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Excavations at Sarachane in Istanbul, Volume 1

Excavations at Sarachane in Istanbul, Volume 1

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 550
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  • Book Info
    Excavations at Sarachane in Istanbul, Volume 1
    Book Description:

    This work is the first volume of two that will be the full report of major excavations carried out by Dumbarton Oaks and the Istanbul Archaeological Museum at Sarachane in the heart of ancient Constantinople. This volume includes discussion of excavation and stratigraphy; catalogs of sculpture, revetment, mosaic, small finds and other materials: and general treatment of architecture, sculpture, and history of the site.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5797-5
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)

    In 1960, bulldozing operations at Saraçhane uncovered a number of sculptured marble fragments attributable to the ‘lost’ church of St. Polyeuktos, which was known to have been built by Anicia Juliana in 524-7. These fragments indicated that the church was built on a grand scale and that its decoration was of the highest technical quality and very surprising form. There was thus the opportunity to examine a major building precisely dated to the critical period immediately before the building programme of Justinian, and excavations were carried out annually from 1964 to 1969 under the joint auspices of Dumbarton Oaks and...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xx)
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  9. I The Excavation

      (pp. 3-10)
      R. M. HARRISON

      In April and May 1960 grading operations at Saraçhane uncovered a large number of richly carved architectural blocks. Two carried parts of an inscription, and these few words were recognized by I. Ševčenko as belonging to the seventy-six-line epigram on the church of the martyr Polyeuktos, which is preserved asAnthologia PalatinaI, 10.¹ The church was built by Anicia Juliana, probably in the years 524-7, and was evidently, to judge from the architectural carving, the epigram, and the few historical references to it, an ambitious affair. The evidence was collected and discussed in 1961 in an important article by...

    • Chapter Two THE STRUCTURES
      (pp. 11-33)
      R. M. HARRISON

      When archaeological work began, on 3 August 1964, work on the underpass was already well under way. Traffic still flowed east and west along the Şehzadebaşi Caddesi, but the Atatürk Bulvari, which had carried traffic north and south, had already been excavated to a depth of some 6 metres on either side of the original crossing, and north- and south-bound traffic was diverted by means of temporary roads laid diagonally across the gardens. In the excavation south of the crossing, earth-removing machinery had exposed a sarcophagus in the east face and various structures, which were subsequently recognized as the east...

    • Chapter Three THE STRATIGRAPHY
      (pp. 34-110)
      R. M. HARRISON

      Excavation was, as far as possible, carried out by 4 x 4- or 4 x 9-metre trenches with 1-metre baulks, within the 5-metre grid. Trenches in the first and second seasons served to define the extent of the church and the depth and character of the stratification. Levels (layers) were removed in strict sequence and numbered separately for each trench, and this separation has been retained. With the exception of pits, which could in general be clearly defined, no attempt has been made to conflate levels with similar levels in nearby trenches. In view of the complexity of the stratification...

    • Chapter Four INTERPRETATION
      (pp. 111-114)
      R. M. HARRISON

      After the description of structural remains and the tabulation of levels, a general evaluation and reconstruction of the site’s history may be attempted. This interpretative section is of a different order from chapters 2 and 3, which are, as far as possible, descriptive. Discussion of the church’s elevation, which is of a different order again, is postponed to chapter 15.

      The evenness of the archaeological record is of course affected both by the nature of the site and by the restraints of the excavation. The site was that of one immense construction, whose massive foundations restricted the areas where earlier...

  10. II The Catalogues

    • Chapter Five THE MARBLE CARVING
      (pp. 117-167)
      R. M. HARRISON

      In The Following catalogue the prodigious quantity of marble carving (10,476 pieces were listed and notes were made on several thousand more) is divided mainly by function or form into 23 principal cate-gories, as follows:

      1. Great Entablature 12. Plinths

      2. Cornices and Hoods 13. Screens and Tables

      3. Column-capitals 14. Posts and Colonnettes

      4. Columns 15. Decorated Wall-panels

      5. Pier- and Pilaster-capitals 16. Skirting

      17. Beading

      6. Piers and Pilasters 18. Arches

      7. Column-seatings and bases 19. Figured Sculpture

      20. Waterspouts and Gutters

      8. Thresholds

      9. Jambs and Lintels 21. Varia

      10. Window-frames 22. Disiecta Membra

      11. Various Mouldings...

      (pp. 168-181)
      R. M. HARRISON and M. V. GILL

      It is not always possible to distinguish between paving and wall-revetment, although fragments more than ca. 0.04 m thick (mainly Proconnesian and a little green porphyry) should probably be assigned to the former, and fragments less than ca. 0.02 m thick (mainly green porphyry andgiallo antico) are certainly from the latter. The only interior pavement to be foundin situwas in the crypt, where the central room had a patterned marble floor of Proconnesian and lasos slabs 0.03 m thick and the ambulatory passage was tiled; the upper surface of the vault in the north-east corner of the...

