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Daskyleion

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Daskyleion
Type:
City
Altitude:
m
Region:
Marmara
Province:
Balikesir
District:
Bandirma
Village:
Ergili
Investigation Method:
Excavation
Period:
Archaic Geometric Classical Protogeometric

     


Location: It is located within the borders of the Ergil Village in the Bandirma District of Balikesir. It lies near southeastern corner of the Lake Manyas [Sevin 2001a:255].
Geography and Environment: Named after Daskylos, father of the Lydian King Gyges, the ancient city of Daskyleion rests on Hisartepe to the southeast of the Lake Manyas.
History:
Research and Excavation: It was discovered by K. Bittel in 1952. It was visited again in 1952 by E. Akurgal and N. Firatli, followed by a small survey conducted in 1953 on behalf of the University of Ankara and Directorate of Museums. Excavations were initiated in 1954 by Akurgal and Firatli [Akurgal 1993:65-66]. The excavations, which were initiated after 35 years in 1988 by a team under the direction of T. Bakir of Ege University, have still been going on.
Stratigraphy: Daskyleion had been inhabited from the 8th century BC until the Byzantine Period. It has been been reported that there are some challenges in dating the stratifications due to uninterrupted occupation and destructions during the Byzantine Period [Polat 2002:216].
Small Finds: Architectural Remains: The 1990 campaign yielded a wall, euthynteria, floors and stone pavement of a building (palace) belonging to the early 5th century BC. It is believed that it was built by the Satrap of Daskyleion, Artabazos II (accession 477 BC), and used during the reigns of Pharnabazos I (460-430 BC), Pharnekes II (430-414 BC) and Pharnabazos II (414-388 BC); then demolished in 395 by Spartan King Agesilaus, and restored by Pharnabazos II, and later on occupied by Ariobarzabes (388-362 BC) and Artabazos II (362-352 BC) when they were rulers, and finally burnt down during the fire when Parmenion, commander of Alexander (the Great) captured Daskyleion in 334 BC [Bakir 1991:18-19]. The 2001 campaign focused on identification of a 8x8 m building with a square plan which was called trench M-8 and excavated during the period of E. Akurgal. Considering the 1.2 m wide and thick foundation stones, it was assumed that such a foundation could have belonged to a high tower-like building. The excavations in this square building yielded many walls and their floors and ceramics found in situ lying on these floors dating to earlier periods. Presence of a 50 cm thick burnt level underlying the foundation blocks of the building and in situ ceramics right above this burnt level indicate the fire resulted from the war between the Spartan commander Agesilaus and the Satrap Pharnabazos II in 395 BC. Among the ceramic finds, calyx-krater in red-figure technique dating to the early 4th century BC and black furnished saltpan with graffito letters are significant. Thus, it appears that tower-like building was built after 395 BC, not before. Also it is believed that this tower-like building is similar to the Fire Temple at Naqsh-e Rustam [Bakir 2003:492]. The excavations in 2001 yielded a terrace wall on the eastern slope of Hisartepe. Only a 77 cm part being exposed during the same year, it was associated with Persians, and interpreted as a terrace wall on which the Anatolian satraps of the Achaemenid Dynasty built their palaces and satrapy buildings according to the Persian architectural traditions when they arrived in Daskyleion [Bakir 2003:493-494] Also remains from the Achaemenid Period and houses including abundant number of Lydian ceramics next to Ionic structures were uncovered at Hisartepe [Akurgal 1967:32-33]. Several Phrygian epigraphic and archaeological finds have been uncovered at Daskyleion since 1990. Finds such as Phrygian inscriptions, pottery with decorations and grafitto, material related with Cybele culture, foundations of a temple dedicated to Cybele belonging to the late 8th century BC, a cult canal covered by slabs, model of a small-size temple for Cybele in stone from the 7th century BC, cult goods and city walls confirm that Phrygians lived in Daskyleion from the 8th century BC till the Hellenistic Period [Bakir 2004:313]. During the 2011 campaign, it was found out that the wall numbered 2 in Trench T26-U26-U27 was the north wall, which is 2.55 m thick together with its interior fill, of the tower used in Achaemenid Period. An architectural element that is thought to be a stepped entrance dated to Persian Period was exposed in the trenches of T28 and T29. In this area, a different tower which is not related with the one mentioned above was seen. The tower was built in 5th century BC. There are small limestone arrangements inside the tower and in 4th century BC., these arrangements were covered with neatly worked andesite stone blocks. The flooring and channels of the cult-building complex belonging to Achaemenid Period was unearthed in the trenches of H32-33. Pottery: Grey ceramics which emerged from the 8th century BC at Daskyleion continued uninterruptedly through the Hellenistic Period. They represent almost 80-90 % of the material uncovered at the levels of the 8th to 6th century BC at Daskyleion. We have unique forms specific to Daskyleion from the 8th century BC, which