the grave inscriptions with curses, it is observed that the majority are from Phrygia, especially in the provincial areas of the region, where Phrygians, who had been away from the influence of Hellenization, lived. Comparing Phrygia with the other areas of Anatolia, it is observed that such curses diminish in number in those areas.
As a result of the hardships felt in the lives of the public through the crises of the 3rd century AD and in relation with the decrease in the trust for the establishment of justice because of these crises, especially effected Anatolian villages had an increased need for grave curses under this negative socio-economic condition. It is observed that curses on the grave stelae and sarcophagi with rich and large decorations were mostly used by people who had affluence in society, especially Roman citizens. Rather insignificant in number, there are also a few examples belonging to slaves and intellectuals. Such protective precautions of pagan origin have also been adopted by Christian and Jewish communities and found place on their grave stelae as well.
(Thank you to Istanbul Archaeological Museum for input and photos on recent expedition)
- A Roman Curse Tablet from Kent (and a Phylactery from West Deeping) (rogueclassicism.com)
- Roman Curse Scroll Unearthed (socyberty.com)
- Roman Curses Appear on Ancient Tablet (news.discovery.com)
- Roman Curse Tablet from Kent Followup (rogueclassicism.com)
- Roman Curses Appear on Ancient Tablet (sott.net)
The first weekend of the dig and now I have an opportunity to explore the world of Ancient Anatolia. So first stop: Side!
Side (Σίδη) (meaning pomegranate) is located in the region of Pamphylia in Anatolia and one of the first things you notice on arrival is that modern Side is a tourist town. But it is also one of the best preserved classical sites in Turkey. The ancient city of Side is found on a small peninsula measuring about 1km by 400m, so it is not a particularly big site.
Strabo tells us that the city of Side was founded around the seventh century BC by Greek colonisers from Kyme in Aeolis. The natural geography of the area made it an ideal place for trade and a harbour in Anatolia. Arrian tells us that the colonisers did not understand the dialect of the locals indicating that the area was already inhabited. Arrian asserts that the indigenous language had a strong influence though and gradually became the primary language in Side. This is seen in several of the inscriptions uncovered at the site in the local tongue. The Hittites also have connections to the area as attested to other artefacts found such as a basalt column base.
Side has a history of great influence and personality. In 333 BC, Alexander the Great occupied the site and introduced the population to Hellenistic culture which became the dominate tradition until the first century BC. Ptolemy later overtook the site when he declared himself king of Egypt in 305BC. Side stayed under Ptolemaic control until it was captured by the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd Century BC. Side was freed from the control of the Seleucid Empire after the defeat of Hannibal and Antiochus the Great. Despite conflicts and changes in control, Side remained prosperous and even minted its own money from 188 BC to the end of the 1st century BC. In the 1st century BC, Side also became an important base for the Cilician pirates and their slave trade and profited from this. With the defeat of the pirates, Side fell under the control of Rome and became part of the Roman Empire! Side began to decline around the 4th century AD with an influx from mountain invaders. It had prosperity on and off through the next few centuries before being abandoned around the 12thcentury.
It is a site with a long history which has left behind it numerous buildings and ruins for us archaeology and history fanatics to explore. The most complete of the ruins at Side is the Theatre complex which is the largest in the region in the Roman style. It could seat around fifteen thousand people and was converted into an open-air sanctuary with two chapels during the Byzantine Era. The seats still contain the inscriptions of names of patrons and on occasion shows are still shown there. The city walls also still remain alongside the Hellenistic main gate. There are colonnaded streets with many of the marble columns still standing and many others nearby. The local museum is the remains of the public bath house and elsewhere the agora and temple of Tyche still are visible from the second century BC. There are also the remains of a Byzantine hospital and a Basilica and three temples. An aqueduct (probably supplied by bringing water from the Melas river) and nymphaeum (an elaborate fountain building spanning three-stories and decorated with marble reliefs) can also be seen in a fair state of preservation near the city gates.
The state Agora is still visible within the sand dunes of the Eastern beach at Side. It is an amazing site surrounded by columns which held a giant cross in the centre during the Byzantine period. It would have been decorated by copies of Greek statues, some of which remain on display in the Side Museum. There may have also once been a library of this site. The ancient harbour was constructed during the Hellenistic period and is located on the south east part of the peninsula next to the temples of Athena and Apollo which are still standing in part on the beaches of Side.
