One of the important sectors in Antandros excavation works is the Roman villa, also called "Maritime Villa". In the site in which the works started in 2001; 19 villas have been uncovered to date, covering an area of 1100 m2. Unlike the classical Roman peristyle house type, it was built in an architectural style called "sequential house type" as it was placed on a slope facing the sea. The six rooms, which lie side by side on a 32.90 meter long portico, constitute the main areas of the house. Apart from this, latrina (toilet), kitchen, crypto-portico, terrace and a splendid bath are the other important places that make up the Maritime Villa.
The Maritime Villa stands out with its floor mosaics and frescoes. Due to the slope on the hillside, the villa was placed on the terraces and the six rooms alongside the rooms 1 and 4 have fairly well preserved mosaic floorings, the floor of Room 3 is covered with marble. Room 1's walls are decorated with frescoes made up of single figurative panels placed between stylized columns. In addition, the room called apodyterium (dressing room) of the bathroom has fully preserved mosaic flooring and also frescoed walls.
Excavations carried out on the villa showed that it was constructed in the late 3rd century AD and was used alongside with some renovations until the 6-7th century AD. Then, the people escaped from the Arab raids taking place in Western Anatolia, so they abandoned the city and moved to a quite sheltered natural fortress, a place now called Şahinkalesi.
Portico and Rooms
The main living area of the house is the portico and the six rooms lined up side by side. The room we call Room 1 is on the western side and, with its fully preserved mosaic and wall paintings, it is the most striking part of the Maritime Villa. It is a square room of 6.80 x 6.80 meters and the protected height of the room is 2.70 meters. The door knob that was found on-site openly revealed that the entrance to the room was with a door that had a 4-winged opening towards the sides.
The base mosaic of the place used as winter Triclinium (reception hall) is composed of a description of a large-sized passion fruit design with two birds’ drinking water from a cantharus (beverage pot) at the centre. In the edge frames, there are wave and meander motifs. The mosaic is complete except for very small deficiencies. There are 6 panels separated by stylized columns in each of the western, northern and eastern walls of the square-shaped room. Within each panel is a single human figure. The human figures may be referred as servants by way of the objects they hold in their hands; but they are depicted with elegant clothes. During the excavations many plastered mosaic pieces were found indicating that in that part of the house there should be a second floor. However, up until to date, no architectural elements have been found to prove the existence of a second floor.
Located in Portico, Room 3 is the most magnificent room in the house. The entrance of the room used as summer triclinium (reception hall) is supported by two Attic-Ion columns. The basis of one of these columns is found intact on the site. The room had no doors and was accessed through three spaces. It is the same size as Room 1, and the floor of this square-shaped room was completely covered with opus sektile marble flooring. Most part of the covering is preserved today. It is understood that all the walls were covered with marble panels as well; but none was preserved. No marble was found inside the soil taken out from the room base during the excavations. So it is thought that the marble panels were taken away when the owners were leaving the house. What we only see today are the traces of marble panelling on the plaster.
In the part corresponding to room 3 of the mosaic flooring in the portico, the panels were differently made than the geometric patterns in other parts. The medallion section at the main centre of the panel which is in front of the entrance has figures of a running panther and birds at the corners, but these did not last to see our day. This different panel on Portico is another proof of the specific attention paid to Room 3.
Room 4 is also one of the important places in the portico. The entire room (3.50 x 6.80 meters) was decorated with geometric patterns called favus (honeycomb). While some of the mosaics were intact, due to the destruction in other parts the surface of the mosaics was covered with sand. No mosaic flooring or frescoes were found in rooms 2, 5 and 6 of Portico.
Judging by their locations, Room 2, Room 4 and Room 5 can be regarded as important parts of the house. However, mosaics and wall paintings, which are most likely to be found in these rooms, were destroyed due to the base water problem that has persisted since the foundation of the house and were replaced with a rough plaster at later stages.
The latrina (toilet) of the house is located at the right hand side of the area where the Portico ends with a door on the east. The latrina which is built upon a sewage system with a 1.20 m. high and 0.80 m wide structure was planned to serve at least two people at a time. The sewer line continues rising towards north, it passes through the north wall of the crypto-portico which determines the house boundary and reaches the upper terrace. The line on the north terrace is a larger line with1.85 m. high. The sewage system is a large and robust one, and this indicates that the line is not built only for this specific residence and it shows the presence of a wealthy neighbourhood where there are many more houses like the Maritime Villa.
Semi-circular shaped stairs positioned on the left hand side of the Portico provide passage to downstairs terrace and to the bathroom. Only two rows of the staircase remained today. On the immediate west of this area is the apodyterium (changing room), which also constitutes the entrance to the bath room. The room with the size of 11m.X3.40 m. has a vaulted roof system. In order to enhance the roof system, an extra arch is constructed at the very centre of the room. The mosaics in the room are fully preserved.
Under the arch at the centre of the room, an inscription wrought upon mosaics was found. The inscription is in Greek saying "Live forever and in prosperity with the founder, oh Margareites, who loves his brother”. In the eastern part of the room there are niches to sit and undress. In addition, there are two doors in this section; the one in the north wall opens up to the kitchen and the one on the south wall opens up to the tepidariuma (warm room). During the final usage of the place in 7th century, these doors were covered up by building upon them and a sitting platform was constructed from one end to the other on the southern side of the room.
Tepidarium is a fresco with marble flooring and its walls have marble imitations in the same style as the walls of apodyterium. Only plaster tracks of the marble covering remained. On the west of the room, there are two square planned piscinas (cold water pool). Large stone blocks were placed in the north-eastern section of the oven at a later stage. In the first phase of the place, there was a door leading to the caldarium of the house.
The Caldarium (warm room) is a large room with its basin and walls covered with marble. Under the floor, there is a hypocaust system which includes the tepidarium as well. There is an apsis area on the southern edge of the room. The area to the north of the room is the praefurnium (burning chamber) of the bathroom. At a later stage caldarium lost its bathing function and another small bathroom in the northern part was built at a higher level. The hypocaust system of the second bath, which also has a burning hole of its own, was built with terracotta pipes taken and reused from another source. The praefurnium, which lost its function in this period, was also converted into an oven.
Apart from these places, there is a grand hall at the northern part of the bathroom which is thought to be used as a dining hall. The small area at the southwest part of the room is thought to be used as a kitchen. Data has been reached to suggest that there was a second floor on top of this place. The two staircases, one at the opposite of the spot where Portico ends on east and second at the eastern part of the villa, indicate the existence of a terrace over this area.
PhD Student, Ege University Faculty of Letters, Department of Classical Archaeology