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A New Open-Air Sanctuary from Northern Caria

Suat Ateşlier et Emre Erdan
p. 97-117

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Fig. 1: Map of the Open-Air Sanctuary

Fig. 1: Map of the Open-Air Sanctuary

1Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary is located within the boundaries of Çarıklar village in the northwest of Aydın province. The sanctuary is in the northeast section of Germencik District (Figs. 1-6). It was discovered southwest of the village during a court expertise in 08.11.2013. It is built on a massive conglomerate rock, dominating the Menderes Plain located to its south. The archaeological remains were observed at an altitude of 380-400 m above sea level, concentrated on the eastern slopes of the hill, which is known as Kayaarası by the locals (Fig. 3). Kurt Tepe is located to the southwest and Eğlek Tepe to the northeast. The region is rich in water resources. One branch of the İnönü stream, passing right in front of the sanctuary, flows from the center of the area in an east-west direction. Another water source, called Çanak Pınarı by the locals, is located just south of the sanctuary. The area is also rich in thermal water resources; measurements document the presence of a thermal source at a temperature of 33℃. The last study published by the Turkish General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration reported that a Quaternary fault line has passed through the area where the village and the sanctuary are located. The thermal water source observed must originate with this fault line. The region is also known to be extraordinarily rich in clay and thin shaft used in brick-tile making, and it is possible to encounter raw material beds throughout the area. Çarıklar and its surroundings are also rich in vegetation. Among the dense bush cover, bay, oleander, thyme, wild lavender, fig and pine trees reflect the general flora of the land.

Fig. 2: Google Earth image with the environment of the sanctuary

Fig. 2: Google Earth image with the environment of the sanctuary

Fig. 3: Topography of area

Fig. 3: Topography of area

Fig. 4: Sketch showing the area and its surroundings.

Fig. 4: Sketch showing the area and its surroundings.

Fig. 5: View of the sanctuary from the east

Fig. 5: View of the sanctuary from the east

Fig. 6: View of the bedrock with the niches

Fig. 6: View of the bedrock with the niches

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Fig. 7: Cave with a sloping mouth

Fig. 7: Cave with a sloping mouth

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Fig. 8: View of the split rock with the niches

Fig. 8: View of the split rock with the niches

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Fig. 9: Niche with gable roof and rectangular niche

Fig. 9: Niche with gable roof and rectangular niche

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Plan

2Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary is accessed via a difficult and narrow walking pathway. The first thing that welcomes the visitor is an east-west oriented cave with a niche and a sloping mouth and roof (Fig. 7). A wide opening in the eastern portion of the cave overlooks the eastern slopes of Kayaarası Tepe. After passing through the opening, the magnificence of the bedrock extending in a north-south orientation, attracts attention (Fig. 6). This side of the main rock has many niches facing east, followed by natural folds to the south. The niches, which we can follow south for approximately 100-120 m, are found in groups, in different features and locations. There is a certain distance, or a natural turn, between each set of niches. During the survey, these niches were sketched and categorized into four groups. The first group (Figs. 8-9), consisting of one example with a gable roof and the others with square-shaped niches, is located just east of the cave, providing access to the southern façade mentioned above. This is the most monumental group of niches, but unfortunately it has been largely destroyed. This binary set of niches is followed by small square-shaped and gable-roofed niches to the south (Fig. 10). About 39 m south of this second row, a niche group, relatively larger than the second group, is encountered in a cavern located about 4 m above the path (Figs. 13-14). When the bedrock is followed to the south, a triple cave-like complex, presumably the main worship area, contains triple hollows bearing the niches. Votive terrace and offering pits can be seen (Figs. 15-20).

Fig. 10: Rectangular niches

Fig. 10: Rectangular niches

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Fig. 11: Roof beam slot of a building

Fig. 11: Roof beam slot of a building

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Fig. 12: Rock-cut trace of a building

Fig. 12: Rock-cut trace of a building

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Fig. 13: Niches in a cavern

Fig. 13: Niches in a cavern

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Fig. 14: Rectangular niche in cavern

Fig. 14: Rectangular niche in cavern

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Fig. 15: Main worship area, consisting of triple hollows bearing the niches

Fig. 15: Main worship area, consisting of triple hollows bearing the niches

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Fig. 16: Votive terrace and graffiti at the back

