Zeugma Excavation

Location: Belkis village; Gaziantep Province

Years: 1993

Director: David Kennedy (Project Director); Philip Freeman (Director of Excavations)

Government Representatives: Engin Özgen (1993)

Funding: BIAA, University of Western Australia


With the planned construction of Birecik Barajı, one of five dams slated for construction on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in 1998, a decision was made to conduct an emergency operation at Zeugma.  As the dam was just 500m downstream of the site, and as the site itself was relatively large and featured Graeco-Roman ruins, Zeugma was selected among many affected archaeological sites in the region for intensive rescue work, which was undertaken in collaboration with Gaziantep Museum.  A team of eight began work in September 1993.

With limited time and resources, objectives were necessarily smaller in scope; aims included excavating a number of areas to learn more about site and explore issues for future work, as well as exploring the site and vicinity from a geomorphological perspective. 

In all, six areas on the site were selected for excavation, and they provided a variety of structures for investigation: beyond discovering terracotta pipes in situ, they also found a cistern, tessellated courtyard, a mosaic pavement, inscriptions, and various fragments of pottery, glass, and iron.  The team created drawings of rock-cut tombs, recorded inscriptions from the tombstones, and recovered interesting tile samples.  The chronology of the site remained problematic.


Anatolian Studies 44: 18-20


David, K. et al 1998: ‘The Twin Towns of Zeugma on the Euphrates’ Rescue work and historical studies (JRA Supplementary Series) 27

Comfort, A., Abadie-Reynal, C., Ergeç, R. 2000: ‘Crossing the Euphrates in antiquity: Zeugma seen from space’ Anatolian Studies 50: 99-126

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