Dr Mark Jackson
Research into the Byzantine levels at Kilise Tepe, a rural settlement located in the Göksu Valley of southern Anatolia between Silifke and Mut, continued for two months in 2009 (See BBBS 35, 70-72). Excavations at Kilise Tepe carried out during the 1990s were published in 2007 - when a new campaign of excavation began at this multi-period site. The Byzantine levels are excavated under the direction of Dr Mark Jackson with Prof J.N. Postgate (Cambridge) who is concentrating on the Iron and Bronze Age levels.
Our aim for the Byzantine levels in the 2009 season was to consider the role of the church within the wider settlement by excavating buildings located to the south and east of the church building (see plan 1). We began by finishing work initiated in 2008 in area K15, where we demonstrated that one of the walls of the building to the south ran up to the church and thus prevented movement around it. Post-dating the destruction of this wall we excavated a burial which must belong to a similar date as that found in 1998 (Jackson 2007: 196; Pearson 2007: 613-614).
Plan 1 (C. Colantoni): areas excavated at Kilise Tepe 2007-2009
Our focus however was the area east of the church. There we opened a large trench (squares M16, M17, L16 and L17 supervised by Sophie considerable size. The west wall of this structure ran on a NNW orientation passing 1.0m from the NE corner of the church whose east wall runs due north-south. The building had several large rooms and extends to the south and east where it remains unexcavated. Towards the centre was a space with a paved floor, and on the north side a walled, external area where two fire installations were built along the west side of the east wall. Several coins were recovered at floor level and a few larger vessels especially pithos bases and parts of Late Roman 1 amphorae were found but on the whole there were very few vessels left within these structures compared with elsewhere. One might question whether these spaces were cleared out. This building seems not to have been connected physically to the early Byzantine church but was clearly occupied during the same period. Its features suggest a domestic building, but its size - considerably larger than the house we excavated last year in M18 - and its position east of the church may be indicative of a link between its occupants and the church.
By contrast our work in N15 and O15 in 2007-8 seemed to suggest that the buildings in this area had been abandoned leaving their contents lying in situ within the structures. This year we extended our excavations from N15-O15 south into N14-O14 (supervised by Katie Green) in an attempt to establish the southern extent of the large complex of buildings in this area where, in 2007, we had just caught the northern end of a room built up against the south side of W4701.
KT Photo 1 (Bob Miller, University of Canberra): View of the early Byzantine building excavated in N14-O14. View looking N towards steps on NW side: Note the bench running along the west side of the East wall and central stone block.
Access into the room whose floor was at a lower level than the surfaces outside was made possible by a stone staircase running south from the NW corner and also perhaps initially by a doorway in the south wall (see KT Photo 1). A stone bench, 2.37m long, 0.67m wide and 0.35m high, ran along the north end of the east wall W5200 and an internal partition wall, terminated with a vertical wooden post, divided up the south end of the room where several storage jars were located. On the north side of this partition wall there was a fire installation made of two large stones tipping in towards each other closely associated with a plain juglet. In the centre of the room was a large circular limestone block 0.62m in diam. with pock marks in the surface. The room was flagged at the north end and towards the south the floor made of tamped earth on which a late Roman Amphora 1 was resting. The layout and finds would support several interpretations for this room which may have formed part of a domestic structure or possibly a workshop.
These spaces continue to provide new insights into the social dynamics and economy of this early Byzantine rural settlement and to contribute to the broader debate about the transition from late Antiquity by engaging with questions such as the impact of the Persian and Arab incursions of the 7th century on life in the Göksu valley.