Fig. 16: Votive terrace and graffiti at the back

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Fig. 17: Graffiti

Fig. 17: Graffiti

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Fig. 18: Votive terrace

Fig. 18: Votive terrace

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Fig. 19: Stairs provides access to the main worship area above

Fig. 19: Stairs provides access to the main worship area above

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Fig. 20: Offering pits

Fig. 20: Offering pits

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Niches

3Only a part of the hill could be surveyed during the short-term investigation of the area. During the survey, we encountered many niches, concentrating our efforts on the slopes just west of the road reaching Çarıklar village. The niches, which are the focal points of the façades, do not contain any geometric decoration or relief. They can be grouped into four main types: square niches, rectangular niches, niches with gabled and arched roofs (Figs. 8-14). Within each type, niches of different sizes are found. The group with the largest number of examples is the square niche group. This type is followed by niches with gable roofs, arched niches, and rectangular niches, respectively. Apart from these niche types, there are also some niches, small in number, which do not have a clear form and are very small.

4Niches are generally observed in two areas: the façades of the bedrock and the natural cavities that can be defined as small caves. The main worship is thought to have taken place in these small caves, although most of them were on the façades. The number of niches that we can count is limited due to the difficult topography of the land. We selected the largest and smallest samples to obtain an average for measurements. The largest gable roof niche is 79 cm long, 78 cm wide and 57 cm deep (Fig. 9). The smallest niche of the same type that we could measure is 24 cm high, 23 cm wide and 18 cm deep. Differences of size are evident in square niches. The largest of this type we could measure is 70 cm high, 78 cm wide and 55 cm deep (Fig. 9). The smallest of this type is 17 cm high, 22 cm wide and 13 cm deep. The largest arched niche measured, has a height of 40 cm, a width of 32 cm and a depth of 13 cm; for rectangular niches, a height of 69 cm, a width of 39 cm and a depth of 20 cm was measured.

5Although the niches are generally found to be facing east, there is no indication of any directional unity. We understand that an attempt was first made to create an east-oriented niche. There are also niches facing south, north and west. One of the most remarkable features of the niches is that they form groups. Accordingly, niches are carved on the façades of the bedrock within a certain program. As mentioned before, it is noteworthy that niches are concentrated in the areas near the sacred area. We can consider the main worship area to be a deep cave consisting of three cavities. It is also noteworthy that niches are concentrated around the triple cave-like complex, which is the main worshiping area of the sanctuary.

  • 1 For the presentation of the dish named moretum prepared for the goddess, see. Dexter 2009, 63.

6Traces of different types of arrangements were encountered in front of some of the niches. The clearest example is in front of the arched niche in a large cavity, which is approximately 4 m above the walking path. Here, traces of the sockets are noteworthy in that there is a pre-existing arrangement on the north and south edges of the façade where the niche is located, but nothing remains from it today. We can explain these traces in several different ways. Either there was a sarcophagus in front of the niche that has completely disappeared, or there was a wooden, service table-like object fitted in these sockets.1 Sockets, as we know from their uses in different regions, may also be shelf grooves created for a second use of the space (Ökse, 1999, p. 475). Although our comments on the subject are speculative, both our knowledge of the existing tomb tradition around niches in sacred areas, as well as information from ancient sources on the use of similar service stands during goddess rituals, makes both suggestions possible. For example, the Roman poet Publius Papinius Statius mentions that Mater Dolorosa, the ruler of Mount Spylos, carried the ashes of Niobe’s children to their graves in twelve urns (Strat. Theb. 6. 124ff.). The realization of the funeral ritual of a Mother Goddess named after Mount Spylos shows that the sacred areas of the Mother Goddess are also associated with the underworld.

Votive Terrace

7One of the most interesting practices we encountered in the Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary is what we define as the votive terrace (Figs. 16, 18). This practice is seen in the triple cave-like complex we previously described (Fig. 15). The arrangement is located on a somewhat inclined bedrock mass, reaching the niches and the graffiti at the back (Figs. 16-17). In the northern and southern parts of the white conglomerate rock, there is a stair-like application that provides access to the main worship area above. These stairs reach a narrow walking path in the central part of the rock, which allows for walking more comfortably inside the triple rock cavity. In the area between the stairs, there are two rows of niche-like square pits in the slopes. These square pits extend into relatively larger niches on both sides of the rock cavity.

