©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project


Assos

For site maps and drawings please click on the picture...

maps

For photographs please click on the photo...

Assos
Type:
City
Altitude:
m
Region:
Marmara
Province:
Çanakkale
District:
Ayvacik
Village:
Behram
Investigation Method:
Excavation
Period:
Archaic Classical

     


Location: It is located in the Behram Village, southwest of the Ayvacik District in Çanakkale.
Geography and Environment: Situated accross the northern tip of the Lesbos (Midilli) Island on the southern shore of Troad, Assos is separated from the island with a strait, which is not over 11 m in width [Magie 2003:60].
History:
Research and Excavation: First excavations were initiated by Clarke and Bacon in 1881, and these excavations which lasted until 1884 yielded the remains of Temple of Athena, necropolis, agora and theatre. In 1884, the architectural finds unearthed during the excavations were shared, and the American excavation team moved their share to the Boston Museum. The first excavation finds were published in 1902.The excavations resumed approximately 100 years later by Ü. Serdaroglu in 1982 and continue at present by N. Arslan.
Stratigraphy:
Small Finds: Architectural Material: Temple of Athena: Based on the style of the plastic artifacts, it should have been completed by 525 BC. The temple rests on the acropolis, erected with local stones. It is the unique specimen of temples built in Doric order during the Archaic Period in Anatolia. Also, it is the only example that the Doric architectural style was mixed with the Ionian architectural elements such as frieze, relief and some ornamentations. The temple has a single room with no opisthodomos. It stands on a two stepped crepidoma. The area it stands on measures 30.31x14.03 in dimensions. It consists of a pronaos and a naos. There are 6 columns on the short sides, and 13 columns on the long sides. The frieze on the architrave is decorated with plastic reliefs, depicting Heracles fighting with centaurs, a deer and banquet scene, and reliefs of animals such as deer, lion and sphinx [Serdaroglu 2005:86-95]. The city walls dating from the 4th century BC are still extant [Sevin 2001a:70]. During the 2010 excavation campaign, the Archaic Period layer was discovered under the Hellenistic Period layer of the main street which begins from the west and extends towards agora. The finds in this layer could be dated to Late 7th century BC. and 6th century based on the cremation grave finds belonging to Archaic Period. In addition, some of the vessels are dated to Protogeometric or Geometric Period [Arslan (E.M. Kasubke) 2012:55-56]. During the surveys in 2011, terrace walls with polygonal stone masonry were discovered. On the contrary the residential areas on the south, these walls which are thought to belong to Archaic Period will give information about especially the situation of the city in 6th century BC. Pottery: The earliest Attican black figure ceramic samples unearthed at Assos are dated to the second quarter of the 6th century BC. In the Troad region and near the Çanakkale Strait 112 Attican black figure vases dating to 600-450 BC were registered. The finds are mainly dated to the late 6th century and first quarter of the 5th century [Nörling 1994:438-439]. Among the ceramics uncovered from the graves in the necropolis of Assos are grey ware, bowls with birds and rosettes, presumably production of Assos, and East Greek pottery and Corinthian pottery like Ionian bowls [Utili 1999:6-70]. During the 2011 campaign, a great number of IA potsherds were recovered during the cleaning of the wall remain near the Byzantine cistern on the east of Acropolis as well as a pitcher with a height of 15 cm which contains the ashes of burnt animal. In the excavation area, the bedrock was reached at a depth of 45 cm. A lot of grey wares were recovered from this area. These wares with incised and relief decoration are important because of being dated earlier than Archaic grey wares that are known so far. The painted wares of Late Geometric pyxis and koytle are potsherds which help to date those wares mentioned above. These wares found on the bedrock in Acropolis were seen in the last quarter of 8th century BC. to 6th century BC. Apart from these findings, Phrygian type fibulae, arrowheads and sling stones were found. In this way, the findings which are dated earlier than 650 BC. were recovered in Assos. Coin: Assos minted coins as an independent city. The earliest Assos coin is dated to the first half of the 6th century BC. Some have head of Athena on obverse side and a griffon on the reverse side. Some other coins bear depictions of Medusa head, lion head, bunch of grapes and swan [Serdaroglu 2005:33]. Cemetery: The cemetery area so called the West Necropolis is located on both sides of the sacred road leading to the western gate of the city. In this area, open family graves enclosed by walls from the Roman Period are observed as well as large-size sarcophagi on high podiums. The excavations conducted by the American team yielded some graves from the 6th century and 5th century BC. Sarcophagi dating from the 4th century BC to the 1st century BC were reached under the level of the Roman Period. There was also cremation type of burial tradition in Assos, which was most common during the 6th century BC. Such graves included perfume bottles, and drinking cups such as kylix and skyphos. Among the cemetery finds, some are dated to th early 7th century BC. It indicates that the necropolis area had been occupied from the early 7th century to the Roman Period without any interruption. The grave finds can be listed as terracotta figurines dating to the 5th century BC, a female mask from the 5th century BC, hydria, lekythos, plates, grey paste lebes from the 6th century BC and alabastron dating to the late 6th century BC [Serdaroglu 2005:35-60]. The 1990 excavations in the necropolis area yielded a damaged skeleton and 43 artifacts left as grave gifts in a sarcophagus. The artefacts include small lekythoi, small skyphoi, amphoriskoi, an equestrian figurine, a seated monkey figurine, seated male figurines, alabastron of Phoenician glass and bronze earrings. Based on the analysis of the finds, the grave was dated to from 480 to 470 BC. A cremation grave yielded fragments of cremated bones along with a kylix from the Archaic Period. Another type of burial, pithos graves indicate mass burial as suggested by the presence of more than one head in the pithos no. 18. This grave was dated to the mid 6th century BC based on the fragments of lekythos and aryballos. Furthermore, urn graves were also unearthed in the necropolis area [Serdaroglu 1992:43-47]. Urne type burials consisting of plain grey vessels without burial gifts were found in destroyed condition during excavations in the north of Archaic avenue in 2007 [Arslan et al. 2009:106]. A grave carved in the bedrock named M2 was also found in the same area. Grey ware consisting of side spouted jar, dish and mug were found inside a sarcophagus named M11 which was placed on the bedrock. A red coated bowl, a Protocorinthyian aryballos and a Phrygian fibula were left as gift besides grey pottery Protokorinth aryballosu ve Frig tipi fibulua in M11. Based on these the grave was dated to late 7th century BC and early 6th century BC [Arslan et al. 2009:106].
Remains:
Interpretation and Dating: Being inhabited from the First Bronze Age, the ancient city of Assos was colonized by Aeolians during the 7th century BC. Bearing the traces of a Greek civilization, it was a significant center which also had been inhabited during the Roman Period.


To List