We also were fortunate to have the chance to visit the Museum at Side which as I said is located in what was once a fifth century bath complex. The range of statues and coins in addition to the gardens, view and collection of inscriptions was wonderful. The statues are well-preserved and the inscriptions well cared for and readable. There are also interesting reliefs of the Sidetan victory over an army from Pergamum in the second century BC and a number of ornate sarcophagi recovered from Side’s necropolis which is now no more. There are a number of amphorae which have been recovered from the waters around Side and some fragmented displays of the Sidetan language which I mentioned previously, which remain undeciphered. So I will have to put that in my diary to do sometime after my PhD.
Archaeologists from Turkey continue to excavate the site today since 1947. The archaeology department from the Anatolian University currently continues excavations at Side. One hundred archaeologists in 2012 are being led by Professor Huseyin Alanyali in order to preserve and restore sites. They will be continuing work on the temple of Apollo, the temple of Type, the temple of Dionysis, the temple of Athena, and a basilica. So there work is really cut out for them. Unfortunately because of excavations I couldn’t visit the site of the temple of Apollo when we visited but they look like they are doing some excellent work. There is also a team of fifteen archaeologists being led by Professor Peter Scherrer from the archaeology department of the Austrian Graz University who will be working alongside Turkish archaeologists in the Eastern side of the site.
So that is Side. Next site: Lamos, up a very big hill…
- Archaeology Travel Blog: Selinus and Antiochia ad Cragum! (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Hellenistic Harbor Found in Israel (news.discovery.com)
- Piracy in the Ancient Mediterranean (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- A hotel? An archaeology site? Or both? (worldnews.nbcnews.com)
- Turkey to create world’s largest museum of civilizations (english.pravda.ru)
- Ritual bath allegedly discovered under Temple Mount – in 1927 (israelhayom.com)
- Archaeologists Discover Military Harbor of Ancient City of Akko (sci-news.com)
Cilicia in Anatolia has an ancient history involving pirates and plunder; though likely no pirates like Johnny Depp. Mores the pity. So let us continue research into the area by having a look at piracy in the Ancient Mediterranean.
The ancient origins of piracy are still seen clearly in the modern world. The term ‘pirate’ has its roots in the Greek word πειράομαι meaning ‘I attempt’ which developed into πειρατής meaning ‘Brigand’ (LSJ: brigand, Plb.4.3.8, LXX Jb. 16.10(9); esp. pirate, Plb.4.6.1, Supp.Epigr.3.378B11 (Delph., ii/i B.C.), Str. 14.3.2, Plu.Luc.2,13). πειρατής developed into the Latin term ‘pirata’ and then into the English term ‘pirate’. But while the modern view of pirates is quite romanticised the reality was quite different in the beginning.
Piracy in the ancient Mediterranean stemmed from a necessity based on conditions of the coastlines of Anatolia. The shorelines were unsuitable for agriculture and large populations and the people who did live there were of humble means. These peoples turned to fishing as a primary industry and when this wasn’t enough to support them, the men turned to piracy. As such, piracy was often ambiguously differentiated from trade industries; it was the industry of the ancient Mediterranean. The earliest documents detailing the turn to piracy are in reference to the notorious Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and the Mediterranean in around the fourteenth century BC.
The most famous of these pirates were the Illyrians and the Tyrrhenians who were often generalised as races of pirates. These were accompanied by the Greek and Roman pirates who appear around Cilicia. The Illyrians raided the Adriatic Sea frequently and caused multiple conflicts in the time of the Roman Republic. The Phoenicians were also known to commit acts of piracy in connection to the Slave trade. With time, the pirates of the Mediterranean became more organised and formed companies derived from their ancient seafaring traditions. The Egyptians often had clashes with these Sea Peoples who they referred to as the ‘Nine Bows’. Some of these pirates were Egyptian subordinates such as escaped Hebrews who were known as the Habiru. The Egyptians also dealt with the Tjeker people from Crete and the earliest known pirate companies, the Lukka and the Sherden. The Lukka and Sherden are mentioned in the Amarna letters detailing the correspondence between the king of Babylon to Pharaoh Amenhotep.
The Hellenistic period saw a rise in piracy following the death of Alexander Great and the issues that followed concerning succession. This created what could be deemed as endemic in Cilicia and the rest of the Southern Anatolia of piracy. During this period there was a popular use of a boat called the Lembus among pirates which was a small and fast ship built to zip in and out of small inlets and attack bigger vessels before disappearing before they could be caught. In the third century BC there was a pirate attack on Olympos in Anatolia which caused much devastating.
