(CNR – IBAM, Lecce, Italy)


The archaeological survey conducted by the National Research Council, Institute of archeological heritage – monuments and sites of Lecce (CNR-IBAM) between 2005 and 2007 in the territory of Hierapolis in Phrygia, in cooperation with the Italian Archaeological Mission, regarded a vast geographical area in south-west Turkey (the valley of Çürüksu and the high plains of Uzunp?nar and Çal). After the reports made in the past by travellers who crossed the area between the 1800’s and the first decade of the 1900’s, this area was scarcely investigated and there was only a sporadic and occasional interest in the discovery of its archaeological finds. The systematic survey allowed for the reconstruction of the ancient population of this territory.

Since there were no aerial photographs nor cartographic bases on a scale suitable for the direct exploration of the territory, a considerable contribution to the research was made available by both the historic and recent high resolution satellite images; the latter were even orthorectified for field work and inserted in a GIS and the archaeological evidences were accurately placed by means of GPS systems.

Amongst the more noticeable results of the research, the identification and the localization of Mossyna in the western part of the high plains of Çal near the modern village of Sazak should be pointed out. Mossyna is certainly the main ancient centre present in the territory under investigation. The position of this archaeological site was mentioned in Byzantine literary sources and it was the seat of the diocese from at least the V century A.D. as well as the object of a high pitched debate beginning at the end of the 1800’s between scholars who were involved in the ancient topography of southern Phrygia. Following there were to be many conflicting hypothesis concerning the identification of certain ancient sites on the high plains of Uzunp?nar and Çal.

The systematic survey of this territory has allowed for an overall evaluation of all the archaeological presences and of the visible ancient remains in the area. The certainty of the location of Mossyna on a large promontory situate about 1 km east of Sazak can also be backed by epigraphic discoveries. The survey conducted in the area, thanks to the contribution of modern technologies such as satellite remote sensing and global positioning, have made it possible to specify the characteristics and the entity of the remains and of the material that is visible on the surface. All of this contributes to the evidence that Mossyna was not just a simple village, but a booming city already in the Late Hellenistic period and above all in the Roman and Byzantine Ages (when it can be certain that Mossyna had administrative autonomy), with a maximum extension that exceeded 60 hectares.

Mossyna; Turkey; archaeological map; satellite images; landscape archaeology