Offering Pits

8Another feature that draws attention in the triple cave-like complex are the offering pits, which have also been observed in other goddess worship areas (Fig. 20). These pits have different sizes and depths. The examples we can identify as offering pits in a real sense are found in the triple cave-like complex, located on a line parallel to the southern stairs on the extremely inclined surface (Fig. 19). The offering pit, which could have been used for libation or purification, goes very deep inside the rock. Next to this pit lies a second, relatively smaller one. It can be considered as a cup-mark basin, in which the bottom of a container could easily fit, and probably had such a function.

Steps and Stepped Monuments

9Another sign of a religious practice we encountered in the Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary is the steps and step monuments (Figs. 21-22). The step monuments, which were mostly created for goddess cults, generally served as altars in antiquity. The most important issue to be emphasized here pertains to the functions of these steps. The rock-carved steps, which are known to have been used as staircases in ancient cities or sacred areas, are among the architectural elements that provide access to higher elevations. However, among the Iron Age societies of Anatolia, the monuments consisting of steps – independent or connected with façades in sacred areas – symbolize the rise to the goddess. In a third, less common, application, these rock-cut steps would have been used as scaffoldings for convenience during construction activities.

Fig. 21: Step monument

Fig. 21: Step monument

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Fig. 22: Step monument

Fig. 22: Step monument

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10The most basic method of separating the steps built for access from those with religious purposes is to determine the point reached by the steps. These types of steps, mostly in sacred areas, are massively independent and do not provide access to any point. Sometimes they are found in front of large rock façades. Constructing stepped monuments for religious purposes is a deep-rooted Anatolian tradition. The practice was especially familiar to both the Urartians and the Phrygians. The stepped monument tradition in Western Anatolia and beyond is one of many practices that have been adopted from the Phrygians in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

11In our investigations, we encountered two different types of steps in and around the Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary. The first of these forms is the access providing group mentioned above, while the second group consists of structures we can categorize as the “step monuments”, as they reach the main rock façades. The most remarkable example among the stepped monuments we observed on the site is located at the possible entrance way to the sanctuary (Fig. 21). The monument, which is carved on the lower part of a sloping bedrock mass separated by a deep slit, has four steps. A flat platform at the top of the steps that widens as one ascends separates the bedrock mass and the steps. Here, the objects brought as offerings to the goddess were possibly presented on bended knee. Another stepped monument, built for the same purpose, differs from the first one intrinsically (Fig. 22). We understand that the four steps rising between a parapet wall on both sides of the monument, reached a natural niche under a massive, round rock mass. As mentioned, steps built for the purpose of providing access, were also seen in different areas of the sanctuary. The clearest example among these has 11 steps. The ladder in question is connected to the rock-cut pathway, which we can follow for about 75 m on the eastern slope of the sanctuary.

Graffiti

12The most interesting finding of the open-air sanctuary is the graffiti that we encountered in the triple cave-like complex, which we consider the main worship area (Figs. 15-17). The graffiti, which is located in the middle of the second hollow that forms the center of the complex, was created by scraping the bedrock. Graffiti, which was partially destroyed by natural conditions, was created by combining five round shapes to form a whole. It is noteworthy that these round shapes are smooth and have same size, as measured with compasses. There is one circle on the bottom, one on top and three in the middle. It is possible to interpret the single oval shape at the top of the graffiti as eye pits. As a first impression, it is possible to say that the graffiti resemble the image of the Ephesian Artemis with multiple breasts.

Conclusion

13Written sources and archaeological data reflect the strong presence of the Mother Goddess cult, at least in the Neolithic Period and beyond, in Northern Caria and its surroundings. As seen in the Beşparmak / Latmos rock paintings, the Mother Goddess cult in the region dates from the Neolithic Period (Peschlow Bindokat, 2006, p. 95). The Kilya figurines found in Aphrodisias (Joukowsky, 1982, p. 90 ff.), Malkayası (Gerber, 2006, p. 85, fig. 77) and Çine Tepecik (Günel, 2013, pp. 19-20; Günel, 2014, passim) dating from the Chalcolithic Period reflect the continuity of the cult. It is known from centers such as Aphrodisias (Kadish, 1971, Pl. 29-33), Çine-Tepecik (Günel, 2008, Şek. 1.3), Çakırbeyli-Küçüktepe (Yaylalı, Akkan, Tütüncüler & Erdan, 2018, Resim 10a-f.), through figurines and idols, that the goddess cult continued in the region during the Early Bronze Age. In the Late Bronze Age, the region and its surroundings must have been under the influence of the Luwian culture and its pantheon, as reflected by inscriptions, reliefs, and even some god names. A gold pendant of Tralleis origin (Dumont, 1879, pp. 129-130), found in the early 19th century and taken to the Louvre Museum, reflects the traces of the potnia theron cult that existed in Northern Caria, at least in the 7th century BC and possibly since the Late Bronze Age.

