Alfred Biliotti, British vice-consul at Trebizond, spent nine days at Satala in 1874. He is well known as an enquiring and meticulous observer. The account of his visit, in a consular paper in the British Museum, remains by far the best description of the legionary fortress, and holds several items of particular interest.
Biliotti was able to record at leisure structural remains in an altogether better state of preservation than is true today. His 18 ft walls, with traces of ashlar facing, are now reduced to rubble cores visible, except at the north-east and south-east angles, only in eroded sections (Figs. 1, 2). Of the square projecting towers there is now barely a trace. The supposed look-out towers reported on the surrounding mountain tops are known from no other source.
His are the only excavations on record in Armenia Minor, and at any point on the limes itself between Trapezus and the rescue work north of the Keban dam.
His account is a valuable source for social conditions in the villages during the late Ottoman period. The way of life at Satala depended on techniques that can have changed little since Roman times, and survived virtually unaltered until the introduction of tractors in the later 1960s.