©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Khalkedon / Kalkhedon

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Khalkedon / Kalkhedon
Investigation Method:


Location: The settlement area of the city lies to the south of the line between the present Yogurtçu Park and the Osmanaga Mosque in Kadiköy. The first settlement was founded at Fikirtepe during the prehistoric periods. The settlement was initially called Procerastis, and then Colpusa. It was established by the immigrants from Megara in 685 BC. It is also referred by Pliny [N.H. V, 42], Herodotus [IV, 85, 144; V, 25; VI, 33] and Xenophanes [Anabasis, VI, 6, 38; VII, 1, 20; VII, 2, 23].
Geography and Environment: It was a fortified city. The necropolis area lies to the north including the present neighbourhood of Altiyol. The city, where the Chalcedon (Khalketis (?)/Kurbagalidere) stream flows by, had two harbors. One of them opened to the Haydarpasa Bay, with a breakwater. It is likely that it has been obscured by the Osmanaga Mosque. The other harbor is at the entrance of the Kurbagalidere Stream. No remains are available except for the necropolis area at Altiyol. There was a road connecting Chalcedon to Nicomedia (Izmit). An avenue that extends alongside the ancient harbor at Kurbagalidere was the starting point of this road.
Research and Excavation: The boundaries of the Chalcedon's necropolis area were identified during the highway construction around the Sögütlücesme Train Station in 1976 [Asgari-Firatli 1978:3 vd., abb. 1-3]. The tiny hill on the corner of the Bahariye Avenue at Altinyol Point (the area where the bull statue stands at present) was partially leveled on the sides and on the corner during road construction in 1987. Large and deep pits were excavated during the substructure constructions started by the municipality. These pits were inspected by a team from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums under the direction of S. Atik and a salvage excavation was conducted. The remaining ruins were buried under Altiyol and covered with concrete. The repairable artifacts out of the removed ones have been exhibited in two halls of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, some at the display of Chalcedon in the "Istanbul" floor, and others again at the Chalcedon display of the "Bithynia" floor.
Stratigraphy: As a result of the excavations performed on an area 12x10 m, it was found that the southwest half of the platform had been disassembled to place sarcophagi. The podium apparently belongs to an earlier date than the sarcophagi.
Small Finds: Architecture: Limestone blocks were encountered aproximately 10 cm below the ground surface in an area of 12x10 m in dimensions. It was found out that the limestone blocks constituted top of the podium which was identified later. The platform was built of hard limestone. The blocks which were placed on top of each other and side by side were, then, connected using bronze clamps. The neatly cut marble blocks connected with dovetail clamps in bronze in the northwest section of the platform provide evidence for the fact that the outer course of the platform was built of marble. Present dimensions of the platform are approximately 8.8x4.3 m. Limestone sarcophagi surmounted with flat saddleback roofed lids were found right next to the podium. A 6 m high deposit of soil was found above the sarcophagi. It seems that the architectural remains extend further below the road. The excavations were expanded, and six more sarcophagi was found, lying next to each other, and measuring 2.36x1.1 m in dimensions. Five of the sarcophagi were made of limestone, and the remaining one was made of od stone in light green. The sarcophagi were given a proper rectangular shape by arranging "L" shaped plates opposite to each other, and supporting them by rubblestones on sides. They were surmounted by flat saddleback lids. There are graffiti on frontons and upper lateral surfaces of some of the sarcophagi with saddleback lids. One of the graves is empty, which suggests that they may have been burials of a post-war period [Atik 2003:92]. Sherds: Sherds were uncovered from 5 of the sarcophagi. Also found are abundant number of tiny sherds just in front of the sarcophagi in the southern section. Almost crumbled due to the overlaying 6 m pile of earth, these sherds are dated to the late 6th century BC, and early 4th century BC, and some of them could have been reconstructed as a result of the efforts spent by the staff of Istanbul Restoration and Conservation Atelier. Among them are approximately 35 cm high and 30 cm wide khytrae (large kitchen utencils), storage jars with horizontal double handles and lid on wide rimmed shoulders, abundant number of mushroom rim amphorae with slightly bulging neck and bulging body dating to the late 5th century BC and early 4th century BC, another of amphorae, which are 66 cm high with tile-red paste belonging to a date closer to the 4th century BC, and approximately 40 cm high paint banded table amphoras, and 53 cm high and 30 cm wide hydria dating to the late 5th century BC and early 4th century BC. The trench to the east of the podium yielded fish-plates, kantharos, lamps, bowls in various sizes, and a guttus from the 4th century BC. Also found are sherds of small vessels, a cup, a double handled jug decorated with red-paint. Among the mixed ceramics is a very small sherd with a frontal depiction of a lion head painted in eggplant purple on grey paste. It is similar to the lion depictions on Proto-Corinthian aryballos or alabastrons. Figurine: Two terracotta goddess figurines dating to the late 6th century BC and early 5th century BC were uncovered. Coin: Five Chalcedon coins dating to the late 5th century BC and early 4th century and one bronze Byzantion coin were uncovered. Human remains: Burnt and crushed human bones were found in five of the sarcophagi, which indicate a collective burial.
Interpretation and Dating: It has been reported that the sarcophagi and their environmental finds dating to the late 5th century BC and early 4th century BC, the podium dating to the late 6th century BC and early 5th century BC and ceramic finds found to the northeast of the podium from the 4th century BC representing diverse centuries present a problem rather than a conclusion [Atik 2003:93]. The sherd with a frontal lion head depiction in eggplant purple on a grey paste is critical as an evidence of the earliest period at Chalcedon. It represents the only proof for the presence of an occupation here during the late 7th century BC [Atik 2003:93].

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