Symposium Proceedings: Olive Oil and Wine Produciton in Anatolia During Antiquity

In 2008 the Research Center of Cilician Archaeology has organised a symposium on “Olive Oil And Wine Production in Anatolia During Antiquity” and its results take place in this publication of the Center. Whole Asia Minor has been handled for the first time in such a platform. 20 articles forming this publication handle on the production of wine and oil, on the technologies of production, on agricultural organisation and they represent the materal, they comment and offer dating possibilities. 


Archaeological surveys that aimed at identifying settlements in Antiquity, the regional settlement patterns formed by them and the agricultural organization that should be considered as having played a part in their formation were initiated in the mountainous region between the Erdemli and Silifke of Mersin province and continued from 2006 with the permission issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums and with the support of TÜBITAK.

Surveys initiated to identify the settlements, document them archaeologically, and reveal the regional settlement pattern in the rugged terrain between the districts of Erdemli and Silifke of Mersin province continued 2006-2015. The survey area has rugged topography housing numerous settlements. It is known that this area was ruled by a temple-state during the Hellenistic period and that it was annexed to Provincia Isauria during the reign of Diocletian. During our surveys we noted numerous settlements from the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique periods, which are of importance for they reflect the political and cultural circumstances of the periods in which they were founded. The Hellenistic settlements stand out with their defensive function, while those of the Roman Imperial and later periods have a rural character that focuses on production. Furthermore, some settlements of the Roman and later periods developed inside and around the Hellenistic settlements, and this may shed light onto the development and changing process of the settlements in the region. Our project also aims to investigate these processes.

Preliminary results from the surveys point to the presence of rural settlements established in various periods. Some display continuity starting from the Hellenistic period and going into the Byzantine period. Their location within an acropolis on an ancient route as well as their fortifications and towers indicate their defensive (garrison) purpose. It is also seen that a new settlement pattern emerges with the Roman Imperial period. As the Hellenistic fortresses lose their defensive function, rural settlements increase. It is known that Hellenistic settlements continued to be inhabited as rural settlements. Archaeological evidence – numerous farmsteads, workshops, villages and tombs within – shows that such settlements increased in number rapidly beginning in the 2nd century A.D. 

As the rural settlements retained their existence through the Early Byzantine period, earlier remains were damaged and thus the settlements are taken into account with their latest phase of use. It must be also kept in mind that numerous new settlements were established. With the spread of Christianity beginning in the last quarter of the 4th century A.D., existing sarcophagi were reused with the addition of a cross motif or an inscription. And this evinces the Early Byzantine period use of Roman Imperial-period rural settlements. 

It is understood that geographic conditions of the rural settlements in the region naturally influenced the shaping of the settlement and ascribed a rural character to it. Valleys communicating between the littoral and inner areas influenced the settlement patterns after the Hellenistic period as well. Numerous epigraphic and archaeological evidences prove that these valleys served as roads through the ages. Thus rural settlements developed near these roads and made use of them for the transportation of the produce to the coastline. The rural settlements that were identified show that agricultural production had an important part in the economy of antiquity and that cities on the coast and rural settlements in their hinterland constitute a regional settlement model.

Kanlıdivane (Kanytella) Archaeological Site is one of the most significant examples of the Olbian Territorium reflecting its high natural and cultural landscape values. The ancient settlement is located around a naturally important geological depression of Kanlıdivane Pit. it was an important rural settlement point with various ancient rural houses, olive-oil workshop and wine production areas. In following centuries, the city is inhabited as a traditional rural settlement until 1980s, when the Ministry of Culture and Tourism dislocated small population still living in the area outside the strictly protected archeological zone. Due to its significant and attractive natural and archaeological aspects, Kanlıdivane Archeological Site is the second most visited archaeological sites of Mersin Province. 

For this purpose, Mersin Governorship and Mersin University in collaboration with Mersin Provincial Administration Office and Ayaş Municipality - where Kanlıdivane Archaeological Site is administratively located- have started the “Conservation and Site Management Project of Kanlıdivane Archaeological Site” in 2010. The aim of this study has been defined as: 

-to “increase awareness” about natural, archaeological and cultural significance of the historic Olba Territorium in both local, national and international levels and to develop a “site presentation strategy” to attract attentions of visitors in this sense,

-to define necessities of the site and prepare a short (urgent), medium and long term conservation interventions accordingly.

-to upgrade existing infrastructural conditions of the site and to prepare a Visitor Centre convenient with cultural and natural spirit of the area,

-to consider approach of disabled and disadvantaged people to the site and integrate related solutions throughout the planning process. 

-to integrate education programs related to school kids within the Project and defining a permanent archaeological excavation area for educational

Main Page


Dr. Ümit Aydınoğlu

Phone Number: 00 90 324 361 00 01-4736
Adress: Mersin Üniversitesi Çiftlikköy Kampüsü Fen - Edebiyat Fakültesi Arkeoloji Bölümü 33343 / Mersin / Turkey


In the 2015 campaign we conducted comprehensive investigation and documentation at the ancient settlement inside Tapureli village located 36 km. north of Erdemli. This site is foremost with its location and remains among the ancient rural settlements in the region. It was founded on three hills beside the Lamos Valley, which is known to have housed an ancient road. Thus it dominated the roads going through the valley. Evidence collected indicate that the buildings mostly belonged to Late Antiquity, i.e. their last phase of use. Yet numerous pieces of evidence were collected that display development of a settlement founded in the Hellenistic period. The settlement is situated like an acropolis by the valley, and many well-preserved buildings with polygonal masonry were identified here. Both the acropolis-like location and polygonal masonry are typical characteristics of Hellenistic-period fortress settlements in the region. Thus, Tapureli was one of the fortress settlements of the period. On the slopes of the south hill, which was used as a necropolis, are temple-type tombs, about 40 rock-cut tombs, numerous chamosoria and sarcophagi, as well as reliefs of two soldiers and reliefs of seated figures at a cult area. These all indicate the large size and importance of the Roman settlement. The best-preserved remains at the site belong to Late Antiquity. These include eight churches and numerous houses. Our exploration at the settlement noted a well-preserved road going around the settlement, which points to a planned settlement.

That this road connects to a propylon on the south hill is a sign of urban architecture. Some buildings such as monumental gates, ancient roads and churches, etc. reflecting an urban architectural character have been identified at some settlements in the region. Since the Tapureli settlement also has these features, it is necessary to explore the character of this type of settlement. Therefore, we endeavoured to determine the limits of the settlement and to evaluate the settlement fabric in order to determine and understand the rural settlement pattern in the rugged terrain area where this settlement is founded. Within this context, documentation using modern technology also continues. For this purpose, we will endeavour to identify the structures and to determine the boundaries of the settlement together with its topographic and other natural values. By assessing the topography and settlement layout, we will explore the features of the street network and levels in order to determine the building units and to derive a typology.

Survey Mersin

Tapureli Surveys

Kanytellis Conservation and Development Project

KANYTELLIS: Kanlıdivane The Archaeology of an Ancient Settlement in Rough Cilicia

Dr. Ümit AYDINOĞLU (Ed.)

Publisher : Ege Yayınları /

ISBN No: 9786054701261