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Mapping Ancient Roads In Anatolia

Author(s): S. Frederick Starr


Source: Archaeology, Vol. 16, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1963), pp. 162-169
Published by: Archaeological Institute of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41670367
Accessed: 25-12-2015 02:59 UTC

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Ancient

Mapping
In

By

Roads

Anatolia

S.

Frederick

Starr

An expedition consisting
of threeYale undergradu- are usuallyreckonedin termsof the lengthof time
to traverse
them.Butin an age whenhalfa
ates and an aged jeep traveledthreethousandmiles necessary
acrossTurkeyduringthe summerof 1961, in an at- dozenmodesof transportation
mayexistside byside,
fromthree
indicate
the
can
an
hour
on
road
ancient
roads.
and
to
locate,
anything
map
tempt
photograph
Afterthreemonthsin thefieldfreshevidencerelating to thirtymiles. To confusemattersstill more^we
to the routeof the PersianRoyal Road had been were morethanonce sentto look for roadswhich
smoke"or even"a story"
turnedup, excellentexamplesof road and bridge- weresaid to be "a cigarette
four
hunhad
been
and
studied,
away!
buildingtechniques
dred miles of Roman highwayhad been recorded,
the
with the resultthat the locationsof nine Roman The expedition's primaryaim was to ascertain
Persian
the
followed
Anatolia
across
route
identiheretofore
undiscovered
and
Royal
by
towns,
wrongly
Road on its way fromSusa, in southernIran, to
fied,couldbe pinpointed.
Whateversuccesstheexpeditionachievedmustbe Sardis,on thewestcoastof Turkey.Did Darius'great
roadmakea wide arcto thenorththrough
in largepartto the "teahousemethod"of messenger
attributed
the
first
weeks
which
was
devised
Bogazkyand Gordium,or did it follow a more
during
exploration,
of thesummer.
The processconsistedof threesteps. southernroutesuch as the one later used by the
and othersources, Romanhighway?In spite of the factthatthe hisancientitineraries
First,bystudying
road torianHerodotusmentionsthatthe road crossesthe
we narrowed
thearea of searchfora particular
- a coursepossibleonly
milesin width;next, curvingHalys River twice
to a band fromone to twenty
- the debatehas ragedfor a
northern
route
on
the
the entirearea thusselectedwas carefully
explored;
in century.
theancientsourceswerere-examined
and, finally,
foundthreenewpiecesof evidence
Our expedition
lightof the newlydiscovereddata. Since our eyes
routetheory.First,grave
northern
of
the
in
or completely support
couldnotbe trusted
to detecta partially
civiliand post-Persian
buriedroad,we came to relyheavilyon reportsof tumuliof both pre-Persian
northern
of
the
the
zations
exist
and
at
the
and
of
length
throughout
villagesprings
loungers
shepherds
teahouses.To our surprisewe foundthat immense route.Thesewereplacedso as to be withineasyview
storesof archaeological
knowledgelie in the tradi- of the traveler.Moreover,the foursuccessivepavein mentsand the deep wheel rutsworn into exposed
tionshandeddownfromgeneration
to generation
routewas alrocksurfacessuggestthatthenorthern
rural Anatolia.However,the unwritten
of
library
of east-west
communicadatapossessedbythevillageeldersandhojas (priests) waysan indispensable
artery
now in its tion and trade.Second,two small rock-cutreliefs
is not beingpassed on to the generation
teensand twenties;unlessthissourceis tappedim- whichwere foundjust west of the Halys near the
this conit will be lostwiththepassingof theolder village of Hasanoglanfurtherstrengthen
mediately
a
of huge
both
situated
are
clusion.
among
They
pile
generation.
In spiteof carefulplanning,unexpected
but often bouldersnear a flowingspringdirectlyadjacentto
humorous
difficulties
arose.Distancesin ruralAnatolia the ancientroute.The smallerof the two,depicting
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a group of eleven figuresin full frontalview, is


