Palace of the Emperors Excavation

Location: Fatih District, Istanbul; Istanbul Province

Years: 1952-1954

Project Director: D. Talbot Rice

Participants: G. U. S. Corbett (1952-1953), J. B. Ward Perkins (1953-1954), Donald Strong (1952), D. Oates (1953-1954), M. Scott (1953), Ann Wilson (1953), David Stronach (1954), David Wilson (1954), Geoffrey Clark (1954)


The Palace of the Emperors – also known as the Great Palace of Constantinople, Sacred Palace, or Büyük Saray – was first excavated prior to World War II, but had necessarily been put on hold.  In April 1952, the BIAA continued the excavations on behalf of the Walker Trust of St. Andrews.  The season lasted six weeks.  The mosaic floor was uncovered again and restored, and some old excavations were extended.  In June 1952 an opening ceremony for the building was held.

In 1953 the project was continued, beginning the last week of April until mid-July.  New mosaics were discovered during the course of work.

Between June and August 1954 work at the Palace was continued.  Several more mosaic floor pieces were discovered and subsequently studied, and some pits were dug for stratigraphical purposes.  All the work that could reasonably be accomplished without further excavation was completed and the project was brought to a close.


1953: ‘Summary of Archaeological Work in Turkey, 1952’ Anatolian Studies 3: 11

1954: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1953’ Anatolian Studies 4: 6

1955: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1954’ Anatolian Studies 5: 7

See also:

Brett, G., Martiny, G., Stevenson, R.B.K. 1947: The Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. London

Rice, D.T. (ed.) 1958: The Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors. Edinburgh

Nordhagen, P.J. 1963: ‘The Mosaics of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors’ Byzantinische Zeitschrift 56: 53–68

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Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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