Publication project: From the 4th century BCE χωριον to the Byzantine Bishopric

Studies on History and Urban Development of Alinda (Caria)


Project Leader: Dr. P. Ruggendorfer

The extensive ruins of Alinda were examined as part of a surface survey undertaken by the Institute for the Study of Ancient Culture (IKAnt) from 2007 to 2011. Non-destructive prospection and documentation methods, such as ground-penetrating radar and geomagetics, photogrammetry, RTK-measurements, were employed. The Goals of the project were the systematic documentation and periodization of preserved architectural structures, as well as the analysis of urban development and transformation of the settlement until the Byzantine period. The results are currently being prepared for publication.

Fig. 1: View of Alinda's lower town with Agora and south hall; the western analemma of the theatre in the foreground
Fig. 2: Map of Alinda (created by Chr. Kurtze)
Fig. 3: Western fortification wall of the lower town

The heavily fortified settlement area (cf. fortifications: Konecny – Ruggendorfer 2014; Konecny 2015) extended between two steep mountain ridges close to the modern town of Karpuzlu, located approximately 50 km southwest of Aydin. Strategically located, Alinda guarded access to Caria, which led from the Marsyas-valley to the sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda and further toward Mylasa, the ancient capital of Hekatomniden, and Halicarnassus on the Mediterranean. 

R. Pococke discovered the site in the 18th  century CE. This was followed by visits of further explorers (such as R. Chandler [1765], L. de Laborde [1827], Ch. Fellows [1841], Ph Le Bas [1843/44], P. Trémaux [1853-1860], W. R. Paton and J. L. Myres [1896] and cf. attached bibliography), whose descriptive and graphic documentation are of great importance in recording a much larger monument inventory of the city than now exists.

During the 20th century the reports of sporadic inspections of the site conveyed occasional glimpses of the epigraphic and archaeological inventory of the town (cf. A. Laumonier 1934, M. Anabolu 1965, GE Bean 1971, J. and L. Robert, 1983, S. Doruk 1987). Surveys were the only previous systematic archaeological research conducted under the guidance of V. Özkaya from the end of the 1990s; these investigations provided detailed results of the necropolis which were immediately included in high level studies (such as Chr. Berns 2003 and O. Henry 2009). 

The structural division of the settlement area can be described as follows. The centers of public life are located to the south, with the Agora, or at the highest point of the lower town where the sanctuary and the theater were located. Areas with extensive residential development were located primarily in the north and in the southwest areas of the city (cf. preliminary reports in 27. AST 2007 – 30. AST in 2012 and G. Bockisch – P. Ruggendorfer – L. Zabrana 2013).    

The dense structures of the residential area in the north area can be, for the most part, assigned to the Imperial or the Byzantine period, whereas the Agora with its three-story, two-aisled south hall and the massive terraces and remains of buildings on the hilltop to the north point to intense construction activity during the Hellenistic period (cf. Preliminary Reports 29. AST 2011 and 30. AST 2012). In combination with information from inscriptions (A. Laumonier 1934), it is highly likely that these structures manifest a significant, and lasting transition of the urban area and were therefore essential in the settlement’s urban transformation from chorion ("fixed place") of Arrian (1,23,8) to one of the best and most fortified places in Caria during the 4th century BCE, ultimately becoming the prosperous headquarters for managing northern Caria in the late 3rd century BCE. 

Fig. 5: Temple located on the highest elevation of the lower town
Fig. 6: South hall of Agora
Fig. 7: Remnants of the structures within the upper town/citadel

The crowded, small-scale residential development inside the fortification walls of the citadel made up the core of the upper town and consisted mainly of mortared stone and brick structures. The architectural remains of jointed blocks dating to the late classical period were also integrated into some sections. 

Fig. 8: Aquaduct and sarcophagus from the late Classical necropolis

The relocation of the residential area was complemented by the restoration of the already heavily damaged fortification walls of the upper town. A deep V-shaped ditch was placed before the east wall in order to provide additional protection and the access to the castle was changed. Although several oil presses and six large cisterns located in the lower town area were economic facilities for the residential area in the fortified upper town, the lower town was not part of the fortified area of this late settlement.