The urban development of Limyra in the Hellenistic period

The FWF-project »Urban development of Limyra in the Hellenistic period« deals with the size, structure, and townscape of the east Lycian city of Limyra (Turkey) mainly from the rule of the Ptolemies to the early imperial period under consideration of the historical contexts.

The size and character of Zẽmuri/Limyra following its development into a royal seat by the dynast Perikle at the beginning of the 4th century BCE have been well studied through many years of excavations. Comparatively little is known about the urban development of Limyra in the Hellenistic period as is typical for the archaeological exploration of Lycia. The situation in other major cities of the region, such as Xanthos and Patara, is similar.

Preliminary work and initial results


Preliminary work for this project already provided first insights on the size of the city, its street grid as well as a change in the urban fabric which had been established in the Hellenistic period. In the ›west city‹ of Limyra the city wall was discovered which had been built during the rule of the Ptolemies as part of a settlement expansion. Spolia discovered in the late antique city wall verify the existence of several monumental temples of the Hellenistic period that possibly significantly shaped the townscape. The first results of the geophysical surveys have also shed new light on the development of the city and demonstrate that the uniform orientation of the development established in the Hellenistic period was at least partially abandoned as a result of an unknown event.

Methods


The fieldwork for the project is being carried out with non-invasive (geophysics, spolia project) as well as with invasive (geoarchaeology, excavations) methods. These studies are primarily pursuing the objective of gaining an overview of the general inventory of the monuments primarily in the Hellenistic period and their orientation. The geophysical corings will lead to findings on the dating of newly formed watercourses of the Limyros throughout the history of the city as well as their obvious impact on the urban development. Several precise and small scale trenches will serve as a way to document the city limits, the nature, and the dating of the Hellenistic construction as well as the collection of information regarding the abandonment of the uniform orientation, possibly in the early imperial period.

Additional discoveries


By comparing the archaeological results with those from other Lycian cities, such as Patara or Xanthos, we expect to gain considerable insights into the structural development of Limyra during the Hellenistic period, into the chronology of the urban development, and the functional use of space which will lead to a significant increase in knowledge about the building activity of this period on the south-west coast of Asia Minor as a whole.