Monday, September 12, 2011

Classics USRA Project in Turkey

Mr. Owen Phillips (Classics '12) received an Undergraduate Student Research Award for summer 2011, through which, under the direction of Prof. Martin Beckmann, he was able to conduct original research on Roman Turkey. He reports on his work:

I spent this summer carrying out research on gymnasium porticoes in Roman Asia Minor, funded by a McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Award. The first 3 months of my summer research were dedicated to examining bath-gymnasia complexes throughout this region through archaeological reports and architectural studies, with the purpose of both understanding the architectural context of the gymnasium at Nysa - dating tentatively to the Antonine period - and of finding parallels in the region so that I could assemble an accurate reconstruction of the gymnasium's portico. In August I traveled to Turkey, spending my first week helping out with a geophysical survey for the excavation of the ancient city of Teos. My next two weeks were dedicated to visiting the other prominent cities of Asia Minor and, more specifically, of the Meander River Valley to look for structures which were similar in design to the gymnasium at Nysa. The main sites which I traveled to were Smyrna, Priene, Tralleis, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, Ephesus, and Pergamum, whose acropolis and remaining fortification walls were challenging to climb and navigate! At the end of this trip and at the conclusion of my research, I have learned much about Roman architecture and history in Asia Minor and I hope to continue studying this area of the Eastern Mediterranean, but most of all I have reaffirmed my interest in, and dedication to, archaeology and Classics.

For more information on the USRA see:
(Photos: Top: Author at in the cella of the Temple of Pluto and Kore of Acharaca, about a 2 hours hike to the west of the ancient city of Nysa, Above: The Agora at Nysa)