14The events that took place during and after the Second Punic War enabled the cult to spread to Rome from Pessinus in Anatolia on April 4, 204 BC; this day was declared a day of feasting. As a result of this strong interaction, the Mother Goddess was highly respected in Rome, and her worship continued in sacred areas previously created in her name in almost every corner of the empire. The Ephesian Artemis, which is depicted on the Roman Imperial Period coins from Tralleis, crucially shows that this synchronized version of the Mother Goddess cult has an important place in our field of study.

15The Mother Goddess can sometimes find worship in temples in the cities of Northern Caria, as well as in sacred areas outside the territory. These temples are open-air sanctuaries, usually carved into bedrock or caves on mountain peaks. However, the open-air sanctuaries in the region have an ancient history. For example, although the Latmos Suratkaya monument is thought to serve as a boundary separating Mira and Millawanda (Peschlow- Bindokat, 2005, pp. 84-89), it is also known that the geographical location of Suratkaya is not at a site that dominates passages and roads (Oreshko, 2013, p. 367). Instead, it is about 1000 m above sea level. Despite its height, it is worth considering that the monument situated at the ending of an enormous rock mass, resembling a reclining Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana), with water leaking from its crevices and cracks, may be a sanctuary rather than a border point. Again, despite its high altitude, we think that Gerga, surrounded by springs, is also a Mother Goddess sanctuary, reflecting much earlier, deep-rooted Anatolian traditions. In the center of the sanctuary, there is a cult statue of the Mother Goddess, possibly wooden and made in an archaic style, reminiscent of the Ephesian Artemis-Potnia Aswiya (Morris, 2001, pp. 423-434). The other three sides of the building, with an open roof on the outside of the façade, are surrounded by a wall, and the antas are carved on the bedrock in the form of an Anatolian leopard. The recent understanding is that a cave located under the theater of Miletus served as a sanctuary, at least from the Archaic to the Roman periods (Niewöhner, 2016, pp. 67-156; Huy, 2019, pp. 145-176).

16Perhaps, there is an ancient sacred place, namely Tekerlekdağ that may have once belonged to the Anatolian storm god in the Latmos Mountains in northwestern Karia (Carstens 2008, pp. 74-80).

17No known traveler reports or archaeological studies provide information on any residential areas in this part of Northern Caria. However, a small amount of information hidden among ancient texts has proven extremely valuable for us. Strabo, in a passage, mentions a village called Larisa, 30 stadia above Tralleis. Zgusta translated the name of the city as Larasa (Zgusta, 1984, p. 331-688/2). Similarly, the inscriptions from Tralleis state that the village was called Larasa (Blümel, 1988, p. 172). A study published by Tül and Aydaş in 2011 placed Larasa in the Karagözler Plateau, which is located approximately 10 km northwest of Tralleis, and notes that the village was later called Siderus and Derira (Tül & Aydaş, 2011, p. 4 ff.).

18So, why is the Larisa / Larasos village so important to us? Before answering this question, we would like to share the passage of Strabo about the village: “…and a village of this name at the distance of 30 stadia from Tralleis, situated above the city, on the road to the plain of the Cayster, passing by Mesogis towards the temple of Mater Isodroma. This Larisa has a similar position and possesses similar advantages to those of Larisa Cremaste; for it has abundance of water and vineyards. Perhaps Jupiter had the appellation of Larisæus from this place” (Strab. Geography 9, 5, 19). Evidently, Strabo reports the existence of the sanctuary of a goddess called Meter Isodroma near the village in question. The investigations carried out near the village of Larisa / Larasa have thus far provided no information about the sacred sites of either Zeus Larisios or Meter Isodroma.