The second century BC saw the Roman’s ending the threat of the Illyrians by finally conquering Illyria and making it a Roman province. But piracy continued along the Anatolian coastline into the first century BC. Plutarch tells the story in his Parallel Lives that in 75 BC Julius Caesar was kidnapped for thirty-eight days by Cilician pirates and held in the Dodecanese islet of Pharmacusa to the south west of Anatolia. The Cilician pirates originally are said to have demanded a ransom of twenty talents of gold but this was raised to fifty talents on the word of Caesar himself that he was worth at least Fifty. This ransom was payed and Caesar was released but then he turned on the pirates, pursued and crucified them.
The Roman period saw several changes in the history of Mediterranean piracy starting in 67 BC when Rome’s port of Ostia was attacked and set on fire by pirates and two of its most prominent senators were kidnapped. By the Roman period the general feeling towards pirates was of fear and distrust and this event was the final straw and Rome started to fight seriously against them. This led to piracy being completely outlawed so the pirates could no longer benefit from the slave trade and instead turned to heavy ransoming. An anti-piracy law was proposed by Aulus Gabinius and pirates were declared communes hostes gentium ‘enemies of all mankind’. And the Lex Gabinia granted Pompey the Great unprecedented authority which was a conflicting decision as it allowed Pompey full access to the Roman treasury.
Pompey the Great organised the raiding of the remaining pirate strongholds in the Mediterranean including in Cilicia, Crete, Illyria and Delos. The most interesting act that Pompey implemented was one of clemency. Though thousands of pirates died in the raids, those that surrendered were given pardon and reward. Reward involves the movement of the pirates from the sea to the land and the establishment of them in honest and innocent courses of life. This was the most successful method of fighting against piracy in the Roman period but piracy never completely died out. In fact, in the first century AD it morphed into an idea close to privateering in some areas.
There were a number of pirate threats in later centuries including the attacks of the Gothic-Herulic fleet which ravaged the coast of the Black sea and the Sea of Marmara around 258 AD. And there were attacks by the Goths around 264 AD also in Galatia and Cappadocia, Cyprus and Crete. The fall of the Roman Empire around the fifth century AD saw a renewal of pirate activity which continued through to the middle ages.
While piracy is generally viewed as malevolent, several ancient texts were in part sympathetic to it and describe it in a way that deemed it almost honourable. Homer for instance makes it a normal occurrence in his Iliad and Odyssey. And Plutarch tells us that piracy became not just an occupation of poor and desperate men but rather a glorious expedition for those of high status seeking further advancement and adventure. It seems in part that the ancients romanticised the concept of piracy as much as the modern mind does.
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Gabbert, Janice J. “Piracy in the Early Hellenistic Period: A Career Open to Talents”, Greece & Rome 33.2) (October 1986)): 156-63.
DeSouza, Philip. Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Semple, Ellen Churchill. ‘”Pirate Coasts of the Mediterranean Sea”. Geographical Review 2.2 (August 1916): 134-51. 135.
Kitchen, Kenneth. “Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, King of Egypt.” Aris & Phillips, 1982: 40-41.
MØller, BjØrn. “Piracy, Maritime Terrorism and Naval Strategy.” Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, November 16, 2008. 10.
Woudhuizen, Frederik Christiaan. “The Ethnicity of Sea Peoples.” dissertation; Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, April 2006. 107.
Dell, Harry J. 1967. The Origin and Nature of Illyrian Piracy. Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte 16, (3) (Jul.): 344-58. 345.
- Ancient Sites of Cilicia, Anatolia: Part 1 (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Sites of Cilicia, Anatolia: Part 2 (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Travelling the Ancient Mediterranean (wonderingpilgrim.com)
- Ancient Roman Shipwrecks: Greece Says Mediterranean’s Deepest Rome-Era Wrecks Found (huffingtonpost.com)
- Officials: 2 Roman wrecks found nearly a mile deep off western Greece (foxnews.com)
- Antiochia ad Cragum: Archaeology Blog 2013 (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
The wonderful thing about Cilicia is the pure number of fantastic sites that exist. So here is the second part of my preliminary research into sites in Cilicia in Anatolia.
