Campaigns under Prof. P. Lambrechts


In the 20th century nothing much happened in or around the ruined city until 1966, when Prof. Pieter Lambrechts first came upon the site from which the cult of Kybele had conquered the classical world. While this first contact must have been quite disappointing - practically all the above-ground remains of buildings and monuments had been removed or built over - he decided to start large-scale excavations in the centre of the ancient city. He hoped to find essential information about the oldest, Phrygian stage of the Mater Magna cult.

In its seven campaigns between 1967 and 1973 the Belgian team of Ghent University managed to perform an archaeological investigation of several areas. Although the sanctuary, which had been praised by classical authors such as Strabo and Livy, was not found, some monumental parts of the mainly Roman city centre were excavated.


They included a unique canalisation system [sector D] and a temple-theatre complex, erected on the site of an older monumental construction [sector B] linked to a square with porticos or agora [sector H], as well as a necropolis (in use from the 3rd century BC till the 5th century AD) [sector A], and a late Roman residential quarter and storehouse [sector E]. A number of partial studies, based on inscriptions found in Ballıhisar and neighbouring villages, yielded a better knowledge of the wider context and territory of the city.