The study of the city of Ayasoluk from the end of antiquity to today

The first settlement traces, dating to the 11th century CE, can be located in the former sanctuary of the Ephesian Artemis and at the foot of the Ayasoluk hill; the monumental expansion of the city of Ayasoluk took place during the reign of the princes of Aydın as well as the early Ottoman period (second half 14th/first half 15th century). Numerous prayer houses, baths, and tomb monuments date to this period of growth. The finds confirm far-reaching trade relations to Spain, Syria, Iran, and China. 

The last great flourish: Ayasoluk in the 14th and 15th centuries

In the late 14th century CE a thriving metropolis developed around the Ayasoluk hill and as the seat of the princes of Aydın it was expanded as their administrative, commercial, and spiritual center. The numerous excellently preserved buildings, including the İsa Bey Mosque refurbished in the second half of the 20th century and the originally associated bath, are evidence of the former splendor of the city. Additional baths, small prayer houses, and many tombs (türbe) provide only an incomplete impression of the character and importance of the city under Turkish rule.

Trade hub Ayasoluk

Excavations in the Roman odeion which was used for housing purposes in the Turkish period, and in the İsa Bey Hamam have illustrated through pottery finds that close trade contacts existed reaching from Spain over Syria and Iran to China. The high standard of living and the supply of the population with prestigious luxury products is striking. Foreign products, particularly from Europe, also accompanied pilgrims and travelers into the region as is demonstrated by the numerous graffiti in the Christian pilgrimage sites.

Hamam IV - A medieval-early modern bath complex

The so-called Hamam IV is a well preserved medieval-early modern bathing complex located to the west of the Ayasoluk hill and was studied in more detail in the last several years. In addition to excavations, the building was precisely recorded through a combination of sketching techniques, photogrammetry, and 3D laser scanning.

The Hamam consists of four main rooms – a dressing room and three bathing areas – as well as two smaller, later added extensions on the south side. All rooms have a square plan and domes with light openings that are largely still fully preserved. A large rectangular water reservoir on the north side was originally covered with a barrel vault, however, only a toppled fragments are present in the interior.

From the praefurnium located underneath the water reservoir hot air ducts lead to the hypocausts that still exist in different versions in all rooms under the partially preserved floors. The course of the water pipes in the walls is clearly identifiable and can be traced from the water reservoir to the outlets in the individual rooms.

In the course of the dissertation by Petra Mayrhofer the following questions will be clarified: the chronology of the construction and the different building phases, the location and function of the heating components, the course of the water pipes and drainage as well as functional allocation of space. 

Ephesos – Ayasoluk: A history of tradition and discontinuity

The transformation time between late antiquity and the modern period poses a great challenge to archaeological research because the material culture thins out considerably and has only been roughly classified until now. Individual aspects, such as the relocation of the settlement or the abandonment of the churches has been well document, however, a holistic search for the cause is lacking. In a broadly designed interdisciplinary project the ›micro-region Ephesos‹ will be studied in its relationship to large-scale phenomena such climate change, changing economic systems, culturally caused discontinuity of traditions, among other topics.