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The First Season of Rescue Excavation at Çiftlik (Sinop)

  • Stephen Hill


Work commenced in August 1994 on a new archaeological rescue project to survey, excavate and protect the remains of a Classical and Byzantine site at Çiftlik, near Sinop on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea (Pl. XXIX (a)). The work was a collaborative project including staff from the Sinop Museum and the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, and staff and students from the University of Warwick. The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara has adopted this as a new “in-house” project, run in collaboration with Mr. İsmail Tatlıcan, Director of the Sinop Museum.

The remains at Çiftlik lie at the mouth of a valley on the west side of the great bay in the Black Sea which runs south of the peninsula on the isthmus on which the city of Sinop stands. The remains of two buildings were studied in 1994. These buildings were originally constructed on silty soil consisting of winter wash material which was deposited at the valley bottom over a long period of time prior to the Classical occupation of the site. The project is very much concerned with rescue, since the coastline in this area is being seriously eroded by the sea. At least 1·5 metres of the church (the south building) has been eroded since 1990, and the low shelf in the water beside what survives has underwater remains from various Classical and Byzantine buildings.



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1 We are, as ever, most grateful to the Director-General for Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture for permission to work at Çiftlik. The project was supported by grants from the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara and the University of Warwick, whilst the Sinop Museum provided local transport and accommodation. The team consisted of Dr. Stephen Hill (Project Director, University of Warwick), İsmail Tatlıcan (Director, Sinop Museum), Fuat Dereli (Sinop Museum), Richard Bayliss (University of Newcastle upon Tyne), Gina Coulthard (University of Warwick and British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara), Emma Hill, Fiona Hill, Rupert Howell (University of Warwick), Daniel Smith (University of Warwick), and Brian Williams (draughtsman and illustrator). Post-evacuation work has been carried out by Richard Bayliss, Mark Gillings (University of Newcastle upon Tyne) and Brian Williams. I am grateful to Gina Coulthard and Jim Crow with whom I have talked through some of the tentative conclusions which are presented at the end of this preliminary report. I also acknowledge a considerable debt to Mark Gillings of the Department of Archaeology of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne for use of equipment and software which was needed to prepare the contour plans and the computer-generated drawing of the nave mosaic.

2 Chilik, K. K., “Oscillations of the Black Sea and Ancient Landscapes”, in Chapman, J. and Dolukhanov, P. (eds.), Landscape in Flux (Colloquenda Pontica), forthcoming 1995, see point 17.

3 Hill, Stephen and Hilton, Jeffrey, “Sinop 1993”, AnSt XLIV (1994), 1516.

4 Πελεκανίδης, Σ., Συντάγμα τών Παλαιοχριστιανικών Ψηϕιδωτών Δάπεδεν της Ἐλλάδος Νησιωτική Ἐλλας, Βυζαντινά Μνημεία 1 (Θεσσαλονίκη, 1974) 65–6, plate 27a.

5 SirRamsay, William and Bell, Gertrude L., The Thousand and One Churches (London, 1909), 209221, figure 164.

6 SirRamsay, William and Bell, Gertrude L., The Thousand and One Churches (London, 1909), 209.

7 Dirimtekin, Feridun, “The church of St. Nicholas”, Ayasofya Müzesi Yıllıǧi, 5 (1963), 6265.

8 Hoddinott, R. F., Bulgaria in Antiquity (London and Tonbridge, 1975): see pages 323–336 for an account of monuments on the Black Sea coast.

9 Duval, Noël, “L'architecture religieuse de Tsaitichin Grad dans le cadre de l'Illyricum oriental au VIe siècle”, in Villes et peuplement dans l'Illyricum protobyzantin, Collection de l'école française de Rome (Paris, 1984), 399481; for Church D., see pages 443–3, figure 26.

10 Hans Rott, Kleinasiatische Denkmäler aus Pisidien, Pamphylien, Kappadokien, und Lykien, Restle, Marcell, Studien zur Frühbyzantinischen Architektur Kappadokiens, Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für die Tabula Imperii Byzantini 3, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften 138 (Vienna, 1979), 42–4, figures 20–1, plates 59–68.

11 Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 18, 39 (Patrologia Graeca 35, 1037).

12 Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 3; Sozomen, , Historia Ecclesiastica, 5, 2.

13 For descriptions of Basil's family estate at Annesi see Basil of Caesarea, Letters 3 and 223, and Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina (Migne, , Patrologia Graeca 46).

14 Basil of Caesarea, Letter 223.

The First Season of Rescue Excavation at Çiftlik (Sinop)

  • Stephen Hill


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