of manyreliefsfromPalmyra;theother,
reminiscent
of gods, includshowsa gathering
Roman,
probably
Herculesand Aesculapius,
ingDionysuson a panther,
undera double-arched
standing
portico.
of thenorthThese findsall attesttheimportance
ern routebeforeand afterthe Persianoccupation;
for the thirdpiece of evidencewe must turn to
of the PersianRoyal Road
Herodotus'description
of the PersianWars Herodotus
itself.In his history
theHalyshas to be crossed,
says:"On leavingPhrygia
whichyoumustpass
and heretherearegatesthrough
the stream."(v.52). In the same
beforetraversing
passagehe uses"gates"to describethefamousCilician
Gateson theborderbetweenCappadociaand Cilicia.
to notethatHerodotususes theword
It is significant
"gates" to describefeaturesof the terrainrather
thanman-madedoors.This is provedbeyondques-

tionwhenhe addsthata garrison


was postedbythem.
Had the gates been nothingmore than a set of
woodendoorsthegarrisonwould have beenuseless,
for an invadingarmycould easilyhave made a detouraroundthespot.
A majorobjectiveof our workwas, therefore,
to
locate the "gates" to which Herodotusalludes.By
studyingtopographic
maps and examiningthe terrainwe foundtheonlyspotwhichfitsthedescription
to be northof thevillageof Elmadag,wherethereis
a deep,narrowgorgeintowhichtheancientroaddips
before reachingthe Halys. There are no similar
else on thewestbankof theHalys
"gates"anywhere
nor on the southernhighway;if the Royal Road
crossedthe riverelsewhereor if it followedthe
southern
route,massive'gates" on the samescaleas
of
thesewill have to be foundor else the authority
Herodotus
willhaveto be ignored.

ofsitesmentioned,
locations
andancient
roadsleadingto them.
MapofAnatolia
showing
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at Samsat(ancientSamosata).The "teahouse
The authorwithvillagers
ontheseconversations.
method"
ofworkreliesheavily

Wheelrutswornintostoneon theancient
routedueeastofKayseri.

withoneofthetworeliefs
foundnearthevillageofHasanTheboulder
routeofPersian
oglan,eastofAnkara,
RoyalRoad.
alongnorthern

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Viewovertherooftops
of thevillageofKayseri,
to therangeofhillsto thenorth.
theancient
The
Caesarea-Mazaca,
marks
tumulus
visibleon thehorizon
theancient
route.

Usuallythe paving stoneswere placed directlyon


Anatolia
continued
emsub-surface
earth,fortheimpressive
preparation
Fifty-five miles east of the Halys manyof the ployedin Italy and the westernprovinceswas unancientroutesturnedsouthward
and cameeventually necessary
in arid Anatolia.Local materialswere alto Caesarea-Mazaca,
modernKayseri.Here caravan ways utilizedand, judging fromthe patchesand
routesand roads fromthe coast and the Euphrates modifications
which we observedeverywhere,
the
area joined the Anatolianroutes.West of Kayseri, standard
of maintenance
washigh.
A lesswellknownroutefromcentralAnatoliaand
edgeof an old lake,we cameupon
alongthesouthern
the perfectly
Romanroad whichled from Galatiato Ciliciapassedthroughthecitiesof Dorypreserved
Caesarea-Mazacato the Cilician Gates, Tarsus and laeum and Amorium.Of Roman origin,this road
thesouthcoast.This branchof thenorthsouthhigh- was maintained
underByzantine
ruleand used byeraas the amongothers themartyr
St. Sabas and theEmperor
waycameto be knownduringtheByzantine
"Pilgrims'Road" to theHoly Land. Even todayit is ConstantineVII (913-959) on his marchagainst
knownlocallyas "the ancientBaghdad road." The Tarsus.As so oftenhappened,thebarelydiscernible
durablepavementwas constructed
was shownus bya shepherd
whosefather
remarkably
shortly roadsurface
afterthe Roman conquest.At a later date it was had pointedit out to him.The disregard
shownthis
and modern
widened,obviouslyin responseto increasedcom- routeby ancientwritersof itineraries
mercialtraffic
of the Chris- geographers
alikedid notlead us to expectthe8.70m.
duringthefirstcenturies
tianera.A courseof stonesaddedto eachside of the wideimperialhighway
to whichwe weredirected.
- one of eighteen
road enlargedits width from6.60 to 8.60 meters An interesting
Romanmilestone
- was found
28
to
thus
two
wide
and
enabled
vehicles
discovered
feet)
(21%
bytheexpedition
inscriptions
topasseachotherwithout
in
in the
the
its
roadside
buried
delay.
originalpositionby
Fromthisroad and othersfoundon the surface, villageof Kiravdan.On it was inscribed
thedistance
excavations
conducted
and thenamesof theroad'sbuilders,
through
by theexpeditionand fromDorylaeum
a pictureemerges theemperors
Gallus and Volusianus(a.D. 251-253);
by meansof aerialreconnaissance
of thetypicalRomanhighwayin Asia Minor.Widths thehand of a provincial
stonecarver
Greek-speaking
6.
10
m.
28
to
8.70
all
from
to
and
evident
is
from
the
and
occasional
sub(20
feet),
vary
misspellings
laid curbsand neatlycon- stitutions
the roadshave carefully
of Greekletters
forLatinones.
structed
centerridges.The actualpavementconsists
of smallpebblescoveredwitha thinlayerof gravel. The necessity of knowingtheexactrouteof a road
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ofgods,including
a number
Closerviewofoneofthereliefs
at Hasanoglan,
showing
Dionysuson a panther,
andAesculapius.
Hercules

