Dark and Ferudun Özgümüş
IntroductionThe Istanbul Rescue Archaeological Survey, co-directed by Dr Ken Dark (The University of Reading) and Dr Ferudun Özgümüş (Istanbul University), seeks to record Byzantine or pre-Byzantine material at risk of damage or destruction in the western part of the walled area of Byzantine Constantinople (see BBBS 25 1998, 26 1999 and 28 2001). In 2002, the project focussed on the districts of Sofular, Iskender Paşa, Edirnekapı and Sarigüzel, immediately south of our 2001 area. A small contiguous zone between the Byzantine church of St Saviour in Chora (the Kariye Museum) and the Theodosian land walls was also examined in 2002. New material was recorded at many sites, including:
Fenari Isa Camii
The construction of a small garden within the mosque yard adjacent to the Byzantine church of Constantine Lips brought to light several unpublished architectural fragments, including white marble ionic impost column capitals, greyish-white marble panels and a white marble frieze fragment with foliate design. Other unpublished architectural fragments were found on the modern ground surface north of the Byzantine church.Kariye Camii sk.
A fragmentary vaulted Byzantine brick substructure was recorded in the basement of 3 Karlıtepe Apartments, Kariye Camii sk., on the west of the street running south from the front door of the Byzantine church of St Saviour in Chora. This substructure is partly filled with modern rubbish but comprises two vaulted spaces parallel with the modern street, with traces of a continuation towards the church. The substructure forms the raised area upon which the modern apartment block stands, although this is now entirely faced with modern stonework.
A fragmentary Byzantine inscribed white marble tombstone was found in the former Cuma Tekkesi on Neyzenler sk., now the overgrown backyard of a private house. Although the tombstone is broken, the inscription is complete.
The former site of Sarigüzel mosque
A Byzantine white marble architectural fragment with foliate decoration was found lying on surface of the Yikama Oto Park, opposite 66 Mutemet sk. The car park is the former site of Sarigüzel mosque.
Although this Ottoman mosque is known to occupy the site of the Byzantine church of St George, there is little trace of the church except for spolia in the mosque and its terrace walls. However, a line of eight Byzantine monolithic columns stands in the garden in the east of the mosque precinct.The church of St George, Edirnekapı
Although a wholly modern building, the church contains several re-used Byzantine artefacts. These include light grey marble Corinthian column capitals and a fragment of a Byzantine inscription reading TOKPAT on a light grey marble strip, similar to building inscriptions from the city walls.
Several unpublished features were recorded at Müller-Wiener’s Cistern D6/3, just off Sofular sk. and immediately north of Tekke sk.. Recent demolition of the Ottoman baths behind 108 Gül Apartments (south of the known structure) revealed the high brick wall published by Müller-Wiener, approximately 7.50m above adjacent 2002 ground level. Immediately to the northwest, two Byzantine brick walls form an inverted ‘reversed L’ shape. Only the main north wall was known to Müller-Wiener and the east-west arm does not appear on his plan. He also shows a return at a right angle from the main wall but this is no longer visible. The junction of the ‘new’ east-west wall and north-south wall is marked by an inverted white marble impost column capital, built into the structure on an unusual brick ‘mound’. This mound may be the opening of a cistern in the surface below, with the capital re-used as its cover.
The east-west wall seems to define a space immediately west of the published cistern, suggesting another structure in this area perhaps with a cistern, represented by the ‘mound’, beneath it. The stub of a higher and thicker east-west wall, extending from the north-south wall to the north of the inverted column capital, suggests that the main cistern also extended further to the west. A white marble monolithic column is mortared into the main north-south wall, north of this east-west wall.Cistern D6/1
The former mosque of Kambur Mustafa Paşa Camii stood on a Byzantine cistern only 25m from Cistern D6/3. The mosque has now been demolished and an eyewitness reports a Byzantine polychrome mosaic floor found on the top of the cistern when the mosque building was removed. The visible cistern has unpublished blocked and narrowed arches on the west side. The changes use Byzantine brick, suggesting modification within the Byzantine period.
Yesil Tekke sk.
Another possible Byzantine cistern was recorded between 8 Burak Apartments and 8/1 Doğan Apartments, Çik sk. off Yesil Tekke sk.. It has three vaulted bays with internal piers. Details are obscured by modern wall covering but Byzantine brickwork is visible in the northwest corner.
Bicakci Alaaddin Mescidi
Bicakci Alaaddin Mescidi is immediately south of Yesil Tekke sk. A Byzantine brick and light grey limestone structure (c.4.5m high) provides the foundation for a modern apartment block on the north side of a small square containing the mosque. In the detached graveyard of the mosque, immediately to the southwest across the square, there are two pinkish-grey granite Byzantine monolithic column shafts.Sulukule
The 2002 survey also examined the city land walls along the west of the study area. In addition to recording several ‘new’ pieces of architectural stonework, this led to the discovery of circular-section red ceramic pipes, set in light grey mortar faced with light grey limestone blocks, running parallel with the inner wall in three separate locations. These pipes are in the Sulukule (‘water tower’) area, where one might expect a water distribution point for the city to be located.
Aksaray metro station
A large grey marble monolithic column lay on the grass surface of the station’s grounds. This was probably found in recent construction work connected with the station, which has left a sizeable cutting open to the elements. The cutting contains a buttressed Byzantine structure running approximately north-south with smaller rooms on its west side. This could not be recorded as the cutting is immediately outside the 2002 survey area.
Iskender Paşa Camii
A granite monolithic column shaft is built into the mosque porch at Iskender Paşa Camii. This column is so similar to Byzantine columns reused in the fifteenth-century courtyard of Fatih Camii that it may derive from the same source, presumably the Church of the Holy Apostles. The mosque is located only a short distance south of the Fatih complex, on Okumus Adam sk.
It is hoped that the authorities will grant permission for a fifth season of survey in 2003. Analysis continues throughout the year and detailed publications of the project’s results continue to appear in both Turkish and English. A full monograph report is approaching completion.Acknowledgements
Special thanks due to the Ministry of Culture at Ankara for their permission to carry out the survey, to all of the staff at the Turkish Embassy and Consulate in London and to the relevant authorities in Istanbul for permission to visit their property. Thanks are also due to Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Hagia Sophia Museum, the Istanbul Guild of Tourist Guides and to the academic bodies that sponsor the project: LARG, The British Museum, and Istanbul University. We would also like to thank all those who carried out the fieldwork, in particular Dr Anthea Harris, Dr Ahmet Çobanoğlu and Mr Özgen Kadioğlu. Thanks too, to Mr Eser Altinay, Ms Şahane Muftoğlu and Dr Fiona Nicks for their translations and to Drs John Cherry and Chris Entwistle at The British Museum.
A brief preliminary report on the 2002 season (and preliminary reports on the 1998, 1999 and 2001 seasons) can be obtained from Dr Dark at 324 Norbury Avenue, London, SW16 3RL, for £7.00 each (postage paid UK, overseas postage extra). Enquiries about the project or related subjects may be emailed to: K.R.Dark@reading.ac.uk