IFA Archaeology Journal

Aphrodisias 2020

Although the coronavirus reduced our campaign, we got much useful work done at Aphrodisias in 2020. For a month in June to July, our team focused on study in the depots, research for publication, and conservation.

The ancient monuments were carefully checked; all vegetation was cut and cleared from the site; new information panels were set up; and material for publication projects was documented in the depots.

All objects to be included in the planned monograph on the Tetrapylon Street were drawn and photographed. They present a remarkable historical profile from Roman to Ottoman times. The study of finds for the forthcoming volume on the South Agora / Place of Palms was also completed.

New research on the inscribed dedication and carved ornament of the East Gate of the Place of Palms showed the monument belonged not in the mid-second century CE as previously thought, but in the late first century CE. Study of excavated pottery focused on Byzantine and Islamic material, particularly the material found in the pool of the Place of Palms and the Tetrapylon Street. Pottery study has revealed an interesting new historical narrative of post-antique Aphrodisias. Most striking are significant finds from the Byzantine ‘Dark Age’ (seventh to ninth centuries).

Work on inscriptions focused on preparations for a new monograph on Diocletian’s Edict of Maximum Prices and for our corpus of all inscribed texts from Aphrodisias. Two new inscriptions brought into the museum from the surrounding area were recorded: (1) a late Hellenistic funerary stele for a woman named Artemis daughter of Eupolemos, from Ataköy, and (2) a base of the Roman period, also with a funerary text, from Antioch-on-the-Meander.

A relief from the Sebasteion was dismounted from its museum display for transport to an exhibition in Istanbul, and a delicately decorated Roman fountain basin, brought from Karacasu and restored by our marble conservators in 2018-19, was set up on a new base in the museum garden.

This year, the Aphrodisias team lost Jim Coulton, an inspiring archaeologist and architectural historian. He left a complete manuscript on the Temple of Aphrodite and its conversion into a Christian cathedral. He found out the precise original position of every block that was redeployed from the temple to make the church. Jim was a person of unfailing generosity and unusual modesty. He will be much missed at Aphrodisias.