The great metropolis of Asia Minor, Sardis was the place where legendary Croesus ruled, where coinage was invented. Since 1958 a Harvard–Cornell archaeological team has worked at the site to retrieve evidence of the greatness of Lydian culture as well as of the prehistoric, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Turkish civilizations that preceded and followed the Lydian kingdom. Here is the first of the richly illustrated volumes that will report their work.
Eight authors, experts from a variety of disciplines, put Sardis into its setting—physical, economic, and cultural. They offer a topographic survey of the city; a study of the vast defensive circuit of the Roman City Wall; and the first detailed examination of the sacred Precinct of Artemis, which housed one of the grandest temples of antiquity. The precinct’s changing fortunes from archaic to Turkish times and the nature of the earliest temple on the site are discussed on the basis of new soundings, and reasons for the change to a temple dedicated jointly to Zeus and Artemis are outlined.
Also included is evidence for an archaic Lydian and a larger Hellenistic altar and for Lydian dwellings at the northeast boundary of the precinct. Located outside the City Walls, a Roman bath having fragments of Early Byzantine paintings illustrates experiments in combining Hellenistic masonry and Roman concrete structural systems.