thereis a moundon whichRomanpottery


and other
remains
havebeenfound.
Whentheexpedition
arrivedin Yalak fromGksun
to
beforeusingtheevidenceof theancientitineraries
of a groupof farmersand shepherdshappenedto be
locatecitiesalong it was shownin the discovery
theRomantownof Sirica,in Cappadocia.According assembledat thespring.Upon beingaskedtheroute
a third-century
to the AntonineItinerary,
document, of the Romanroad fromYalak to Kayseria heated
Sirica was situatedbetweenCaesarea-Mazacaand debatearoseamongthem,afterwhichtheirspokesmiles from man supplied us with a long list of landmarks
Cucusus(modernGksun), twenty-four
the latter.Cucususlies at the foot of a high and whichthe road passed. AlthoughneVermorethan
buried for long
of theTaurus barelydiscernibleand frequently
seemingly
impassablerangeof foothills
the routeso informally
outlinedprovedto
is reachedin stretches,
Mountains
; thenaturalroutenorthward
a north-south
valleyone and one-halfmileswestof be preciseto thelastdetail!
The locationof Colonia Germa on the Ancyrathe town.During the last centurya milestonewas
in thatvalley,and on thebasisof thisfind Pessinusroadhas longbeena subjectof debate.Since
discovered
foundtwo
milesup theAustriandiplomatHans Dernschwam
geographers
simplydrewa line twenty-four
remains
in
the
Germa
to
the valleyto the town of Kemer.This, theycon- inscriptions
1555,
relating
have
"disof
A.D.
been
this
the
first
of
was
the
site
of
ancient
Sirica.
cluded,
century
city
of the
sitesin thevicinity
Our expeditiondiscoveredthatthe road to Sirica covered"at fivedifferent
concerning
actuallyleftCucususfromthe east and enteredthe moderntown of Sivrihisar.Information
north-south
valleyonlyafterclimbingoverthe mas- Germa's locationis again drawnfromthe Antonine
if the ancientdocumentis to be trusted,
sive hills behindthe city.Had theRomanengineers Itinerary:
with providinga road to Germastoodat the junctionof threeroadscoming
been concernedprimarily
Cucusus,theroutedownthevalleywouldhave been fromAncyrato theeast,Dorylaeumto thewest,and
was Pessinusto thesouth.Sincethereare remainsof sevthemostdirect.However,theroad'sdestination
townsin thevicinity,
notCucususas muchas thehead of theTauruspass eralsmallRomanand Byzantine
thepoint
to determine
to theeast; thehill routewas utilizedin order it was all themoreimportant
farther
to avoid the added distanceinvolvedin passing at whichthe roadscametogether.
Beginningon the
Gordium
in thevillagewhere Ancyraroad we workedwestwardthrough
Cucusus.Upon inquiring
through
had beenfound,we learnedthatit had and intoa narroweast-west
themilestone
valley.By followingthe
thefieldsand consultbeendraggeddownfromthehill in orderto serveas trailof pavingstonesthrough
milesfrom ing withthemenwho farmtheland,we locatedthe
a gravemarker.
twenty-four
By measuring
Cucususalongthecorrected
route,we foundthatthe junctionnear the villageof Babadat.A tourof the
siteof ancientSiricafallsnearYalak where,in fact, villageand an hourspentin theteahouseturnedup a
Anatolia

continued

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Romanroadleadingsouthfrom
to thesiteofancient
Kayseri
TyanaandtheCilicianGates.Notethestonesaddedto the
to widenit.
edgeoftheoriginal
pavement

on the DoryMilestonenearKiravdan,
laeum-Amorium-Cilician
Gatesroad.