19Could the sanctuary we found in Çarıklar belong to Meter Isodroma? Although we cannot definitively or precisely answer this question without any epigraphic data, this is probably the site Strabon defined as a fertile area where good reeds and vineyards grow near Larisa / Larasa. Indeed, even today, the site is much more attractive than its surroundings in terms of water resources and plant diversity.

20Natural spring or underground water resources are known to be of great importance to the Mother Goddess cult. Water is the basic item of an ancient ritual called lustration. During lustration, water is considered to be the clean and sinless sacrifice offered to the gods (Onasch, 1981, p. 375). Water blessed in sanctuaries or springs can be taken to homes by believers for the purpose of healing patients (Brenk, 1986, pp. 77-78.). Niches where purified water are supplied in closed containers are also called kolymbion in Christianity (Butler, 1929, p. 216). Some of the ceremonies organized in the name of the goddess and known through written sources directly involve water sources. Among them, the best known is the one called lavatio. This ceremony is based on washing the portable idol or statue of goddess by taking it to a clean water source on the day following the night of the goddess’s marriage with Attis (Meriç, 2013, p. 70).

21Burkert and Işık consider caves the home of goddesses (Burkert, 1999, p. 37; Işık, 1999, p. 4). Işık explains this idea by considering that the real house of the goddess is located on the rock. In this case, niches can also be considered doors to the house of the goddess. Caves are also considered as spaces where the Attis-Goddess marriage ceremony takes place, especially in the cult of Kybele (Vermaseren, 1977, p. 117).

22As we have emphasized before, high mountain peaks surrounded by forests, rather than temples, became the prominent places in the goddess cult. Many areas in the Mediterranean basin and even in the Balkans are known to have been designated as sanctuaries because they were regarded as houses of the goddess. Among the cultic installations seen in these areas, niches (gateways to the house of the goddess), step monuments with the purpose of reaching the goddess, and offering pits created for libation and other purposes have an important place in the goddess worship.

23Various factors made niches widespread during the Iron Age. It is interesting to note that niche practices are seen in different forms in Urartu to the east (Tarhan & Sevin, 1975, pp. 389-400), Phrygia in the mid-west (Işık, 1987, passim), Western Anatolia, and Thrace, particularly the Rhodope Mountains (Ivanova, 2008, p. 187, Fig. 5), The high relief goddess depictions that appear in the Phrygian niches, and the nests where the portable statues of the goddess were placed in the niche-shaped openings, could be the clearest evidence of the belief that the goddess lives in the rock. 

24In many parts of Western Anatolia, many niches were used both as a reflection of religious thought and as rock tombs. Niches used for these purposes appear in the Urartian region in the east (Tarhan, 1986, p. 310) and in the west as well, such as the Northern Necropolis of Kaunos (Diler, 2002, pp. 68-80, Pl. 18-22). The main feature that distinguishes niches created for religious purposes and the niche-like monuments created as rock tombs is that the examples of those used for religious purposes are shallower than the latter. The slots produced by the Phrygians for the placement of possible wooden relief-like goddess sculptures left their place to stelae and even plates depicting the goddess as we see in later examples from Western Anatolia.

25As mentioned above, there are many types of niches that can be evaluated within the scope of Western Anatolia. Among them, there is a rock sanctuary on the north slope of Panayırdağ, the northern hill city of Ephesus (Ladstätter, Plattner, Prochaska & Tozzi, 2019, pp. 271-273); Phokaia İncir Adası (Erdoğan, 2008, pp. 109-126) and Pergamon-Kapıkaya (Nohlen & Radt, 1978; Engels, 2019, pp. 131-136) are the best known. There is a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Kybele at the slope of Mount Panayır (Keil, 1964, p. 17; Bammer, 1988, Abb. 22; Soykal Alanyalı, 1998, pp. 22-41). Some of the niches are found in rocky areas and are easy to work on; some are found on the slopes of mountains, among which a significant part is empty while some contain relief statues of the goddess (Soykal, 1998, p. 22 ff.). Roller states that some of the niches bear inscription, and through these inscriptions, she mentions that the people of Ephesus worshiped the goddess known with the Phrygian identity as the “Mountain Mother” and “Goddess of Ancestors” (Roller, 2004, p. 198). Numerous small votive stelae depicting the goddess were also recovered during work carried out in the sanctuary (Soykal, 1998, p. 22 ff.). Examples in Phokaia (Langlotz, 1969, p. 383) appear at places such as the Değirmenli Tepe Rock Sanctuary and the Liman Rock Sanctuary (Erdoğan, 2003, Res. 16, Res. 98, Res. 253). Many goddess-associated practices here are located on the rocky seaside or on the islands. Places, where the cult reached include colonial cities such as Massalia (Özyiğit, 1998, pp. 769-770).

