Şar (Comana in Cappadocia) Excavations

Location: Şar village (anciently Comana Cappadociae); Adana Province

Years: 1963-1964, 1967

Project Director: Richard Harper

Participants: Yvonne Dodsworth, Richard Lawless, David Hawkins, İnci Bayburtluoğlu, Coşkun Tütüncü

Funding: Durham Colleges’ Research Fund, BIAA, Ministry of National Education, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy


In September 1963, Richard Harper, Institute Scholar, visited some sites in Cappadocia and conducted a preliminary epigraphical survey of Comana Cappadociae (Şar köyü).  Thirteen surviving architectural structures were investigated, and about forty inscriptions were noted.

Research was continued in September 1964, when Harper collected additional unpublished inscriptions, valuable for their description of religious and political aspects of the ancient city, and investigated architectural structures.  He also came to a greater understanding about the Caesareia-Melitene highway in relation to Comana.

In 1965 it was decided that the site would be appropriate for a joint Turkish and British excavation project, and in 1967 Harper collaborated on an excavation with the Ankara Museum of Archaeology (now the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations), working with museum director İnci Bayburtluoğlu and her assistant Coşkun Tütüncü to begin the excavation. 

Together they excavated Kırık Kilise, in fact the tomb of a Roman Senator Aurelius Claudius Hermodorus, which had subsequently been converted into a Byzantine church, clearing the facade and roof.  The Ala Kapı temple was also cleared of undergrowth and rubble, and both structures yielded new funerary and dedicatory inscriptions.  The eastern portion of the village was mapped, including all standing monuments.  A project to search for Hittite-period evidence was also undertaken, though in the end no remnants of Kummanni, Comana’s Hittite predecessor, could be found.   A small presumably Medieval castle on the mountain’s top was also investigated.  Transportable sculpture and inscription fragments were stored in the village.


1964: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1963’ Anatolian Studies 14: 5-6, 11-12

1965: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1964’ Anatolian Studies 15: 6, 11

Harper, R.P., Bayburtoğlu, İ. 1968: ‘Preliminary Report on Excavations at Şar, Comana Cappadociae, in 1967’ Anatolian Studies 18: 149-158

See also:

Harper, R.P. 1964: ‘Roman Senators in Cappadocia’ Anatolian Studies 14: 163-169

Harper, R.P. 1968: ‘Tituli Comanorum Cappadociae’ Anatolian Studies 18: 93-147

Harper, R.P. 1969: ‘Inscriptiones Comanis Cappadociae in A. D. 1967 Effossae: Titulorum Loci Supplementum’ Anatolian Studies 19: 27-40

Harper, R.P. 1972: ‘Tituli Comanorum Cappadociae Iterum Suppleti’ Anatolian Studies 22: 225-239

2012: ‘Richard Harper’ Anatolian Studies 62: iv (Obituary)

Belongs to;
Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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