©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Aphrodisias - Pekmez

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Aphrodisias - Pekmez
500 m
Investigation Method:
Classical Archaic


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: Aphrodisias was first visited by Laborde in 1826, followed by Texier in 1835, Fellows in 1840, Seiff in 1871-72, Davis in 1872 and Deschamps in 1894. A French group under the direction of P. Gaudin conducted two small, but very productive excavations in 1904-1905, which was reported by A. Boulanger in 1913 as a brief summary. Also, a succesful excavation was conducted by Italian scientist G. Jacopi in 1937. The excavations initiated in 1961 on behalf of the New York University continued under the direction of K.T. Erim. The present excavations have been led by R. Smith since 1991.
Small Finds: The leading sacred area of the city, the Temple of Aphrodite, was enclosed by a temenos erected elaborately during the reign of Hadrian. Recent excavations yielded earlier buildings dating back to at least 7th century BC and evidences probably associated with sacred places. In addition to well-preserved building remains and many historical data, a highly qualified sculpture school was brought to light with many statues. The city area is flat in general, except for a conic hill ca. 15 m high so called Acropolis to the south. With recent excavations, it was shown that the hill was a prehistoric mound composed of remains belonging to various settlements which can be dated at least back to the Early Bronze Age (nearly 2800-2200 BC). To the southeast rises another slight elevation, which is called Pekmez. It was partially excavated in 1967, yielding traces of an Early Prehistoric settlement [Akurgal (E) 2000: 393-397].
Interpretation and Dating: As a result of the excavations on Pekmez to the east of the acropolis, it was found that the history of the city dated back as far as 5800 BC [Erim 1986: 77]. Based on the analyses, the city was in relation with the obsidian centers in the Aegean Islands and Central Anatolia from 4000 BC. And, close relations are observed with Troia from 3000 BC [Erim 1986:78].

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