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Case Study

Aphrodisias

Greek and Roman Period Urban Center, Turkey

See also: New York Universty's Aphrodisias website

As part of an ongoing program of research sponsored by New York University, Dr. Lewis Somers performed a geophysical survey at Aphrodisias in Turkey. The electrical resistance survey covered approximately 20 hectares of unexcavated portions of this important Greek and Roman Period site.

Aphrodisias resistance / resistivity survey

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The resistance survey has already transformed our understanding of ancient Aphrodisias, showing, as never before realized, that the city was laid out on a grid plan. In residential areas, individual city blocks are 35.5 meters or 120 Ionic feet wide, and 39.0 meters or 132 Ionic feet long (the extra 12 feet was probably left for an alleyway running between back-to-back houses). The public squares and civic buildings of the city-center are planned according to the same grid, as seen most clearly in the layout of the North Agora (the main public square), which is bisected along both its east-west and its north-south axes by the lines of streets. Only the Temple of Aphrodite and the Theater have different orientations, which may predate the city grid. The exact date of the new street plan is uncertain, but it probably falls in the second or first centuries B.C.

Commentary by Christopher Ratté, Associate Professor of Classics and Fine Arts, New York University

reference: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/aphrodisias/geo.htm

Image courtesy of Aphrodisias Excavations, New York University

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