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Investigation Method:
Archaic Classical Geometric Protogeometric


Location: It is situated on a small hill known as Tepekule in the Bayrakli Quarter, approximately 4 km from the provincial center of Izmir. The ancient city of Smyrna was founded on a small island of 22 acres to the northeast of the Gulf of Izmir.
Geography and Environment: The Bornova Plain was formed by the alluvial deposits carried by the Meles River and the floods from the Mount Sipylus, resulting in a peninsula with a small hill. The mound now so called Tepekule has been occupied by the vineyards of the Tekel Administration. The mound of Bayrakli lies on the promontory of the Mount Yamanlar. The length of the promontory in north-south direction is 365 m with a width of 250 m.
Research and Excavation: The initial systematic excavations were conducted at Bayrakli Höyük under the direction of J.M. Cook and E. Akurgal between 1948-51 as a colloborative excavation under the auspieces of the British Institute of Archaeology at Athens and University of Ankara. Second phase of the excavations at Symrna was conducted by E. Akurgal between 1966-1992. During the excavations E. Akurgal unearthed layers that date to the Geometric, Archaic and Classical Periods and claimed that Smyrna had been a center of trade as early as the 7th century BCE and remained so for at least 300 years [Akurgal: 2]. Thirds phase of the excavations took place between 1993-2012 again under the directory of E. Akurgal. After an interlude of 2 years, C. Tanriver took over the excavation team and today excavations are going on under his directory.
Stratigraphy: A stratification ranging from the Protogeometric Period to the 4th century BC is observed at Bayrakli Mound during the 1st Millennium BC. Although there are some variations in the stratification levels between the trenches, they are mainly similar to each other. Based on this, the Protogeometric sherds were reached at trench C5 at a depth of 7.9 m while at a depth of 6.6 to 7.7 m in trench H. But Protogeometric sherds at Bayrakli were found between 6.6 and 7.7 m in a level exceeding a depth of 1 m [Akurgal 1997:19]. The level that represents Bayrakli's Geometric Period is between 7.9 and 9 m depths. The level between 7.9 and 8.2 m depths was identified as the Early Geometric Period while the second level at 8.5 m depth was identified as the Middle Geometric and the level between 8.5 and 8.9/9 m as the Late Geometric Period. Subgeometric and Orientalizing sherds were unearthed at trench H at a depth of 9 to 9.5 m and in the floors of rooms XXXI-XXXV and XXXIX outside the trench H at a depth of 9.7 to 9.8 m. The Archaic level is represented between 9.9 and 10.2 m. A 6th century pavement was uncovered in room XXII at a depth of 10.2-10.3 m, overlaid by another pavement immediately above it which must have been used during the 5th century BC at a depth of 10.5-10.6 m. Also, a 4th century BC level was uncovered in trench H at a depth of 12.2-12.4 m [Akurgal 1997:17-51].
Small Finds: Architecture: The excavations at Bayrakli Höyük yielded many buildings, which revealed architectural characteristics of the city. The earliest domestic building that was unearthed belongs to 925-900 BC. Measuring 2.45x4 m in dimensions, it has a single room. The walls were built of adobe bricks, and the roof was of reed. The domestic structures in rectangular and oval plans composing the primary phase of multiple-room houses were uncovered in the Geometric and Sub-Geometric Period levels [Akurgal 1997a:16-17; Akurgal 2002:213-214]. Furthermore, megaron and double-megaron buildings composing the first examples of peristyle type houses were uncovered along with a building complex with 3 central courtyards belonging to a later period (4th century BC). Another well preserved structure is a fountain dating to the 7th century BC. The defense wall enclosing the city was unearthed with a lenght of 75 m and a height reaching up to 3 m in the southern section of the city, while the wall was completely exposed in the eastern skirts of the city where it is 180 m long and the best preserved section is 4.4 m high. The substructure of polygonal stones was incorporated with a superstructure of mudbricks [Akurgal 1950:29-30; Akurgal 2002:212]. The first phase of the Temple of Athena, which is the most important sanctuary of the city dates back to 725-700 BC. The Temple of Athena was enlarged with several attachments to its cella and podium until 546 BC. During the 2009 and 2010 studies, two city walls of Smyrna belonging to Archaic Period were exposed on the east and the south of the mound. Both of the city walls were erected by polygonal shaped stones and they extend from the northeast corner of the city to the west; towards inside the city; to form a entrance. But this entrance was filled with a dense embanked soil. When this embanked soil was removed, two entrance gates belonging to both of Archaic city walls were exposed. Also, it has been discovered that the main entrance with two gates begins from the front face of the Temple of Athenaand reaches to the main street of the city; Athena Street. Based on the data obtained, this entrance was used from 7th century BC until in the middle of 6th century BC. Then the entrance was completely filled with embankment. The floor of the city entrance was covered with stone slabs (like cobblestone pavement) [Akurgal 2012:128-129]. On immediate east of the Temple of Athena, a channel system formed with baked clay pipe drains was exposed. The pipe drains are 0.65 m long and the joint parts them were tied with silver bands. The wall thicknesses of the