Archaeological fieldwork in the northern chora of Limyra (Toçak Dağı), Lycia

The massif of the Toçak Dağı shapes the northern hinterland of Limyra. It bears traces of ancient use up to the summit. The aim of the project is the systematic investigation of the archaeological surface contexts in order to gain knowledge about the use and historical development of the northern chora of Limyra in antiquity.

Topography


The Toçak Dağı rises above the coastal plain of Finike as the last southern foothill of the high mountains of the Beydağları. To the west, the massif is bordered by the valley of the Aykır Çayı, the ancient Arykandos, to the east by the valley of the Alakır Çayı. In antiquity both river valleys were important routes between the coast and the mountainous inland. The Alakır Çayı likely also functioned as the border to the neighboring town of Rhodiapolis.

The settlement on the southern summit 


The summit area of the Toçak Dağı consists of a plateau-like southern summit (1,197 m) and a northern summit (1,220 m). The summit plateau of the southern summit covers an area of 2,800 m2 and was surrounded by a wall. The northern side had the strongest fortification and four towers offered additional protection. Technical details such as the absence of tie blocks and building typological comparisons suggest a construction of the enclosure in the classical period; this dating is also supported by the pottery finds. In light of the size of the walled-in area, a purely military interpretation can be excluded. Remains of internal construction indicate that it was a fortified hilltop settlement. A terrace 7 ha in size and to the west could have been the agricultural basis for this settlement; its ancient use is verified by pottery discovered on the surface.

The watchtower on the northern summit 


A fortification complex on the nearby northern summit encircled an area of about 700 m² and appears to have been built at about the same time as the settlement on the southern summit in the classical period. It was likely a watchtower or a fortress. From here the river valleys of the Arykandos and the Alakır Çayı to the north can be seen and the pass to the north of the Toçak Dagı can be monitored. 

The Lycian manor and the farmsteads on the slope of Koruca Tepe


The approximately 335 m high Koruca Tepe is the eastern foothill of the Toçak Dağı at the exit of the Alakır Çayı valley. Along its south-eastern slope a Lycian manor of the classical period was located that had been constructed on two artificial terraces. The western terrace with its high quality ashlar masonry accommodated the living area with an area of about 150 m2. The service quarters of the manor were likely located on the less lavish eastern terrace. The remains of at least two ancient farms are located a bit lower. Pottery finds and building typological comparisons suggest that they were also established in the classical period. The remains of press installations indicate the production of olive oil. 

The fortified settlement on the Koruca Tepe 


The upper area of the Koruca Tepe was occupied by a settlement with a fortification wall that took advantage of the terrain: the wall towards the valley blocked off the slope at about 265 m above sea level. Two additional walls followed the edge of the cliffs located on either side of the slope up to the summit. The circular wall thus formed surrounded an almost triangular area of about 0.9 ha. The summit was separated from the rest of the settlement by a kind of fortress. 

The type of wall from the oldest parts of the wall indicate that it was constructed in the Hellenistic period. The strategic location of the settlement as well as the dimensions and the quality of the fortification wall point towards a foundation through Limyra. The settlement on the Koruca Tepe was probably intended to monitor the strategically important exit of the Alakır Çayı valley and guard the border to the eastern neighboring town of Rhodiapolis. Remains of buildings within the walls bear witness to a second revival of the settlement in late antiquity. Several cisterns as well as a small church with an apse has been preserved from this period; the fortification was also repaired.