A Restitution Proposal for the MHTHP Theta E Omega N OYE Gamma EINO Sigma Sanctuary in Zindan Cave, Aksu

Alp A. O.

ADALYA, pp.119-140, 2013 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: ADALYA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.119-140
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


The Zindan Cave is located on the north side of the narrow alley, 2 km. northeast of Aksu's city centre, where the main stream, the Zindan cayi, flows to join the Koprucay (Eurymedon). There is a sanctuary in front of the cave opening in the valley, and it can be accessed via an intact single-arched bridge. This sanctuary is located within the territory of Tymbriada and was for the first time presented to the academic world by D. Kaya and S. Mitchell. The publication evaluated the architectural remains together with dispersed architectural elements and inscriptions. Utilizing these along with the river god statue found nearby and the relief on the keystone of the bridge's arch, they concluded that the sanctuary was dedicated to the river god Eurymedon. Excavations at the sanctuary were conducted between 2002-2005 by the Isparta Archaeological Museum, and new evidence was obtained on the architecture, date of construction and local cult there. The most important evidence comes from two newly uncovered inscriptions that show the sanctuary was actually dedicated to Meter Theon Vegeinos, i.e. mother goddess Cybele, not to Eurymedon. These inscriptions also provide information on the construction date and the structures in the sanctuary: There were a subterranean chamber, a deipnisterion and a triclinium, and the sanctuary was dedicated to the mother goddess together with the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Thus, it can be concluded that the remains at the site belong to these above-mentioned structures and that they were built between AD 169-180 when Marcus Aurelius reigned alone. The sanctuary lost its function in the Early Byzantine period when the terraces and podiums were stripped of their materials down to their foundations to build the chapel in front of the cave and the monastery complex across the bridge and the floor pavement that would allow understanding the terrace borders was removed to a great extent. In addition, at a later phase terrace walls rising at steps and extending in the direction of the former walls using the structural elements lying around were built. Therefore, it is not much possible to derive reliable conclusions regarding the original architecture of the site. Nevertheless, the scattered architectural elements that were uncovered and presented here provide us with evidence to propose restorations for two facade arrangements - one at the entrance of the cave and the other on the upper terrace.