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Aphrodisias - Pekmez

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Aphrodisias - Pekmez
500 m
Investigation Method:


Location: It lies about 13 km east of the Karasu District; east-southeast of the Aydin Province. The ancient city of Aphrodisias includes both Acropolis Tepesi (Hyk) and Pekmez Hyk and the settlement of Kuskalesi Mevkii dating from the EBA [Joukowsky 1986:19;482-483].
Geography and Environment: The prehistoric settlements located in the ancient city date the history of this city back to the fifth and fourth millennia BC. The Geyre Stream; a branch of the Menderes River (the Meandros); irrigates the Geyre plains. The alluvium soil brought by this stream formed a fertile land around the settlements. The area is rich in water. Pekmez Hyk /Tepe; located on the south of Acropolis Tepe; measures 13 m in height and 125 m in diameter [Joukowsky 1986:19; 1989:225]. It was named by K. Erim.
Research and Excavation: It was visited by Laborde in 1826; Texier in 1835; Fellows in 1840; Seiff in 1871-72; Davis in 1872; Deschamps in 1894 and Gaudin in 1904 [Madran 1989: 229-233]. During the excavations of the ancient city of Aphrodisias under K. Erim since years 1960; the excavations and surveys were conducted both at Pekmez Hyk and Acropolis Hyk in order to find out the pre-Hellenistic remains of the city under the leadership of the same scientist by J. Bordaz in 1962; S. Page in 1966; B. Kadish between 1967-72; R. Marchese between 1973-74 and finally by M.S. Joukowski between 1975-83. The studies of M.S. Joukowski were mainly concerned with the evaluation of materials rather than the excavation. Two small trenches were opened at Pekmez Hyk while seven at Acropolis. In the meantime; EBA materials were found at Kuskalesi Mevkii located within the territory of the ancient city. The excavations both at Pekmez and Acropolis were realized through soundings due to the remains of the following Classical Period. Besides the studies carried out by M.S. Joukowski; the information is obtained only through the preliminary reports of the previous excavations. Following 1992; the excavation has been directed by R.R. Smith; and mainly concerned with the illumination of the Roman Period of the city.
Stratigraphy: The earliest habitation at Aphrodisias dates to the Late Neolithic Period and has been found at Pekmez Hyk/Tepe. The Late Neolithic on this mound is followed by Late Chalcolithic; Early and Middle Bronze habitation. The habitation both at Akropolis and Kuskalesi; on the other hand; begins in the Early Bronze Age and continues in the Middle Bronze Age. Late Bronze Age and Iron Age occupation is found only at Akropolis. The total area excavated at Kuskalesi; Akropolis and Pekmez Hyk is 803 m. Virgin soil could not be reached at any of the three excavation areas because the water table was high [Joukowsky 1986:47; 1989:225 footnote 1].
Small Finds: Pottery: The only evidence of Late Neolithic habitation at Pekmez Hyk; presumed to be the earliest cultural phase at the site of Aphrodisias; comes from pottery. The Neolithic ceramics are handmade. 59% is slipped; mostly with red but also with reddish-brown and black slip. 58% is burnished and has a polished surface. No painted ware has been found; although incised sherds are common. Bowls are the most dominant vessel-form; although the excavations have also yielded many vessels with flaring rims and high forms. Vessel sizes tend to be small.
Interpretation and Dating: The Late Neolithic pottery discovered at Pekmez Hyk represents the earliest habitation at Aphrodisias. No 14C dating has been done but the resemblance of the pottery to the Late Neolithic at Hacilar; especially to Hacilar VII; suggests that it must date to the beginning of the sixth millennium; or around 5;800 BC [Joudowski 1986:430-482; 1989:226 footnote 6; Yakar 1991:177].

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