Pessinus Research Centre

In 2005 a new scientific research centre, the Pessinus Research Centre, was opened in the old village schoolhouse which was renovated by Ghent University with funding from the Belgian National Lottery. Next to a new depot, a number of workshops, studies and offices have been fitted out for the archaeological teams. In addition, an educational garden has been laid out with plants and herbs from Roman times. Near the small entrance a late Roman wall can be seen, which was part of an excavated building of which the function is unknown [sector F].


Parallel to the field activities, various analyses and studies of the finds contribute to answer specific research questions. Among the numerous activities that may lead to an adequate reconstruction of life in the ancient city, the following should be mentioned:


Research on pottery
Study of the finds in the acropolis or upper city has been completed and duly published (see bibliography).
Polarizing microscopy was applied to determine and source the mineral and rock fragments disseminated throughout the paste of Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine pithoi. This petrographic study has clearly demonstrated that as early as late Roman times pithoi of non-local origin were used and traded by the inhabitants of Pessinous. A sample of ten representative pithoi was also examined for the presence of fatty acids to establish the function of some ceramics. This scientific approach has provided very valuable information since, besides some non-diagnostic profiles of fatty acids, it points to the occurrence on the site of mutton, mutton fat, butter and other animal fats.

Current study of ancient amphoras is uncovering the trade relations between Pessinous and the Mediterranean world. These typical large jars with two handles and pointed base were used for long-distance transportation of various liquids such as wine, olive oil and fish sauce. The types of amphoras discovered so far in Pessinous indicate only transportation of wine. They date from various periods and have diverse origins. Epigraphical, typological and petrological examination has shown that these wine amphoras originated partly from several Greek islands (Thasos, Kos, Rhodes) and partly from two areas in Italy (the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic coastal areas).


Study of human and animal bones
Archaeozoological examination of bone material found in the residential quarter [sector Q] from Roman and Byzantine contexts has produced the following results. Mammals form the largest category (91.5%), including sheep/goats (549), cattle (204), pigs (36), horses/donkeys (6), dogs (2), hare (1) and sundry, unidentified smaller rodents (2). Among the birds, chickens (20) are the most numerous. Only one fragment of duck and one fragment of swan were found. The species of the three fish and 11 shellfish remains have not yet been determined.
Thus it appears that the material found belongs generally to domesticated animals. Hardly any remains of wild animals have been found, unless the few pig bones are from wild boar. All remains are mainly of food waste material.
The analysis of the bone collections from sectors L, B and M and the Byzantine fortress also shows that sheep and goat remains dominate throughout the whole occupation period of Pessinous and that the second most important contributor to the bone assemblage is cattle, followed by pigs.

(study of plant remains)
In Hellenistic layers in sector B6a emmer wheat (Triticum dioccum) and barley (Hordeum) have been found. The presence of mulberry (Morus) is striking. In sector Q wheat seeds, legumes and chicken eggshells have been found.

Charcoal analysis
(for dating the stratigraphy) showed that in the presently bare landscape oak, pineae brutae and olive trees used to grow.

The marble programme
A large number of ancient marble quarries in İstiklalbağı and its surroundings (Tekören, Dinek, Atlas) have been sampled. It was established that the marble from the ancient quarries of İstiklalbağı is structurally different from that of the modern quarries and from the marble at Tekören, Dinek and Atlas.
Isotopic examination of ten white marble objects from the Ballıhisar museum established that two architectural pieces and a pithos were made from a marble that is foreign to the Pessinous area and probably originates from the quarry at Dokimeion (İscehisar) near Afyon, and that two sarcophagi are probably of local origin. The analysis of the other objects does not confirm any local origin.