The Tetrapylon Street at Aphrodisias

Location: Aphrodisias, province of Aydin, Turkey

Year(s): 2016-18

Director: Bert Smith, Oxford University


R.R.R. Smith, Department of Classics, University of Oxford, Director of Excavations
Ine Jacobs, Department of Classics, University of Oxford, Field Supervisor,
Ben Russell, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Field Supervisor
Alexander Sokolicek, Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, Vienna, Field Supervisor


BIAA, Mica and Ahmet Ertegün, Baron Lorne Thyssen, the Headley Trust, the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation, and the Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Family Foundation

Under BIAA SRI(s):

Habitat and Settlement in prehistoric, historical and environmental perspective


The Tetrapylon street was the most important north-south avenue at Aphrodisias (ca. 6 m wide), connecting diverse spaces and dividing the city’s two distinct urban grid systems. Its transformation over the centuries allows us to trace social history at Aphrodisias from its heyday in the Roman imperial and late antique periods to its complete burial after cataclysmic events in the early 7th century and its subsequent rebirth as a post-antique industrial zone in the 9th-12th centuries.

Its excavation, begun in 2008, is designed to open this part of the street for visitors and to re-establish the ancient connections between the city’s principal monuments (Tetrapylon, Sebasteion, and Theatre). The excavations have so far brought a striking image of public and commercial life in the city in late antiquity and in the post-antique period, as well as remarkable and varied finds – such as abundant window glass, figured pilaster capitals, bronze door knobs, a coin hoard, and high-quality portrait statues. The street drains and the down-pipes from the apartments flanking the street are rich sources of well-preserved environmental data.

Resulting Publications: 

Smith, R. (forthcoming), Aphrodisias 2016. 39. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, Edirne (Ankara 2018).

Smith, R., et al. (2016), Aphrodisias Papers 5: Excavation and Research at Aphrodisias, 2006-2012 (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series. Providence, Rhode Island, 2016)

Bert Smith comes from Edinburgh and studied Classics and then Classical Archaeology at Oxford. He was a Fellow by Examination in Ancient History at Magdalen College, Oxford (1981-1986), a Harkness Fellow at Princeton University (1983-85). He taught Hellenistic and Roman art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University from 1986, before coming to his present post as Lincoln Porfessor of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford in 1995. His research interests lie in the art and visual cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world and in the archaeology of Greek cities of Eastern Roman Empire. He is Curator of the Cast Gallery of the Ashmolean Museum and Director of the New York University Excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey.

Belongs to;
Archaeology and Related Disciplines

View other research