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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: It is obvious that the site was occupied from the Neolithic Ages. The pre-EBA settlement was only uncovered at Pekmez Hoyuk. Ten layers were identified during the excavation at Pekmez Hoyuk. The levels X through IV symbolize the prehistoric; and starting from level III; the historical periods. At Pekmez; the EBA levels start right after the layer identified as Last Chalcolithic Age IV. The layer VI is identified as EBA I. The Pekmez Hoyuk was abandoned; for some reason; in the first half of the third millennium BC; and the settlement moved to where the Acropolis Tepe is located. The settlements of Acropolis Tepe and Kuskalesi Mevkii start right after EBA II and continue through MBA. Late Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements are found only at Acropolis.
Small Finds: Architecture: The trench being too narrow did not reveal the layout of the structures or the construction technique. Fragments of mudbrick walls some with or some without stone foundations and fragments of floors were recovered. Pottery: The pottery industry of Aphrodisias has been thoroughly analyzed and evaluated by Joukowski [Joukowski 1986]. EBA I: It is analyzed in two groups; First group includes the small grit and straw tempered; grey; black; and dark brown pasted; burnished ware. The unburnished samples of this ware are underfired. Forms of the Late Chalcolithic Age continue. Vessels like loop handled cups; wide and deep jugs; three footed cups were found. The second group consists of varying colours from grey to reddish brown of the well burnished ware. The elaborate vessels are from this second group. Samples of interiorly and exteriorly different coloured surfaces are observed. A good example of this group is a handmade tankard. EBA II: Dated to EBA II according to Aphrodisias; this settlement is the equivalent of EBA III according to the Anatolian EBA classification. Besides the red burnished ware; the coarse kitchen ware was also recovered. Almost all of them are either slightly burnished or unburnished. The single-handled cups are dominant. Most of the spouted pitchers come from the pithos graves belonging to the EBA II and III. Although rare; there are samples of matt white painted ware. Also found are depas-like vessels [Erim 1968a:fig.1]. Clay: The layer VIII A yielded two Cilician-type of idols in the second trench of Pekmez. One of the idols; with broken heads; depicts a woman with hanging breasts and pointed nipples. The arms are schematically flat. Their body are straight and unpainted. Chipped Stone: Knife; scraper; sickle-knife are made of both flint and obsidian. Ground Stone: Typical EBA tools like millstone; hammer stone; weights and pestles were found. There are plenty of beads and spindle-whorls [Joukowski 1986:pl.369; 406]. Human Remains: Very limited number of pithos graves has laid out the presence of intramural (?) burials during the EBA II-III of Aphrodisias Pekmez and Acropolis Tepe Hyg. The smallness of the excavated area makes it hard to make a certain judgment regarding this subject. The trench no. 1 of the Pekmez Hyk yielded a pithos grave in the layer VIII; its opening facing the east. Three burnt child burials were found mixed in the grave. The opening of the grave was capped by a mudbrick plate. One of the skulls was found intact at the bottom of the pithos. The other two were crushed. The grave goods were also burnt. Another pithos grave in layer VI included a female skeleton. Its grave goods are rich. A flat bowl; a small pitcher; spindle-whorls; loomweights; two silver bracelets (?); burnishing stones; three golden and some stone beads were found. The finds expose the presence of a weaving economy in the settlement. The vessels possibly contained food and beverages [Joukowski 1986:pl.374]. One of the two skeletons in the pithos grave found in the second trench of Pekmez was completely disarticulated proving the presence of a secondary burial. One of the skeletons' head was laid facing the east. The handled spouted pitchers were probably interred with food.
Interpretation and Dating: The site actually consists of three different settlements: Pekmez Hoyuk; Acropolis Tepe Hoyuk; and Kuskalesi Mevkii. In harmony with the evaluations of the scientists who carried out soundings in the area they appear to be the first settlements of the ancient city. Neither the interrelationships between these settlements are clear nor have they been thoroughly evaluated due to the Classical Period ruins on their top. Synchronization between the two trenches of Pekmez was not established. The finds being culturally closer to Beycesultan; especially the pithos graves and Cilia-type idols necessitate a wider commentary on the issue of cultural interactions during the EBA. The Cilia-type idols appeared during EBA I; likes of them were found at Elmali Kozagaci; Yortan; Hanaytepe; Thermi and Cilia. This type continues during EBA I and even EBA II. The idols of Aphrodisias can be accepted as the late samples of the Cilia style.

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