If you haven’t already read PART 1 I suggest you start there 🙂
Evidence of occupation for Adana dates as far back as the Neolithic period and is considered to be the oldest city in the region. The city was of minor importance in the Roman Period but was used during the period of Pompey as a prison for the pirates of Cilicia. It also acted as a way station for troops of the Roman military heading eastwards. It split from the Roman Empire in 395 AD and received some development during the time of Julian the Apostate. Construction included large bridges, roads, government buildings and irrigation systems which allowed Adana to function more securely as an important trade centre.
Campestris is located in the area of modern Mopsuestia, 20 km east of Antiochia ad Cragum. Its foundations are said to lie in the legend of the soothsayer Mopsus who lived there before the Trojan War. Pliny the Elder mentions the city as Mopsos in 5.22. It was named thus also by Stephanus of Byzantium and the Christian geographers. In the Seleucid Period it took the name Seleucia on the Pyramus and then in the Roman conquest it was named under Hadrian as Hadriana and under Decius as Decia.
Its main history lies in the Byzantine Period when Constantius II built a magnificent bridge over the Pyramus which was later restored by Justinian as told by Procopius. Christianity was introduced to the city in the third century AD and its association with Christianity continued until it was taken over by the Arabs and became Islam. Forts were also constructed in this period. Efforts were made by the Byzantines to re-Christianise the city in the eleventh century.
Anazarbus is also known as Ain Zarba, and is located in the present Cukurova. It is famous as the treasure city in the wars of Eumenes of Cardia as expressed by Suda but this claim is likely false in light of Strabo’s ideas. In the Roman period it was know as Caesarea and was part of Cilicia Secunda. It was rebuilt by Justin I in the 6th century and was thus renamed Justinopolis. Archaeological remains include a triumphal arch and colonnades of two streets, a gymnasium and a stadium and theatre. Acropolis fortifications also remain and the ruins of two churches, a gatehouse, and keep built by Thoros I in the twelve century. Aqueducts and a necropolis also remain.
Nephelium/Nephelion is located in the area of modern day Muzkent about 38km WNW of Anemurium on the coast at the foot of Mount Cragus. Nephelium is mentioned by Ptolemy and in the Stadiasmus maris magni. It was at one point the seat of a bishopric atthe council of Calchedon in 451 AD.
Antiochia ad Cragum:
And finally to the most important site, well to me because this is where my dig is. Antiochia ad Cragum has also been called Antiochetta and Antiohia Parva which basically translate to ‘little Antiochia’. Its name ‘Cragum’ comes from its position on the Cragus mountain overlooking the coast. It is located in the area of modern Guney about 12km from the modern city of Gazipasa. The city was officially founded after by Antiochis IV around 170BC when he came to rule over Rough Cilicia. The site covers an area of around three hectares and contains the remains of baths, market places, colonnaded streets with a gateway, an early Christian basilica, monumental tombs, a temple and several structures which are yet to be identified. Excavations are currently being undertaken by the Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project headed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The site and its harbour likely served as one of the many havens for Cilician pirates along the South Anatolian coast, likely because of its small coves and hidden inlets. Unfortunately no definite pirate remains are visible in the modern day. Its pirate past ended with Pompey’s victory in the first century BC and the take over by Antiochis IV. Initial occupation appears to have occurred in the Classical and Hellenistic periods followed by a surge of activity in these Roman periods. The city itself was built on the sloping ground that comes down from the Taurus mountain range which terminates at the shore creating steep cliffs; in some places several hundred metres high. The temple complex is situated on the highest point of the city and most of the building material remains though in a collapsed state. There is also evidence of a gymnasium complex nearby.
The harbour at Antiochia ad Cragum measures about 250,000m squared and is one of the few large, safe harbours along the coast between Alanya and Selinus. On its Eastern side are two small coves suitable for one or two ships but with limited opportunity for shipping and fishing due to wave activities. The area is well situated as a defensible position against invaders. Recent Terrestrial survey at Antiochia ad Cragum has had emphasis on finding evidence of pirate activity which has been limited, but it has turned up pottery principally from the Byzantine period with additional pottery from the late Bronze Age, the Hellenistic and some from the Roman periods. There is little evidence of pre-Roman occupation at the fortress or pirate’s cove at Antiochia ad Cragum. Banana terracing may have caused much of the evidence to have been erased. The maritime survey has turned up shipping jars, transport Amphoraes and anchors from the Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic periods as well as a range of miscellaneous items. The assemblage appears to indicate early activity to the West of the harbour moving East over time.
