Adıyaman Survey

Location: Adıyaman Province

Years: 1985-1991

Project Director: David French

Participants: Geoffrey Summers, Stuart Blaylock, Tuğrul Çakar (1986, 1988-1989), Françoise Summers (1987), Shahina Farid (1988), Shirley Simpson (1988), Strehle (1988), Jane Charlton (1988), Caroline Jamfrey (1988), Christine Phillips (1988), Pervin Bilgen (1989), Simpson (1989), Adnan Baysal (1990), Brian Williams (1990-1991)

Government Representatives: İsmet Ediz (1986), Bekir Kök (1987), Ahmet Yuce (1988), Hamdi Biçer (1989), N. Önder Öztürk (1990), Songül Ceyland (1991)

Funding: British Academy


The Adıyaman survey came about as a result of the BIAA’s excavation work at Tille, which demonstrated that important ceramic sequences could be understood from working in this region.  An element of urgency was added by the construction of the Keban dam, which meant that the flooding of the region was imminent.

In 1985, ten days of fieldwork were undertaken with the simple purpose of investigating sample areas in order to plan future work.  They selected a site in the lower Euphrates valley that would be covered with water the following year, and also surveyed a section of the lower valley of the Çakar Çayı.  They collected surface material, which proved to represent a wide range of periods.

In the 1986 season, which took place between 5 and 22 December, the team focused on the Çakal valley, where they stayed mostly around the valley bottom and two side valleys, Çeteren and Mergzer.  They obtained information about possible sites from local sources then attempted to find them either by vehicle or on foot.  Many sites were located, representing Halaf, Early Bronze Age, Roman, and Medieval periods; the location and provisional dating for each site was recorded.  It was not possible to survey the Kalburcu valley as planned due to illness.

In 1987, in a season that lasted from 30 November to 14 December, some inclement weather interfered but they were successful in investigating the east bank of the Kalburcu valley and some surrounding areas.   Few sites were found on the elevated areas above the valley, approachable only by steep slopes, but eighteen sites were found near the villages of Birgeni, Babilge, and Zurna, where the valley widened out.  Again, no settlements dating back to the second or first millennia were found; settlements appeared to date mostly to the Early Bronze Age or Roman and Medieval periods.  Surface material was also gathered from sites farther west, around the villages of Turus, Cakirhöyük, and Kızılın.

The fourth season took place between 7 and 21 November 1988.  While work in previous years concentrated specifically on the land due to be flooded, in this season they attempted to cover the whole territory in order to contribute to a more balanced overview of the region.  The survey work was focused on the tributaries between Adıyaman and the Euphrates, which included the village territories of Ancoz, Dardağan, Horis, Karaçör, Güdülge, Boban, Sivik, Tokari, Tille and Hiniç.  Based on information obtained from the locals, they visited and collected sherds from 67 sites; nine of these had been visited previously by Mehmet Özdoğan and his team in 1977, but they were now no longer covered by crops and therefore easier to survey.  The pottery collected appeared to indicate Hellenistic and Roman occupation.

In 1989, the survey at Adıyaman was limited to 20 to 24 November, due to an extension at the Tille excavation and bad weather.  They focused primarily on the sites of Zerguz Çeşme and Kifiri Mağaralar.  At the first site they found traces of a Roman bridge, some Roman road, walls, and a ruined building, which was planned in detail.  The tile and tessellated floor fragments found on site point to an occupation sometime during the first century AD, possibly continuing until the early Byzantine period.  Greek and Latin inscriptions and two altars were also found.  At Kifiri Mağaralar, a site 3km northwest of Tille, they discovered rock-cut structures likely dating to the 12 – 14th centuries AD.  In addition to this, they visited the Mürfe (Mar Abhai) and Piske (Pesqin) monasteries, located in the Euphrates gorge, and surveyed the ruins at Hadat al-Hamra (now called Bozlar) in Kahramanmaraş.

The season lasting from 11 September and 17 November 1990 saw three primary achievements.  The first was thoroughly recording information on Piske and Mürfe sites before they were submerged by water; they were able to survey, describe, and photograph these sites, as well as a tower and church (known locally as ‘Minaret’) near Mürfe.  Secondly, they were successful in investigating a total of 99 sites in the Kahta district, as well as in Gerger and Samsat – all of which were on the verge of being submerged.  Significantly, two sites were found to date to the Uruk period, and discoveries of Late Bronze Age levels at Tille made it clear that some of the sherds collected throughout the Adıyaman survey are likely to belong to this period, as well.  Finally, the team recorded inscriptions in Ay and Maraş provinces: they worked at Bozlar for a day to take squeezes, records, and photographs of Islamic inscriptions, and found several other inscriptions in surrounding areas.

The last season happened in two parts: the first occurred between 28 September and 13 October 1991.  A post-Roman monument near Kalan was surveyed and photographed, prior to its submergence, and some sherds in the vicinity were also collected.  The rest of October was spent in Ankara drawing up publication plans.  The second part occurred in December 1991.


1986: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 36: 6-7

1987: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 37: 11

1988: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 38: 11-14

1989: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 39: 9-11

Blaylock, S.R., French, D.H., Summers, G.D. 1990: ‘The Adıyaman Survey: An Interim Report’ Anatolian Studies 40: 81-135           

1991: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 41: 12-14

1992: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 42: 6

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