Principles for the conservation and presentation of the archaeological heritage at the 6th century Byzantine settlement on Gemiler Island (Lycia)

Elmastaş, Pınar
Gemiler Island is located in the Gulf of Belceğiz on the northwest coast of ancient Lycia. This small island comprises the compact and relatively well-preserved remains of an Early Byzantine settlement, surrounded by a few nearby sites (equally with reduced dimensions) which were in close association with the main settlement on the island in Antiquity. The settlement on Gemiler Island was established ex novo in the 6th century (CE) and reveals the typical characteristics of an Early Byzantine provincial town in urban, architectural, and decorative terms. The street pattern, examples of civic and religious architecture, and remains of ornamental elements, such as architectural sculpture, wall paintings, mosaics, and opus sectile are relatively well maintained. The site also offers some rare features of Byzantine architecture. Gemiler Island and its surroundings have been the subjects of archaeological surveys and partial excavations in the past decades, without, however, the application of effective conservation measures. Unlike the nearby mainland settlements, the relatively isolated position of this island has so far protected it from increasing tourism and relevant conservation challenges. On the other hand, the lack of conservation measures results in the deterioration of the archaeological site (and of its remarkable technical and artistic values), which remains largely exposed to natural and climatic factors. As a matter of fact, an increasing loss of architectural and decorative elements, in particular, has been detected in recent decades. This thesis thus aims to analyze the values and opportunities offered by this site, as well as threats and challenges to its conservation, in an attempt to develop principles for sustainable conservation and strategies for a better presentation of this small but significant site, within its archaeological and natural setting.


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Citation Formats
P. Elmastaş, “Principles for the conservation and presentation of the archaeological heritage at the 6th century Byzantine settlement on Gemiler Island (Lycia),” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.