Hamaxia is located in Western Cilicia in the area of modern Sinekkale about 6km from Coracesium. There is little literature about the site but the archaeology includes well-preserved evidence of a walled-in settlement with an arched gate on its South side and a three-naved church in its West. There is also a necropolis in the North-West. Hamaxia is mentioned in Strabo 668 and in Stadiasmus 208. Inscriptions indicate that Hamaxia only achieved a city status in the early third century BC. Even the few pieces of literature we do have mentioning Hamaxia appear confused. Strabo says that the city lies to the East of Coracesium while Stadiasmus says it lies to the West.
Hamaxia is situated on a high hill which is now heavily overgrown. The archaeology that remains includes ashlar masonry of the walls which is preserved in a large part and some remains of the interior of temples, one of Hermes, the other unknown. Two exedras have been located facing one another and the inscriptions are numerous. The inscriptions detail names mostly of an epichoric nature and a few with Roman personal names. According to Strabo there was also a port on the coast nearby where the timber for shipbuilding was brought, but this port is yet to be found if it exists.
The Lamos is a river which formed the boundaries between Cilicia Campestris and Cilicia Trachea and later between Cilicia Aspera and Propria. Antiochia Lamotis is the city closesly associated with the Lamos at its mouth. Antiochis Lamotis was itself originally called Lamos and is formerly the capital of the surrounding region known as the Lamotis during the Roman period. The city Lamos/Antiochis Lamotis is located a few km southwest of Modern Erdemli. It was founded in the Hellenistic period.
Korykos/Corcus is located at the mouth of the river Şeytan deresi in the area of Modern Kızkalesi. Korykos is mentioned in the ancient literature by Pliny, Livy, Pomponius Mela and Stephanus of Byzantium, but curiously not Strabo who provides comments on most of the other major cities in Cilicia. The city was an important habour and commerce area and was a port of the Seleucids before the Romans took over when it became a lookout for Romans to look out for pirates.
Korykos was later controlled by the Byzantine Empire when Justinian I constructed the public baths and hospital. Alexios I Komnenos constructed the later fortress and in the 12th century a castle was built nearby on a small island known as ‘Maiden’s Castle’. The archaeology of Korykos is vast and includes a triumphal arch and necropolis with Christian tombs and sarcophagi. In addition to the Roman archaeology there are two medieval castles in Korykos, one on the shore and the ‘Maiden’s Castle’ which is connected to the shore by the ruins of a pier. The mainland castle walls contain many pieces of columns from previous buildings. Three churches have also been excavated, one of which still had the remains of frescos. The city walls can also still be traced.
Strabo may not mention the city of Korykos but he does mention a Corycian cave in which he says grows the best Saffron (Crocus). The Coryian Cave was a circular hollow filled with shrubs and containing a spring. It is famed in Greek mythology as the cave of Pindar and Aeschylus as the lair of Zeus’ opponent, the giant Typhon.
Coracesium was located in the area of Alanya about 160km from modern Antalya. Archaeology indicates that there was occupation in the area as far back as the Paleolithic period with subsequent evidence for the bronze age. There is evidence for Phoenician interaction dating to around 625BC with the existence of Phaenician language tablets and the city is found in the Greek record in a fourth century BC geography manuscript known as the periplus of Pseudo-Scylax. The rock where the castle is now situated was probably first inhabited by the Hittites and then under the Achaemenid Empire. It was only first fortified though in the Hellenistic period following the conquest of Alexander the Great. Coracesium later came under the control of the Ptolemies and later a popular port of refuge for the notorious Cilician pirates. Like much of the surrounding area, the piracy in Coracesium ended with the victory of Pompey in the first century BC, with the battle of Korakesion fought in the city’s harbour.
Coracesium later moved into the control of the Byzantine Empire and then Islam arrived in the seventh century with the Arab raids. This also led to additional fortifications being built. Numerous bishoprics and battles were undertaken throughout the medieval period onwards. The medieval period also saw the construction of the impressive Alanya castle and the Ottomans also brought with them an array of architecture.
And with that I run out of time for the day but I’m sure if I get round to it there will be more on the way 🙂
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- Ancient Sites of Cilicia, Anatolia: Part 1 (graecomuse.wordpress.com)