Tepecik Acropolis and Necropolis at Patara

Click to see these areas' locations

Tepecik Acropolis

The Arch of Modestus sits at the eastern foot of this acropolis, you can't miss seeing it from the road leading to the beach.  This hill was the first place of settlement in Patara and has the general look of a neolithic mound.  Pottery has been found here dating back to the 7th century BC.  A stone ax was also found, along with several other findings.  Researchers expect to learn much more about Anatolian prehistory in the future as they work through the layers of cultures.

A rock-cut tomb has been found here, as well as the remains of a very interesting complex of buildings probably from the Byzantine era that spanned three periods of use.  At one time it seems to have been used for trade/storage/dwelling and at a later date it seems to have been an oil lamp pottery based on the finding of a large clay storage area as well as the remains of many oil lamps.  A lime kiln was added during the third period of use.  And it seems that the area was later used for burials - 25 skulls were removed from the lime kiln and there were many bones in the clay storage area.

At the far side of the acropolis is the Harbor Basilica, usually underwater covered in reeds and only able to be excavated during infrequent droughts.  The size of the basilica was 33.5 x 17.5 metres and it was built upon the remains of a temple, using the temple's existing doors and columns.  Archaeologists are hoping that this is not the yet undiscovered, but much sought after, Roman and pre-Roman temple of Apollo that made Patara so renowned in the ancient world, as excavation would be very difficult. Inside the basilica are the remains of a church, built at a later date, again reusing the columns.

Tepecik Necropolis

The road to the beach passes through right through this necropolis (making excavation difficult), located at the eastern side of Tepecik Acropolis.  Much excavation is going on here and a plethora of tomb types has been found: temple tombs, monumental tombs, temenos tombs, "U" shaped altar tombs, chamber tombs, rock-cut tombs, underground chamber tombs, pithos burials, simple burials and sarcophagi.  Most of these are carved from the local limestone.  A few of the rich had temple tombs made of good quality marble or sarcophagi with carved reliefs imported from Athens.  Offering altars have also been found, bowls used for liquid offerings, and a funeral portrait stele and holes where such steles were erected.

Part of the necropolis with Roman sarcophagi


Note: Information on this page is from the book Patara: The History and Ruins of The Capital City of Lycian League by Dr. Fahri Işıki (head excavator of Patara), Orkun and Ozan Medya Hizmetleri A.Ş. 2000.  I believe this is a limited edition book and unfortunately I don't know where it can be purchased.