52 Column Bases and the Stadium

The recent publication of the geophysics results which identified the probable site of the theatre throws some doubt on the interpretation of some of the standing remains recorded by Lt Comdr Graves RN in 1837, his suggested site for the theatre is approximately 430m south east of the location proposed by Uludağ University and the University of Hamburg. In his defence Graves, on his original chart submitted to the admiralty, describes the feature as the probable site of the theatre and its location is marked by faint dots rather than the bold lines used to indicate the location of the majority of other features on the chart.

Part of 1838 Chart L15373 Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)
Part of 1838 Chart L15373 Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)

Twenty years after Graves had mapped the area two more European visitors, C.T. Newton & Lieutenant Smith visited the site in 1857 and using Graves’ chart they located the 52 column bases and commented that the outline of the stadium was visible but “nearly obliterated”.

There is at least one historical reference to a stadium at Myndos. In a paper by Victor Matthews from the University of Guelph titled “The Greek Pentathlon Again” there is mention of a boy pentathlete from Kos who had won a stadion (sprint) victory at Myndos. There is no specific date for the boys’ race but it is cross referenced to an ancient inscription (IAG 60) dated circa AD 5 listing the same athlete’s later win as an adult.

In 2009 following Newton and Smith’s example and using a copy of Graves’ original 1837 chart, we identified what may be several of the column bases.

Part of 1838 Chart L15373 Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)
Part of 1838 Chart L15373 Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)
There are at least seven 75cm diameter stone columns / bases still in situ and they are located in an area which approximately corresponds with that shown on the naval chart. Five of the columns are all equidistantly spaced at 185cm intervals suggesting that they could be in their original configuration.

The stone from which the columns have been cut appears to be very similar to that used in some of the other structures associated with the ancient city and is most likely to be from the quarries at Koyunbaba.

Four Column Bases Possibly Still In Situ
On at least three of the pedestals it is still possible to identify the locating slots where further pieces of masonry would have been fitted, supporting the theory that they could be column bases.

If these are the columns bases shown on the chart, and the chart’s proposed location of the stadium is accurate, then the remains of the stadium could also be located within the same field boundaries.

In the same area there is a second series of columns bases with at least one right angled return which could be the small rectangular feature marked with dots adjacent to stadium

This series of bases are smaller and the majority have an approximate diameter of 50cm and appear to be spaced at 160cm intervals.

Although the positioning slots are not as noticeable on these smaller bases, there is evidence that at least some would have supported additional masonry.

Three of the Smaller Bases
Whether these columns are related to the possible stadium, and if so, how much of the structure still remains will only be known if the area is excavated. It is possible that a magnetometry survey of possible stadium site was conducted in 2011 by the team from the University Hamburg; as one of the survey are shown on their map corresponds with proposed stadium site. Link to the University of Hamburg Map

Locating Slot On One Of The Larger Bases

One Of The Smaller Bases With Possible
Locating Slot

Column Base and Slotted Pillar 

Linear Feature Which Runs Down the Western Edge
 of the Possible Stadium Site

View From the Northern End of the Possible Stadium Site

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