The Marble Quarry at Bozdağ

A previously unrecorded marble quarry was identified by staff of the Bodrum Museum in the late 90s, and further visits by museum staff and members of a Danish team in 1999 and 2004 has resulted in a report being published in Halicarnassian Studies Vol. V1 

The quarry is located on the northeast side of the summit facing the Bodrum – Gümüşlük road. It’s comparatively small, only measuring approximately 10m x 10m and enclosed on four sides except for the narrow entrance.

The shelves and ledges from where the marble was quarried remain, and tool marks are still visible on all the worked faces

The report does not specify the depth of the quarry workings as the floor level is partially filled with a deep layers of chippings and fragments

When we visited the site in 2010 there was evidence of a recent excavation at the foot of the main cutting face, possibly to try and identify the original floor level.

The excavation at least 2m deep, was either still in progress or had been partially back filled as the the natural floor level was not visible.

The report states that it is difficult to date the quarry. Two samples of the marble were taken for isotropic analysis by Prof Norman Hertz in 1999 and using those results the samples were compared with test results from various samples of marble from the Mausoleum but the results were negative “and all show very different isotopic qualities

Whilst the quarry may not have been in use during the earlier classical period when the Mausoleum was constructed, the proportions of unfinished blocks and several columns lying on the slope in front of the quarry has lead Berkaya and Pedersen to propose that the quarry may well have been active during the late Roman period.

The close proximity of the quarry to Myndos has raised the possibility that Bozdağ marble could be found in late Roman or Byzantine buildings at Gümüşlük, but to date no reference has been made by the Uludağ University archaeologists of any marble being submitted for isotopic analysis.

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry
The Quarry Entrance

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry Southern Face Western Ledges
The Southern Vertical Face Of The Quarry And Ledges On The Western Face

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry Tool Marks
Tool Marks Are Still Visible On Most Of The Rock Faces

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry Excavation
Evidence Of Excavations (2010)

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry Column
Partially Finished Column Approximately 50cm In Diameter and 3m Long, Lying On The Slope Outside The Quarry

Gümüşlük Bozdağ Quarry View
View From The Quarry Looking Back Towards Gümüşlük

The Bozdağ report also mentions a brief geological survey of the area in 1975 and 1985 by a team of German and Turkish specialists; their aim was to identify any evidence for the extraction of metal ores during different historical periods. They found quarries and metal working slag both near the coast and on the northeast side of Bozdağ.

According to the team the metals being extracted were mainly lead and silver, and they suggest that quarrying for metal ore was still taking place as late as 1957.
There is also a suggestion that the place name Gümüşlük indicates that quarrying for metal ore was taking place during the Middle Ages.

W R Paton & J L Myres who visited Bozdağ and Myndos in the 1890s reported noticing large quantities of slag from silver workings on the beach south of Gümüşlük, and the remains of a furnace that were still to be found on the road leading from the beach towards Kadikalesi.

It seems likely that the more recent quarrying works have destroyed any traces of earlier activity and without further investigations it is not possible to know if the extraction of metal ores was of importance to Classical or Roman Myndos.

1 “Bozdağ – an ancient town and marble quarry near Myndos on the Halikarnassos Peninsula” Bahadir Berkaya and Poul Pedersen, Halicarnassian Studies Vol. V. Univesity Press of Southern Denmark 2008, ISBN 978-87-7674-293-5

Below is a link to a short video of the quarry

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