pipe drains with a diameter of 0.23 m are 0.05 m. The pipe drains were traced towards the inside of the city and it was found that the part of the channel, which extends towards the beginning of the side entrance of the Temple of Athena, measures 23.12 m. In this section, a fragment of a footed plate belonging to the mid 6th century BC was found inside the stone corridor on the pipe drains.Thus, it was found out that this channel system was built before the mid 6th century BC. This dating obtained in 2009 was changed based on the results of the 2010 studies. Dating this channel system to the second half of 7th century BC is more appropriate since it was covered with chips layer [Akurgal 2012:129-131].In the area between two city walls; which was once used as a graveyard; a deep bowl with bird belonging to the second half 7th century BC, a grey colored monochrome lydion belonging to the beginning of 6th century BC and a marble alabastron, which its surface was calcified, dated to the end of 7th century BC and a Corinthian aryballos dated to around 570 BC were recovered [Akurgal 2012:134]. Pottery: Among the 1st Millenmium BC ceramics recovered from the mound are vessels such as oinochoe, krater, amphora and skyphos that belong to the Protogeometric Period. The skyphoi, amphoras, kantharoi, oinochoe and kraters, and again the skyphoi unearthed in fragments with meander and bird figure decorations are among the ceramics of the Geometric Period [Akurgal 1997a:17-19, 26, 34; Akurgal 1950:9-10; Özgünel 1978:17-26; Cook 1958-59:10-12]. In addition to them, an intact oinochoe decorated in orientalizing style and fragments of oinochoe along with sherds of skyphos-krater, dinos, krater, kylix and pyxis forms are among this group of pottery [Akurgal 1997b:42-45]. Another group is represented by Corinthian ceramics such as alabastron, aryballos, and kothon [Anderson 1958-59:138-151; Akurgal 1997b:45, 65]. Abundant number of Attic ceramic is observed at Bayrakli after 590 BC. Among them are a black figured lebes gamikos decorated by Sophilos, a kantharos again decorated in black figure technique, bowl, kylix, dinos and lekythos as well as rhyton, askos, pyxis lid, column krater and many ceramics sherds decorated in red figure technique [Akurgal 1950:22-29; Boardman 1958-59:152-181]. The unpublished black figured ceramics were studied by Y. Tuna-Nörling [Nörling 1995]. Sculpture/Relief: Among the finds are lion, falcon and Phoenician style human head figurines in ivory, bronze and terra cotta figurines, faience figurines, women head figurines and many arrowheads [Akurgal 1985:280]. The fragments of large size lion sculptures, mouth and head fragments, fragment of a large kouros head made of tuff, and fragments of dressed sculptures made of marble were uncovered [Akurgal 1997b:84-98]. Grave: The ancient city of Smyrna has two necropolises, one on the slopes of the Mount Yamanlar (6th thru 4th centuries BC), and the other in front of the citadel walls. The necropolis area on the slopes of the Mount Yamanlar contains a tumulus that belongs to the 6th century BC, known as the Mauseloum of Tantalus. The tumulus has a diameter of 31 m, and built using polygonal masonry. Except this tumulus, there are 3 more tumuli belonging to the 4th century BC in the region. One of them has a polygonal masonry while the other two, which are called the double tumuli have a rectagonal masonry [Akurgal 2002:217-218; Akurgal 1988a:37; Akurgal 1988b:1-3]. Unfortunately, along with these structures, many grave structures have remained under the modern settlement. The other burial area outside the citadel is dated to the late 7th century BC and the mid-6th century BC. Here the graves of the nobles belonging to the period after the attack by Alyattes and before the Persian invasion are located [Akurgal 2002:217-218]. Two stone sarcophagi and 2 pithoi burials were unearthed in this section of the city. No finds were found in one of the stone sarcophagi while the other yielded 5 couples of earrings, 2 astragals and 1 bead for ornaments. All these finds are in gold [Akurgal 1999:33-36]. Furthermore, Clazomenaean terracotta sarcophagi were uncovered during the 1948 campaign [Akurgal 1950:32; Cook 1981:52-58, 70-72]. A bronze figurine of Silenus, an olpe and an East Greek lekhytos were unearthed during the 1989 campaign in a room unearthed at plan square E9 [Akurgal 1991:19]. Also, the plan squares F-I/15-17 yielded many ceramics belonging to the 6th century BC. Among them are a dinos fragment from the Orientalizing Period, shoulder of an oinochoe again from the Orientalizing Period, a terracotta demon and an adjustable bracelet. Other: Many oil lamps were unearthed.
Interpretation and Dating: Smyrna, one of the most important settlements in Ionia, houses ceramic finds ranging from the EBA to the 4th century BC. The architecture of the ancient city Smyrna consisted of single-room structures in various sizes during the early periods of the 1st Millennium BC. The earliest domestic building that was excavated dates to ca. 925-900 BC. The characteristics of a city were achieved after it was enclosed by a defense wall around 850 BC. Smyrna reached its heyday between 650-545BC. Many seramics belonging to this period in various styles were unearthed during the excavations. The city had lost its popularity and importance following the Persian invasion, and survived for another 200 years. After the end of the Persian hegemony in Western Anatolia, Smyrna was moved into the new city founded on the skirts of the Mount Pagos (Kadifekale) around 300 BC under the inspiration of Alexander the Great.

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