Excavations in 2005 and 2006

Excavations in 2005[1]

Following the survey in 2004 a licence was granted to begin excavating some of the features identified in the report, however the team were restricted to those areas on state or municipality owned land.

With a small team of 14 archaeologists and students lead by Professor Mustafa Şahin three areas were selected: A rescue excavation of three rock cut tombs unearthed during road works on the Gümüşlük Yalikavak road, the bath complex and the structure in the mouth of the harbour opposite Rabbit Island.

The three rock tombs had been badly damaged during the road construction work. however a number of grave goods were found during the excavation i.e. several glass and ceramic unguentaria (small bottles commonly associated with funerary rites) and a ceramic oil lamp which suggested that the tombs may be dated to the 1st century AD.

The Baths

From the existing remains the archaeologists estimate that the external dimensions would have been 38m x 12m and over 9m high with a vaulted roof, part of the apsidal northern portion is still intact.

The disparity in the thickness of the western wall at 2.5m compared with the eastern wall at only 1m raised the possibility that the latter is a dividing wall consequently, if correct, further excavations are required to establish the eastern limit of the building.

One of the findings that supports the theory for the building being a bath complex are the fragments of marble slabs / tiles and waterproof mortar lining some of the walls. 
During the excavation of the western half of the apse a thick layer of ash was discovered and the report suggests that the majority of the marble slabs may have recycled at a later date, by the use of a kiln, to produce lime.

No dates were suggested for the construction of the building, but a fragment of a Byzantine pottery ampulla with a cross motif indicates that it was probably still in use during this period. The report concludes with a statement that excavations would continue in 2006 however I am unaware of any further excavations of this area during the period 2006-2013.

Apsidal Wall of the Bath Complex

Fragment of the Marble Lining

Harbour Building

A small two roomed structure at the entrance to the present harbour, opposite Rabbit Island had been identified during the 2004 survey. The exact purpose of the building was unknown but it was assumed that it was connected with the control of the harbour, the full excavation was going to take two years but by the end of 2005 the archaeologists were able to state the following.

The structure had originally had an arched roof covered by terracotta tiles; the first room was plastered and had a “belted fresco”. There was a mosaic floor dated to the 5th century AD which had later been overlaid with marble slabs, and that this later phase was connected to Christian practices as they found a number of marble artefacts with cross motifs. A preliminary excavation of the second room, to the rear of the building, identified architectural marble which was thought to be in situ.

Harbour Building 

Excavation in 2006[2]

The previous year’s excavation were under the direction / presidency of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, by the start of the 2006 excavation season the directorship had passed to Prof Mustafa Şahin of Uludağ University. 2006 also saw the construction and opening of a purpose built research centre complete with accommodation and storage facilities.

This year with a larger team of 10 archaeologists and 34 students and with arrangements in place to work on privately owned land, the excavations started with seven trenches being dug in the area where a concentration of features were identified in the 2004 Survey i.e. the field bordering the Western Harbour with the objective of trying to locate the centre of the classical city.

Area Containing the First Seven Trenches

The fist trenches came down on part of a preserved water supply system, the pipes lie on a foundation of purposely laid masonry and are encased in “thick plaster”. At some point the pipe had been repaired by the addition of a large piece of worked stone.

Water Supply System With Repair Just Visible Top Right

Water Supply Laid On Worked Masonry 

The continuation of the water supply system was found in a trench adjacent to the “Harbour Church” where the archaeologists were looking for a possible earlier alter. Although the alter was not found the team did uncover sherds of pottery dating from the Orientalising period, the sherds are dated to 740 – 700 BC, several hundred years earlier than Mausolus’ Myndos (circa 350 BC).

The next series of trenches were excavated on and around the potential temple site situated on an outcrop of natural rock. These trenches revealed the possible temenos walls (the boundary or division between the public area and the sanctuary or sacred area). The construction method along with fragments of red and black pottery fragment used as packing / filling suggests a date of circa 350 BC.
Worked Natural Stone on the Western Face of the
Rock Outcrop. Possible Temple Site

Columns on the Possible Temple Site

A trench on top of the outcrop uncovered a building with a mosaic floor dating from the Byzantine era.  Little detail is given about the mosaic, but a report titled Myndos Mosaics by Derya Şahin[3] describes it as being 490 x 54 cm constructed of white, black, yellow, green and brown tesserae forming a pattern of hexagons filled with squares. The interlaced bands of the mosaic were very similar to a previously recorded mosaic found at Torba, raising the possibility that both mosaics were produced by the same workshop in the 5th or early 6th century AD.

The most notable find from this area was a marble block on which remained 17 lines of text. The inscription describes how the people of Stratonikeia (near Eskihisar) had petitioned Myndos for privileges including  tax exemption, similar to those  afforded to the people of Alabanda (near Çine), suggesting that Myndos was an important business or administrative centre during this time.(The two cities were 100km & 80km away respectively). No date is recorded for the inscription.

There is no map or diagram included in the web-report to show where the 7 trenches were located. There is a single reference to Trench E where obsidian fragment were found. Obsidian, like flint, was used for the production of tools and weapons during the Stone and Bronze Ages which again led the archaeologists to suggest early activity in the area many centuries before Mausolus rebuilt Myndos.

In Sep 06 we noticed a trench in the area of the proposed theatre, but unless this is Trench E there is no reference to it the excavation in the report.

Theatre Trench ?

Trench in the Area of the Proposed Theatre

A second area was excavated between the university research building and the Mimosa Restaurant this revealed a paved area with an in situ base and part of a Doric column suggesting that structure may be the  remains of a stoa (covered walkway) overlooking the harbour.

Possible Stoa

Possible Stoa

The team also returned to the building in the harbour entrance no mention is made of the architectural marble referred to in the 2005 report but the excavation of the second room did reveal a large number of marble plates which bore Christian cross design and a natural fresh water spring. As the spring appears to flow directly out of the rock face, at the rear of the building, it raises the question was the building constructed on the site a “sacred spring”?

To date (Jun 14) these were to be the last excavations on the mainland as the state licence to excavate was suspended in 2007 and when excavations recommenced in 2009 the work was restricted to Asar Adasi / Tavşan Adasi (Rabbit Island). Although no digging has been allowed on the mainland since 2006 there have been a series of non-invasive investigations in the form of a  field survey in 2010 and geophysical surveys in 2011 & 2012 which identified several targets for further investigation. See Theatre Page

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