of
locations
showing
Map of theareaaroundGksunin Cappadocia,
ancient
CucususandSirica.
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for the foundation


of the pre(Right)Cuttings
RomanbridgenearSamosata.

ontheroadto Samosata.
eastofthebridges
Quarry
wastakenfromhere.
Stoneforbothbridges

RomanbridgeneartheEuphrates
Riverwestof ancientSamosata.
The roadran
from
Samosata
toZeugma.
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foundburiedin the entrance


to the
Left:Latininscription
to M. Varushelpedfixthe
mosqueat Babadat.Thisdedication
siteof ColoniaGerma.Right:Sectionof theRomanroadnear
Gordium
leadingfromAncyra(Ankara)to ColoniaGermato
excavated
andbytheUniversity
of
Pessinus,
bytheexpedition
to Gordium.
Pennsylvania
expedition

Romanengineers
and canbe seenon thebrokenedges
of thenewerbridge; thesourceof materialforboth
several bridgeswas a largequarrywhichwe foundalongthe
largenumberof Romancoins and artifacts,
stonesof Romanoriginbuiltintothehousesand two roadseveralmilesto theeast.
The age of theearlierstructure
is notknown.Hownewinscriptions.
One of them,a dedication
to Marcus
in thetimeof Vespasian, ever,its size and the skill shownin preparingthe
PlanciusVarus,a statesman
was carefully
dug fromthe entranceto the village rockygorge for its foundationsindicatethat premembers
of theexpedition
and thevillage Romanroad systemsin Asia Minor were far more
mosqueby
hoja. As we worked,an old man fromamongthe highlydevelopedthanthecrudecaravantrailsusually
crowdof spectators
thatthisstoneand the envisagedby scholars.Owing to lack of time,the
mentioned
was able to followtheroadwhichcrossed
othersin Babadathad beendug up at thejunctionof expedition
- a shortdistancein
miles
thethreeroads.An inspection
of thesiteboreouthis thebridgesforonlythirty
But
Anatolia.
the
summer's
work
did producea good
several
more
architectural
and
testimony;
fragments
funeralstelaeindicatedthata Romantownhad in- samplingof the sortof roadsand townswhichare
deed stood there.Thus the site of Colonia Germa stillto be foundand identified
by meansof a very
If
the
to
came
near
rest
Babadat.
simpletechnique.
archaeological
finally
knowledgeof
the
older
of
can
be
Turks
recorded
mention
before
should
be
made
of
two
generation
Finally,
important
vast amountsof new information
on a tributary
of the it is lost forever,
bridgeswhichwerediscovered
thehistorical
Euphrates,nineteenmiles west of Samosata in will be acquiredconcerning
geography
theprovince
of Adiyaman.
The largerand laterof the of Anatolia.
two is a massiveimperialstructure
belongingto the
- two of
four
its
arches
highway;
Samosata-Zeugma
fromYale University
in 1962
whichhavecollapsed spanneda distanceof seventy- THE AUTHORgraduated
and attended
in 1962-63on
King'sCollege,Cambridge,
sevenmeters(over250 feet) and reacheda maximum the EhrmanStudentship.
he has spentseven
Although
in archaeological
in bothAmerica
and
pursuits
heightof 13.50 m. (about 44 feet). Cuttingsfor a summers
he doesnotplanto makearchaeology
hiscareer.
of a smallerand earlierbridgewerefound Turkey,
foundation
Theexpedition
described
herewasmadepossiblethrough
nearbyon the rockybank of the stream.The far grantsfromtheAmerican
Philosophical
Societyand the
Members
of thepartyinSociety.
greaterage of thesecondbridgeis shownbythefact NationalGeographic
cluded
Donald
A. Metz,ReubenJ. Richandtheauthor.
thatthe road whichled to it was unpaved.All the
Professor
S. YoungoftheUniversity
of PennsylRodney
stonesfromthe earlierbridgewere utilizedby the vaniamade
a jeepavailableandoffered
valuableadvice.
Anatolia

continued

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