The excavation works of the area that lies around 150 meters west of the Maritime Villa; 40-50 meters east of Karakazan River (alias Kundakçınar) and on the east-western slope of the Kaletaşı Hill started in 2006 in order to spot the settlement enclaves, and important information was obtained regarding a city fortification dated back to 4th century BC.
The part of the fortification that has been unearthed until today is 20 meters long and is up to Karakazan River. The defensive wall makes a tower of 7.50x7.40 meters on the riverside and turns to south. The thickness of the wall is 3.26 meters. Occasionally on the wall, there are ten preserved rows standing on top of each other (3.00-3.25 meters high) forming rectangular blocks with embossed outer faces. At some points the blocks were vertically built to enhance the wall and rubble stones were filled in. Apart from a small part on its interior face, it is observed that the defensive wall had no euthynteria, on the contrary the blocks were placed directly on the soil in line with the slope of the hillside.
The layer of sand and pebbles discovered right at the outer surface of the fortification shows that Karakazan river had the same bed as it had today in the ancient times. The existence of around 3 meters of sand and pebbles as well as big rocks indicates that there were occasional floods in Karakazan River in the ancient times. During 2009-2010 winter season, the region was hit by floods due to heavy rains. This shows that the defensive wall, apart from playing an important role in the defence of the city, also served as a blockage against the floods by the Karakazan River. The layer of sand and pebbles right at the outer face of the defensive wall is a sign proving this line of reasoning.
If the city fortification is followed parallel to Karakazan River, right to the south of the tower, it is seen that the defensive wall continues but built with formless, big stones. At this part, approximately 5 meters of the wall has been unearthed and while the outer line was made of big formless stones, the inner filling materials were rubble stones like in the defensive wall. In front of this wall (its western side) there was a filling again made up of big stones. It was quite logical to think that that this wall of big, formless stones is a continuation of the defensive wall, as it had a thickness same as the defensive wall, and it started right when the embossed blocks ended. It was considered that this wall was built in a hurry in order to repair damage to the defensive wall either by a flood or by enemy raids, and that to further reinforce the wall; stones were piled in front of it. As arrow heads were found in the same area, it is safe to assume that the damage was made as a result of enemy attacks.
A drill was opened 10 meters south to track the defensive wall that continued eastward towards the sea as the wall continued parallel to Karakazan River after making the tower. It was found that the wall continued with roughly built stones as well.
The city fortification that had served as a blockage for the floods of Karakazan River and played an important role in the defence of the city during the Hellenistic period, lost its purpose after the city enlarged in the Roman period and the area was started to be used as residential district. In this period, a Roman construction together with a fireplace inside was found on the defensive wall’s tower. It was apparent that the defensive walls were used as the walls of the dwelling; a bath house on the east dating 4th century AD; and on the south a Roman house with mosaics dated early 4th century AD were also found. When the defensive wall is followed eastward, it is seen that it has slightly shifted southwards probably as a result of these damages and also as it entered under the base of the bath house.
The works to unearth the Roman bath house yielded its results as whole of the caldarium (hot room) was unearthed. Caldarium had a total size of 5.30x4.20 meters and it was divided into three sections by two walls of 0.70 m. The base of the first section (1.50x4.20 m.) on the north is supported by eight spolia tambour columns and mountings made up of big clay pipes (pilae). The hot air is transferred to the second section (sizes 2.80x4.20 m.) through three arches embedded into the dividing walls. The base of the section is also placed upon spolia materials. The third section (sizes 1.80x4.20m.) like the second has three arched structures for hot air transfer. There is a small piscine on the east side of the middle section. A hot air canal which is apparently later closed was found on the wall surrounding the Caldarium from south. This shows that the Tepidarium (warm room) of the bath house was on the south. The works done in the surroundings of the Caldarium revealed clay water pipes probably related with the bath house and some wall structures the usage of which yet unidentified. The mixed materials obtained at the bath house excavations made it difficult to get information concerning the period of the bath house, however the usage of spolia materials both in the walls and in the hypocaust system gives the idea that the structure could be dated to 5-6th century BC, a time when the Roman Empire started to lose its power and the prosperity declined. Apart from this, some late walls built partially upon the bath house obviously harmed its structure.
During the works carried out on the south of the defensive wall and on the west of the late walls in order to spot any early layers, rubble stone fillings were found on the upper levels. It is thought they were probably built to form a basis for the late period constructions at the south of the defensive wall’s overturned stone blocks. At lower levels, within the defensive walls, a few 4th century BC findings, Hellenistic materials and walls belonging to Hellenistic era buildings were unearthed. The drillings done inside the Hellenistic era structure lead to findings belonging to 5th century BC.
PhD Student, Ege University Faculty of Letters, Department of Classical Archaeology