26Aside from the well-known sites, there are many centers in Western Anatolia that are less known in the literature but featured similar practices to those of the Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary. Pergamon Kapıkaya in Mysia (Conze & Garbrecht, 1912, p. 128; Nohlen & Radt, 1978, passim; Naumann, 1983, Taf. 28-29; Agelidis, 2009, pp. 51-54; Agelidis 2014, pp. 386-389); Molla Mustafa Tepesi near Pergamon (Ateş, 2014, pp. 426-430, Fig. 5; Ateş, 2019, pp. 227-239. Abb. 4-5); a cave sanctuary on eastern slope of Pergamon (Pirson & Ateş, 2019, pp. 75-80. Abb. 18); Sagalassos (Talloen, 2019, pp. 177-197), Keçili in Lydia (Meriç, 1988, p. 247); Cenevizkale (Erkanal Öktü, Akalın, İren, & Lichter, 2003, 303-304, Res. 4); Tisna (Erdan, 2019, pp. 23-30); Karahayıt (Erdan, Yılmaz Kolancı, & Taşpınar, 2020) and Aigai (Dereboylu, 2012, pp. 321, Levha 14, Resim 44) in Aiolis reflect the traces of open-air sanctuaries. Here, an interesting proposal was conveyed by Dereboylu: the naiskos-shaped niche with a gable roof in Aigai, which we see in Çarıklar as well, may have been covered with a terracotta plate with an image of the goddess (Dereboylu, 2012, p. 321).

27Located in Ionia, near Ephesus, on the border of Şirince, the Sütini Cave attracts attention with its steps and small niches (Atalay, 1984, pp. 53-55; Ersoy-Gürler-Gülbay, 2004, pp. 79-80). One fact that makes this place interesting is that the area continued to be used as a religious site during the Christian era. The formation of the Byzantine Church here as Soutlou Panagia, maintaining its old name, is a good example of the site’s continuity. Similar cult areas in Ionia are encountered in Erythrai (Özgünel, 2005, p. 248), Klazomenai Söğüt Mevkii (Ersoy & Koparal, 2008, 55); the İnkayası Cave (Atalay, 1987, pp. 298-299, Res. 5); Samos (Işık, 1999, Fig. 56-4; Biehl, 2019, pp. 214-217. Abb. 6-9) and rock-cut niches possibly associated with Kybele were discovered on the north-facing terrace of the acropolis of Metropolis (Aybek & Gülbay, 2019, pp. 248-249. Figs. 11-12).

28There are also sites used by similar cults in Caria. Examples of niches similar to those of Çarıklar can be seen in Okkataş (Baran, 2012, p. 99, Fig. 6); Loryma (Held, 2001, p. 156); the Milas Türbe Plain (Diler, 1997, p. 192); Gerga (Diler, 1998, pp. 413-414, Resim 15); Aspat (Diler, 2007, p. 489); Idyma (İren, 2008, p. 255); and Tatarmemiş, which is located on the lower slope of the Madran Mountain (Diler, 1998, pp. 411-412). The best-known example in the region is located in Labraunda (Söğüt, Şimşek, & Baldıran, 2002, pp. 143-163; Hellström, 2007, p. 138; Karlsson, 2010, p. 43). Karlsson, who evaluates the religious practices here, defines the area as the “Sacred Area of Kybele” (Karlsson, 2013, passim). There is also evidence that niche practices associated with the Mother Goddess cult are not limited to Western Anatolia. Specific and widely accepted examples of this religious system abound in the southern regions of Anatolia, including Tlos (Yılmaz & Çevik 1996, p. 196); Antalya Dikmen (Özsait, 1996, p. 295, Resim 7); Telmessos (Işık, 1999, Fig. 57-6); Termessos (Işık, 1999, Fig. 58-7) in Lycia; Korykos (Sayar, 1998, p. 344); Olba (Erten, 2005, p. 14, Res. 7); and Mopsuhestia (Sayar, 2003, p. 60, Res. 7) in Cilicia; Ariassos (Işık, 1999, Fig. 60-12); and Perge (Martini, 2019, pp. 93-99, Abb. 5, 8) in Pamphylia.

