- In this volume
During the years 1993-94, an archaeological survey focusing on the identification of classical sites and itineraries was carried out in Cappadocia, in the area between the cities of Aksaray, Nevsehir, and Nigde.
This area, which corresponds to the ancient strategia of Garsauritides, is well known for its impressive Byzantine archaeological remains. It has, however, hardly been explored and studied for the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Our first purpose was to explore the Roman road network, verifying the presence of fortresses and their relation to the main roads.
The archaeological survey confirmed the data from the literary sources: the western and south-western area, near the boundaries of Lycaonia, revealed the existence of many fortresses, occupied at different periods (Hellenistic to Byzantine), built in order to protect the main road Colonia Archelais-Tyana.
A topographical plotting concerned the fortress on the Gelin Tepe at Sivrihisar, a military complex guarding the ancient road network of the valley below. Segments of the wall circuit, made of a facing of small stones filled in with concrete, have been identified on the northern side of the hill. On the north-western side are visible two parallel stretches of wall, possibly built in connection with a gate or defensive structure.
A careful study of the two buildings that stand on the southern side of the area has revealed the existence of a Roman-period lookout tower which shows many traces of later reconstructions. To the first phase corresponds masonry of regular blocks, filled in with concrete; an opus reticulatum wall was subsequently built against the tower, possibly to restore or reinforce it. To this phase also belongs the rectangular hall along the eastern side of the tower, built in opus caementicium and originally covered with a barrel vault.
In a later phase the complex must have been transformed into a water reservoir and both rooms have been covered inside with hydraulic mortar. In the absence of excavation data, any chronological definition of the phases can only be hypothetical. The use of opus reticulatum is to be attributed to the presence of Italic workmen: the most probable occasion for the construction of such buildings seems to be the start of the works for the road network, which developed notably during the years between 80 and 122 A.D., for which it is quite likely that military corps of workers were employed.
A second topographical plotting was carried out at the site of Viransehir, at about 400 m south of the modern village of Helvadere. The archaeological remains extend over the slopes of four hills and in the narrow valley between. Most of the structures that today occupy the whole site must be identified as surrounding walls of buildings built with large irregular stones laid a secco in a single curtain.
In addition to these, there remain some churches and monumental tombs, particularly tumuli with an outer ring of unworked stones and chamber tombs in ashlar masonry, often with a dromos distributed in three burial areas. These funerary monuments may be compared to similar late Hellenistic and early imperial mausoleums in Bithynia, Galatia and Cappadocia itself.
Completely different is the situation of the north-western hill (no. 1): the long, narrow plateau is surrounded by fortification walls made of a double polygonal curtain filled in with rubble, with a gate flanked by two semicircular towers on the western side and another one on the south-eastern side. Apparently this hill was the first to be occupied, and its fortification system seems to be earlier than the tombs, which belong to a later, systematic development of the site. To a later phase must be assigned the large settlement constituted by the buildings with the single curtain which invaded the burial areas, engulfing and sometimes occluding the tombs.
In conclusion, if, in its last phase, the site can be recognised as the Byzantine Mokissos, it is also clear that part of the area was occupied much earlier. It is possible to propose the hypothesis that the fortress on the western hill should be identified as Nora, the small fortress where Antigonos Monoftalmos laid siege to Eumenes of Cardia in 321-320 B.C., as the literary sources report.
The research also concerned two other road-axes, the second part of the Aksaray-Nigde route and the first segment of the Nigde-Kayseri main road. In the first case, following the orientation known from the ancient Itineraries, many new sections of the ancient road were found. In the eastern area of the district of Nigde, the presence of Roman settlements was attested by large cemeteries.
As for the Cappadocian rock-cut funerary architecture, we investigated the necropoleis of Yesilöz, Gülsehir, Ozancik, Maçari, Karlik, Mazi, Mavrucan-Güzelöz, the two cemeteries of Güzelyurt, Yassi Ören, the three necropoleis of Dikilitas, and those of Çavdarli, Gideris, Karakapu, Viransehir, Bekarlar, Golçük, and Avanos. The main purpose was to elaborate a first general typology of the graves (see plates). The most common type is the quadrangular rock-cut chamber with funerary beds inside, some with dromos and arcosolia.
The façades generally present simple mouldings or a deep arch, opened into the surface like a little porch; some examples have a temple-like front, with tympanon and columns. Stelai with the sculptured rough design of a stylised human figure are very often carved out at the both sides of the entrance.
Most of the funerary chambers show evident signs of reuse in the Byzantine period, and this makes it difficult to understand the original situation and to define the exact chronology of the burial complexes.
In this volume
- Paola Baldassari. Premessa. Bibliografia di Maria Floriani Squarciapino
- Lidiano Bacchielli. La tomba di Edipo a Beit Tamer in Cirenaica
- Luca Bianchi. Metamorfosi di Diana. Nota sul mito di Atteone
- Nathalie De Chaisemartin. Afrodisia, Roma e i Troiani
- Raymond Chevallier. Perspectives de recherche sur les scènes de métiers (Gaule Cisalpine et Transalpine)
- Giovanni Colonna. Un Ercole sabellico dal Vallo di Adriano
- Eugenia Equini Schneider, Chiara Morselli, Marcello Spanu, Cinzia Vismara. Varia Cappadocica
- Paola Finocchi. L'Afrodite del Mercato di Leptis Magna
- Elda Joly. Terracotte figurate da Leptis Magna
- Nicola F. Parise. Tipi monetari greci e romani secondo Plutarco
- Carlo Pavolini, Stefano Tortorella. Le officine di El Mahrine, il libro di M. Mackensen e lo stato attuale della ricerca sui centri di produzione della ceramica africana
- Patrizio Pensabene. Marmi d'importazione, pietre locali e committenza nella decorazione architettonica di età severiana in alcuni centri delle province Syria et Palestina e Arabia
- Joyce Reynolds. Sculture in bronze: an inscription from Aphrodisias
- Sergio Rinaldi Tufi. Una scultura provinciale in una collezione romana
- Fausto Zevi. Culti claudii a Ostia e a Roma: qualche osservazione
- Recensioni e segnalazioni
- Pubblicazioni ricevute. Elenco delle abbreviazioni