    • Chapter Seven THE MOSAICS
      (pp. 182-196)
      R. M. HARRISON and M. V. GILL

      A large quantity of small fragments of wall- and vault-mosaic was recovered, mainly from church destruction fills in the area of the apse and in the grand cistern. Only a small quantity of pavement-mosaic was found, all in the south-eastern sector of the nave. The two categories will be discussed separately. The figured wall- and vault-mosaic is particularly important; it is almost certainly part of the original sixth-century decoration and thus rare evidence of figured mosaic in pre-Iconoclast Constantinople.

      Approximately one hundred fragments of pavement mosaic were found fallen in a disturbed layer (217) in the south-eastern sector of the...

    • Chapter Eight THE PAINTED PLASTER
      (pp. 197-203)
      R. M. HARRISON and M. V. GILL

      Painted plaster was recovered, in scrappy condition, from various parts of the site. Of the groups and individual pieces listed below, items 7-10, and 14, 16, and 17 are from Byzantine contexts; item 1, a large group found as fallen face down on the floor of the northern part of the crypt, is probably Byzantine too. It has not proved possible to recognize Turkish plaster by differences in technique; the fairly large groups described below as items 5 and 6 are from Turkish contexts, but are not necessarily Turkish. Patterns were difficult, or impossible, to discern, and the problem was...

    • Chapter Nine THE WINDOW GLASS
      (pp. 204-206)
      R. M. HARRISON and M. V. GILL

      It is clear from the very large number of window mullions recovered that the church of St. Polyeuktos was highly fenestrated. It came as a surprise, therefore, that comparatively little window glass was found. One explanation might be that the church was never fully glazed, another that its panes were systematically removed either for immediate reuse or for cullet. Neither explanation is entirely satisfactory. Many mullions have marks of fixing, in the form of a hole drilled into the rebate at top and bottom of the pane for a lead spiggot (such spiggots were found, in two casesin situ);...

    • Chapter Ten THE BRICKSTAMPS
      (pp. 207-225)
      S. J. HILL

      The catalogue that follows is divided into six sections and illustrated by figs. A-D. Sections A to E cover brickstamps that are classified by shape. Section A covers rectangular stamps with inscriptions of one line only; Section B has rectangular stamps with inscriptions of more than one line; section C has circular stamps; section D has stamps with inscriptions arranged in a cruciform pattern; section E has rectangular stamps with inscriptions arranged around a central cross. The small, final section F is devoted to three fragmentary inscriptions found on curved roofing tiles. In addition to the brickstamps listed below, a...

    • Chapter Eleven THE SMALL FINDS
      (pp. 226-277)
      M. V. GILL

      Small finds were excavated at Saraçhane in most levels from the late Roman period to the early twentieth century; some were complete objects, many were fragmentary, or components of which the more perishable parts had entirely disappeared. While some items obviously belonged to the church fittings, others came from domestic contexts, or were personal accessories lost by the living or buried with the dead.

      In this catalogue, the small finds have been grouped roughly according to function, where this can be ascertained. Where it is not apparent, they have been placed in miscellaneous categories with objects of similar shape and...

    • Chapter Twelve THE COINS
      (pp. 278-373)
      M. F. HENDY

      As the first fully published body of numismatic material from major and controlled excavations within the capital, the coins from Saraçhane possess an enhanced interest and importance. On the other hand, because they derive from a single relatively confined site inside the walls, the question must inevitably arise as to what extent they are typical of the capital as a whole, and to what extent they reflect the peculiarities of the history of the church of St. Polyeuktos and its immediately surrounding district. The point is, methodologically, a not uninteresting and unimportant one in its own right, and it is...

    • Chapter Thirteen THE HUMAN BONES
      (pp. 374-398)

      The material presented here was studied on site during the later stages of the Saraçhane project. Attendance on site while the material was being excavated was not possible. The state of preservation of bone and the common occurrence of smaller bones from adult skeletons shows that retrieval was good. The scarcity of infant skeletal remains, however, does suggest some form of social or burial differential working against their survival and recovery. Generally, the report shows much fragmentation and mixing of bonesin situ,facts not conducive to the collection of fairly complete runs of data.

      The report concentrates on providing...

      (pp. 399-402)
      K. KOSSWIG

      These are mostly in very bad condition, probably because long bones would have been broken by the cook to extract the marrow and skulls similarly broken to extract the brain. Bones of sheep and goat are practically identical and thus are not separately identified; the same is true of cattle and water buffalo. Pig is present in Byzantine contexts but not in Turkish; Byzantine tusks resemble those of the wild boar and perhaps come from some primitive domesticated stock. The absence of fish bones, particularly considering the common occurrence of marine shells (see below), is remarkable, but probably attributable to...

  11. III Discussion

    • Chapter Fifteen THE CHURCH OF ST. POLYEUKTOS
      (pp. 405-420)
      R. M. HARRISON

      The principal objective of the excavation was to recover and record the surviving remains of Anicia Juliana’s church. In this chapter some of the implications of the evidence so recovered are briefly examined. Sections on the topography, the architecture, the structural techniques, the sculpture, and the historical context may serve as the starting-point for more detailed studies by others in the future.

      The church of St. Polyeuktos lay on the Mesê, the arterial street which in this sector ran in a generally north-westerly direction from the Forum Tauri (Beyazit) to the church of the Holy Apostles (Fatih) and thence to...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 421-428)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 429-432)
  14. Photographs
    (pp. 433-524)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 525-525)