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UoR Home > Research Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies > Late Antiquity Research Group > Istanbul Rescue Archaeology Project


Byzantine Ceramics and Building Materials Project
Long-distance East-West contacts project
Istanbul Rescue Archaeology project

Istanbul Rescue Archaeology project

 

A Turkish student recording spolia re-used in a modern wall

The 1998 Season

The 1999 Season

The 2001 Season

The 2002 Season

The 2003 Season

The 2004 Season

 

This project, initiated by Dr Ken Dark early in 1997, began fieldwork in 1998 and is co-directed by him and Dr Ferudun Özgümüş (Istanbul University).  Focussing on the, relatively archaeologically neglected, western part of the Byzantine capital, it uses site-watching and street-by-street intensive survey methods to record all unpublished material of pre-circa AD 1500 date being destroyed or damaged by human or natural means in the areas of the modern city of Istanbul being investigated. 

 

The project operates under permission of the Turkish authorities and was initially funded by LARG.  Later it was provided with additional funding by The British Museum, Istanbul University and other organisations. 

 

The 1998 Season

The first season of work (in 1998) examined the southwest of the area within the Theodosian walls of Byzantine Constantinople.  This produced new evidence from a range of sites, some already well known as standing monuments (such as St John Studius and the Golden Gate) or through historical scholarship (such as St Mary Peribleptos), and others (such as Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa mosque) not previously suspected of containing Roman- or Byzantine-period material.

 

The 1999 Season

A second season (in 1999) investigated the northwest of the walled city.  This discovered substantial structural remains in the area associated in texts with the imperial palace of the Blachernae, at several modern churches and mosques – as at the churches of St Demetrios Kananou and Panaghia Tis Sudas – and also parts of what may be the famous, but ‘lost’, Petra monastery.

 

The 2001 Season

The third season (in 2001) concentrated on the centre of the west of the Byzantine city. This is the area in which the Church of the Holy Apostles, the burial place of the Byzantine emperors, once stood. Potentially the most important discovery was of walls that might represent parts of that structure.

 

The 2002 Season

In 2002, a fourth season of work continued to the immediate south of the 2001 area.  This revealed substantial structures near the Byzantine Forum of Marcian, in addition to important new evidence from several other sites, including inscriptions.  Two discoveries, of special interest to scholars of Byzantine art and architecture, were recently exposed fragments from the Byzantine church of Constantine Lips, and a Byzantine brick substructure near the Kariye Museum (the Byzantine church of St Saviour in Chora), where other structural evidence had been recognised during our survey in 1999.

 

The 2003 Season

A fifth fieldwork season took place in August and September 2003 in the area to the south of the Forum of Marcian.  This examined the environs of the Topkapı gate in the Theodosian walls and of the Harbour of Theodosius.  Byzantine material was again recorded at several sites - including the church of St Nicholas, where a marble sculpted human head and an Early Byzantine relief of the Good Shepherd were found built into walls, and the remains of a portico (once probably 11.38m long) along the Byzantine harbour-side on Atmaca sk.   At Istanbul University Hospital, Çapa, a, probably Middle Byzantine, cross-decorated marble sarcophagus was discovered during building work, and a large, but enigmatic, Byzantine substructure was recorded on Kumsal sk., again close to the former edge of the Harbour of Theodosius.

 

The 2004 Season

Our sixth season of work took place in September 2004.  A summary of the results shall be posted on this website in due course.

 

For further information about this project and details of recent publications and interim reports, please contact the Research Centre Director.

 

A Late Antiquity Research Group Project

 

 
 
 
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