29We also encounter open-air sanctuaries on the north slope of the Acropolis at Athens; the sanctuary of Eros and Aphrodite (Machaira, 2018, pp. 242-248. Figs. 2-3; Biehl, 2019, pp. 217-218. Abb. 10); and Apollon Hypoakraios (Biehl, 2019, pp. 218. Abb. 11).

30As mentioned above, steps and stepped monuments are another important place of worship in the Mother Goddess cult. Evaluating these monuments through the most common and well-known Phrygian examples in Anatolia, Tüfekçi Sivas mentions the cultural function of the step monuments as worship sites for the goddess (Tüfekçi Sivas, 2012, p. 154). The Phrygian stepped monuments have been referred to by different names, such as “altar” (Ramsay, 1882, p. 8 ff.) and “throne” (Körte, 1898, p. 118 ff; Akurgal, 1955, p. 96 ff.) in the literature since the 19th century. Haspels, on the other hand, refers to the stepped monuments as “so-called altars” (Haspels, 1971, p. 93 ff.). Different terminological suggestions appear in recent studies of the Phrygian rock monuments. Mellink, Işık and Berndt Ersöz interpret the monuments that Roller refers to as “altar with stairs” (Roller, 2004, p. 110) as “stepped monuments” (Mellink, 1981, p. 96; Işık, 1995, p. 56 ff.), and Tamsü Polat refers to them as “rock altars” (Tamsü Polat, 2010, p. 203 ff.).

31As with niches, step monuments are encountered in almost all parts of Western Anatolia; Hisarköy (Beksaç, 2001, pp. 117-118) and Kestel (Şahin-Mert-Şahin, 2010, p. 168) in Mysia; Tisna in Aiolis (Erdan, 2019, pp. 32-33); Kolophon (Holland, 1944, pp. 111-112, Fig. 14; Hepdinçler, 2019, pp. 197-206) and Ephesus in Ionia are some examples. The stepped monument at Ephesus looks similar to that of Çarıklar with its parapet walls on the sides. Bammer and Muss state that this feature is also seen in the “Tekören” monument in Phrygia (Bammer & Muss, 2006, p. 67).

32Stepped monuments are also seen at Eski Çine (Diler, 1998, pp. 411), Güvendağı Kaya Deresi (Kızıl & Öztekin, 2011, p. 414, Res. 12), Okkataş (Baran, 2012, pp. 90, Fig. 5), Idyma (İren, 2008, pp. 256-257, Res. 11), Alinda (Özkaya & San, 2002, p. 239), Kalem (Kızıl, 2008, pp. 233-239; Kızıl & Öztekin, 2009, pp. 294-295) and Mobolla (Diler, 2007, p. 492) in Caria. The monument at Mobolla is defined by Diler as the continuation of a tradition whose roots are traced back to the Hittite, Urartu and Phrygian cultures (Diler, 2007, p. 492). Similar examples are found in Eumeneia (Şimşek & Sezgin, 2011, pp. 29-43) in the southern borders of Phrygia; Davulcutepe in Denizli (Sezgin & Okunak, 2007, p. 118); Sagallassos in Pisidia (Waelkens et. al, 2013, p. 342); Antiphellos in Lycia (Işık, 2012, Lev. 54, Resim 343); Kastro Hill in Lemnos (Marangou, 2009, p. 95); Delos (Hoffmann, 1953, Pl. 60-Fig.18) and Chios (Hoffmann, 1953, Pl. 60-Fig.19). The monuments on the Kastro Hill in particular, are extremely interesting, as a large number of the stepped features are carved into the bedrock there. Marangou states that some of the steps would have led somewhere, as in Çarıklar, while some have no destination, and must have had symbolic meanings (Marangou, 2009, p. 95).

