Coordinator: N. Zimmermann
The Terrace Houses in Ephesus are two residential insulae that were excavated by the Austrian Archaeological Institute (ÖAI) from 1960-1985. They had been erected in the 1st century AD in the center of the city, on the northern slope of the Bülbüldagh (city map of Ephesus). After several reconstruction phases they were destroyed by an earthquake in the 3rd century (Terrace House 2) resp. were submerged in late antiquity (Terrace House 1). Especially Terrace House 2 represents the best preserved antique residential building of the Eastern Mediterranean. The exceptionally good state of preservation of the architecture and the magnificent décor as well as the big amount of finds allow deep insights into the life of the Ephesian upper class in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
The examination and the publication of this for the art- and cultural-history of Roman Imperial times so important Terrace Houses are a focal point of research of the institute, in cooperation with the ÖAI.
HH 2, before the excavation HH1 & HH2: temporary roof HH1 & HH2: protective roof 2000
The research of Terrace House 1 has been completed in the meantime and is published. The research and the publication of Terrace House 2 are however still ongoing.
Terrace House 2 is an about 4000 m² large allotment on the slope of the Bülbüldagh, which was developed for seven multi-storied on three terraces in the 1st century AD (so-called dwelling units 1-7). After over 200 years of intense usage with several repair and reconstruction phases a series of earthquakes in Gallienic times (260-268) destroyed the insula, whereby apart from a large part of the magnificent décor the inventory was sealed in as well.
The concept of the publication is that all seven dwelling units shall be published contextually with the respective building features, the décor and the inventory of finds. A special focus lies on the research of the décor with wall paintings, marble revetments, stucco, mosaic and marble floors, fountains, hypocaust heating systems and marble architecture as well as the inventory of sculptures, furniture, terracotta, ceramics and finds of metal, bone and glass. A further focus is the research of ceramics.
In the meantime three dwelling units have been published:
In preparation for publication are:
Dwelling units 3 and 5 as well as dwelling unit 6.
In the course of a research project, the publication of dwelling unit 7 has been under preparation since 2010.
In 1999 the precious ruin was covered by a modern protective roof and since a few years it has been publicly accessible.