are not available at other centers. It is observed that unlike this period, forms used for painted pottery were intensely involved in the repertoir of grey pottery from the 6th century BC, and that this intensity was gradually increased towards the Hellenistic Period [Polat 2002:216]. The 1988 campaign yielded black glazed Attic pottery and red-figure pottery, wild goat style pottery, fragments of bird bowls, and Aiolic grey ware pottery. Also found are architectural terracotta fragements dating to the 5th century BC [Mellink 1990:150]. The 7th century pottery recovered during the 1954 campaign such as ones with Protocorinthian, and Orientalizing style are related with the Greek colonization at Propontis [Mellink 1955:235]. The soundings carried out in 2002 revealed traces of settlements at Daskyleion before 547 BC. With these soundings, presence of grey or black Phrygian ware, Corinthian, Lydian, East Greek and Protogeometric Period pottery indicated that the settlement at this site continued until 1100 BC, i.e. the dark ages [Bakir 2004:313]. Particular interest of Persians on the luxury items of Athens was proved by the ceramics uncovered here. Among the finds are many kraters, amphoras, hydria, bowls, drinking and tableware produced in Attic black-figure, red-figure, black-glazed and white background techniques. There is a rich collection of works produced by Attic painters including the Amasis Painter, Lydos, Exekias, Antimenes, and the Niobid Painter [Erdogan 2006:178]. Statue/Relief: A funerary stele inscribed in Phrygian with a frieze in relief superimposed on each other is dated to the 5th century BC. It is evaluated within the group of Anatolian-Persian Funerary Stelae [Bakir 1999:579]. A 5th century style relief was uncovered during the excavations by Akurgal. The relief consists of two antithetic sphinxes [Mellink 1961:52]. The Greek works uncovered during the Ergili excavations are related with the Milesian school of sculpture in terms of style. For example, hair of the equestrian women from 400 BC has a Late Archaic Greek style while their profile and anatomy bear Greek features. The reliefs with Achaemenid style were made by Greek sculptors in accordance with the Achaemenidian samples [Firatli 1967:47]. Fragment of a stele with anthemion under no. ST 2 found at Daskyleion was analyzed by G. Polat for his doctorate thesis. There is an almost completely preserved anthemion on the upper section of the large stele, whose lower section was broken. In the lower anthemion there are two "s" volutes placed vertically. A scene with figures is observed within a frame on the body section, of which only the upper section is preserved. This scene including five figures depicts a ceremony, and the stele should have been dating around 500 BC due to craftmaship of anthemion and rigidity of the figures in the scene [Polat 1998:16-24]. And other stelea with anthemion at Daskyleion mentioned by Polat in his thesis under nos. ST 3, 4 and 5 are dated to the first half and mid of the 5th century BC [Polat 1998:24-38]. Other: Bullae recovered in 1954 are related with restoration of the palatial structure of Pharnabazos [Mellink 1960:68]. Majority of these bullae, almost 300, found intact or in fragments, are in Achaemenid style while some in Greek style. Some them have Aramaic inscriptions. Based on the traces of papyrus and cord on their rear surfaces, bullae were attached to the bundles of papyri. Thus, presence of an archive belonging to the satrapy of Daskyleion was evidenced [Akurgal 1956:50]. An ivory hilt uncovered during the 2002 campaign is dated to the Middle Achaemenid phase and period of the powerful satrap of Daskyleion, Artabazos I, i.e. second quarter of the 5th century BC [Bakir 2004:315].
Remains:
Interpretation and Dating: Pottery, architectural remains, mass goods and epigraphic finds with Phrygian inscriptions uncovered during the excavations at Daskyleion proved that Phrygians lived in Daskyleion starting from the 8th century BC until the mid-4th century BC. Also, dominance of Aiolian grey monochrome ware proves presence of an Aiolian population at Daskyleion. Furthermore, based on a grave stele dating to the 6th century BC, an epigraphic document indicating that Thracians lived in the area of Propontis, the migrations referred by ancient writers can be proved with archaeological data in Daskyleion [Bakir 1999:578-579]. In addition to that, Lydian ceramics and sherds with grafitto in Lydian language as well as ancient texts support the presence of a Lydian culture in Daskyleion during the 7th century BC. A mug form dating to the late 7th and early 6th century BC found at Daskyleion is associated with Phrygians. As included in the form repertoiry of Phrygians, absence of such a form in any of the centers in the Northwestern Anatolia should be explained with the presence of Phrygians at Daskyleion [Polat 2002:220-223]. During the surveys conducted at Hisartepe and its vicinity, settlements producing 6th and 5th century material on the eastern coast of the Lake Kus to the east of Hisartepe showed that Daskyleion cannot be limited only with Hisartepe. Also the Satrapy of Daskyleion had been ruled by thirteen satraps until its capture by Alexander the Great [Atatürk Kültür, Dil ve Tarih Yüksek Kurulu Bülteni, 1990].


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