33We have already provided our opinion on the graffiti. The triple part in the middle of the graffiti, which we believe represents a stylized goddess, probably indicates the presence of a multi-breasted goddess. This evokes a cult of the Ephesian Artemis that is very well known in Western Anatolia. The cult was formed in Ephesus – perhaps in the Late Bronze Age – and strengthened over time, spreading to a wide area; its effectiveness is evident in Carian cities as well. Although the Artemis Leukophryene cult did not appear in Magnesia before the 3rd century BC, the cult statue here is known to be the continuation of the 6th century BC examples. The Magnesian Artemis, which is mostly known from its descriptions on coins, attracts attention with its multiple breast details similar to the appearance of the Ephesian Artemis. In Aphrodisias, another important city of the Meandros, the goddess is described with iconographically similar features. Similar images can be seen clearly in the cults of Artemis Anaitis in Hypaipa, Artemis Kindyas in Bargylia, and Artemis Astias in Iasos (Fleischer, 1973, pp. 137-229).

34John of Ephesus was appointed by the Emperor in 542 to fight against idolatry in four provincia, including Asia, Caria, Phrygia, and Lydia. During his mission, John, who was said to have returned thousands of people in the mountains rising behind Tralleis from idol-worship, had built a monastery over the famous pagan temple in Larisa / Larasos, which he described as Derira, and made it the head of three other monasteries he built in the region (Hutton, 1897, pp. 77-84; Tül & Aydaş, 2011, p. 17).

35We believe that the people of Northern Caria who settled in the Çarıklar Open-Air Sanctuary and its surroundings were likely among the mountain communities, which John returned from idolatry. In fact, the archaeological data recovered during our survey indicate that this site was also settled in Late Antiquity. Perhaps the region, which Christian communities considered a center of worship, may have contained one of the other monasteries built by John. Some archaeological studies carried out in the close vicinity suggest that one of the monasteries in question is Ballıkaya on the İncirliova-Tire road today. At least two monasteries are missing, accounting for the monastery and Ballıkaya example, which were probably built on top of the temple arranged for Zeus in the sanctuary of Larisa / Larasos, whose location is unknown today. Çarıklar is one of the most suitable candidates for the third monastery.

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Notes

1 For the presentation of the dish named moretum prepared for the goddess, see. Dexter 2009, 63.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: Map of the Open-Air Sanctuary
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 699k
Titre Fig. 2: Google Earth image with the environment of the sanctuary
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k
Titre Fig. 3: Topography of area
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 967k
Titre Fig. 4: Sketch showing the area and its surroundings.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 81k
Titre Fig. 5: View of the sanctuary from the east
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k
Titre Fig. 6: View of the bedrock with the niches
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 170k
Titre Fig. 7: Cave with a sloping mouth
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 131k
Titre Fig. 8: View of the split rock with the niches
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 375k
Titre Fig. 9: Niche with gable roof and rectangular niche
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 178k
Titre Fig. 10: Rectangular niches
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 186k
Titre Fig. 11: Roof beam slot of a building
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 405k
Titre Fig. 12: Rock-cut trace of a building
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 141k
Titre Fig. 13: Niches in a cavern
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre Fig. 14: Rectangular niche in cavern
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k
Titre Fig. 15: Main worship area, consisting of triple hollows bearing the niches
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 111k
Titre Fig. 16: Votive terrace and graffiti at the back
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Fig. 17: Graffiti
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-17.png
Fichier image/png, 1,8M
Titre Fig. 18: Votive terrace
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-18.png
Fichier image/png, 1,6M
Titre Fig. 19: Stairs provides access to the main worship area above
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-19.png
Fichier image/png, 1,7M
Titre Fig. 20: Offering pits
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 227k
Titre Fig. 21: Step monument
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 179k
Titre Fig. 22: Step monument
Crédits S. Ateşlier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1378/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 193k
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Suat Ateşlier et Emre Erdan, « A New Open-Air Sanctuary from Northern Caria »Anatolia Antiqua, XXVIII | 2020, 97-117.

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Suat Ateşlier et Emre Erdan, « A New Open-Air Sanctuary from Northern Caria »Anatolia Antiqua [En ligne], XXVIII | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2022, consulté le 30 janvier 2023. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/1378 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/anatoliaantiqua.1378

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Auteurs

Suat Ateşlier

Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Faculty of Art & Science, Department of Archaeology, Aydın-Türkiye

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Emre Erdan

Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Faculty of Art & Science, Department of Archaeology, Aydın-Türkiye

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