August 2006: Aphrodisias' marble quarries, western Anatolia, Turkey
The ancient city of Aphrodisias was an important cult-centre dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite in antiquity. Being situated in the hills of western Anatolia, Aphrodisias was inhabited for a very long period, from the Neolithic to Late Byzantine. However, most of the splendid buildings and sculptures revealed through decades of archaeological excavations date from the Graeco-Roman period. One of the most fascinating aspects of Aphrodisias, is the city's role as a leading sculpture centre of the Roman world. The Aphrodisias "school" of sculptors was active for nearly six centuries. Undoubtly, one important reason for the schools' success are the rich deposits of high quality marble situated less than two kilometres from the site. The quarries also supplied stone to the many beautiful buildings in the city. High quality pure white marble was most sought after, but also grey, black and striated varieties were used. The Aphrodisias quarries are among few in Turkey that are protected as cultural heritage.
Text by Tom Heldal
View of some of the many marble quarries near Aphrodisias. Quarry face is seen on the right side, whilst the large mounds to the left and in the foreground are spoil heaps from quarrying. Photo by Tom Heldal
December 2009 New book: a special volume with papers from the QuarryScapes project soon printed.
November 2008 Final workshop: the third QuarryScapes workshop was held in Aswan 12. - 15. October