Adventures

Visit to the Ancient Cities of Turkey with a BIAA Travel Grant:

Report by Richard Sadler, graduating in Classical and Archaeological Studies, summer 2008, and recipient of the grant.

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Richard writes:

“If, during your time at Kent, you plan to study any modules on late antiquity, then I cannot recommend highly enough that you apply for a £500 travel grant from the BIAA. Having received this grant, with the help of my lecturer Dr. Lavan, I set about planning my trip around the late antique sites of Turkey for two weeks.

I set off mid-June to Istanbul and spent two and a half days in this amazing city experiencing such sites as the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia and the Basilica Cisterns, one of the few remaining late antique sites preserved in Istanbul as well as the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which has four floors packed full of outstanding exhibits. Having left Istanbul I travelled to the British Institute itself in Ankara where I was welcomed very warmly and allowed to use their extensive library to do some further reading in order to prepare me better for some of the sites I would visit later on.

On leaving Ankara I travelled mainly around the south and south-east of Turkey seeing a new site or more everyday, including Hierapolis, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Miletus, Priene and Didyma. The buildings in these cities were so well preserved that one might not be to far off in saying that all that is missing is the roof! After travelling around by coach for a while, I had the pleasure of having my own driver to take me to many of the more remote sites. Although this was more expensive it is worth every penny as without it, such sites as Sagalassos, Arykanda and Pinara would be inaccessible.

These are amazingly well-preserved cities and display many attributes of the late antique period such as the use of spolia, encroachment, commercialisation, and Christianisation. Hardly anywhere in the world can compare to Turkey for the sheer diversity and scale of its archaeological heritage and the breathtaking landscapes in which it is to be found. Just reading about it and studying it in class is not enough, if you are serious about it you must visit.”

Richard has returned to Kent to undertake his post-graduate study. Fortunately, he has lost his hat and bumbag , so these will never return.

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