Anatolian Studies

Research Article

The Roman-Period Necropolis of Ariassos, Pisidia*

Sarah H. Cormacka1

a1 Duke University

New evidence of Roman tomb architecture from the necropolis at Ariassos in Pisidia demonstrates distinctive features of funerary architecture in the east. Over fifty built tombs are in different states of preservation, allowing identification of some features paralleled at other sites in Pisidia, while some features seem unique to Ariassos itself. The similarity of form of one elaborate tomb to the western podium temple reflects the influence of Roman religious architecture, while other tombs reflect features grown out of indigenous Anatolian traditions.

Ariassos was founded in the Hellenistic period, and is located c. 50 km. north of the modern city of Antalya. It minted coins in the late Hellenistic period and contains buildings of Hellenistic date, including a prytaneion, bouleuterion and small temple. The majority of the ruins at the site, however, date to the Imperial period, including an extensive nymphaeum and bath complex, a triple arched gateway dating to the third century A.D., and a substantial domestic area. The site was visited in the 1880s by the Austrian team headed by K. Lanckoronski, who thought that the ruins were those of the site of Cretopolis. A few years later the site was correctly identified by a French epigraphical expedition headed by V. Bérard. The Pisidian Survey project, under British directorship, completed a new city plan, focusing attention on Ariassos after years of neglect. [See Fig. 1.]


* The work presented here was carried out at Ariassos, Pisidia, from 24 August to 24 September 1990, under the auspices of the Pisidian Survey Project, directed by Stephen Mitchell and funded by the British Academy, the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, the Roman Society, and the Craven Committee. The author would also like to acknowledge the support of Yale University for a travel grant to further research. Thanks are due to Danny Gysen (Leuven) and Claudia Rutherford (Oxford) for help in measuring the tombs, to Stephen Mitchell for his good advice, and to Sabri Aydal, Antalya Museum, Turkey, for production of the city plan and for his unflagging energy in the field. The criticisms and comments of David Milson (Oxford) have aided immeasurably. All photographs were taken by the author. All drawings were measured and drawn by the author, with the exception of the city plan (Figure 1) which was surveyed and drawn by Sabri Aydal, and emended by Stephen Mitchell.