Clarke, Joseph Thacher ; Bacon, Francis H. ; Koldewey, Robert
Investigations at Assos: expedition of the Archaeological Institute of America ; drawings and photographs of the buildings and objects discovered during the excavations of 1881, 1882, 1883 (Part I - V) — London, 1902-1921

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ACCOUNT OF THE EXPEDITION

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to the west of it another tower in ruins. These towers are roughly
built, and of comparatively modern date. Near the towers are some
arched vaults, probably of the same period. Some antique remains
— a part of a cornice, and broken portions of a column — are let into
the walls of the mosque; and some others lie scattered about, but
nothing of any interest. The view from the plateau of the acropolis
is very fine.
On the south or sea-side of the hill were situated the principal
buildings, and here has the work of recent destruction been most
active. There seem to have been two terraces, one at the base of
the Acropolis, the other lower down on the slope leading to the sea.
The upper terrace is backed by walls built against the rock, and may
perhaps have had a corridor forming one side of the zzg'ezvz. This line
of wall is of beautiful workmanship, with small apertures cut in it at
regular distances, having an ornamental effect. In front of the walls
are the remains of some large buildings, the size and oblong shape of
which are traceable in the foundations of huge blocks. At the east
gate of the principal building stood two monoliths, said to be the
largest in the place — one a column, and the other an immense square
block, leaning against it, as though having fallen from an entrance
gate. The column was the only one left standing in the place. The
Turks had commenced digging a trench round it, and hoped to have
it prostrate in a few days. To the eastward are the remains of a small
building supposed to have been a nymphaum. It consists of two
chambers; part of the walls on three sides of the larger one still re-
main. Built into the back wall of the principal chamber is a semi-
circular slab, and on the ground lay a large stone, hollowed out as
though to receive water. "There are remains also of other buildings,
but there appears to have been a land-slip from the overhanging
precipice, and the ruins left are a mere chaotic heap. The lower
terrace is a heap of ruins, the purposes to which the buildings on it
were put being quite indistinguishable. From this lower terrace one
looks down on the theatre. Leake speaks of it as being in “ perfect
preservation.” Texier says : “Un vaste theatre, dont les sieges sont
encore en place ; mais le proscenium est en grande partie ecroule.”
It is now nothing but an enormous quarry, the seats piled one above
another in indescribable confusion, from the attempts made to carry
off the stones. I only noticed two seats situ, and two small arches,
which seemed to have supported the steps leading from tier to tier.
The proscenium is clearly marked out, but covered with earth and
overgrown with grass and weeds. From the theatre a rude path con-
ducts to the scala, or landing place, where there is a small fishing
village and breakwater. The ancient mole mentioned by Strabo was
to the east of this. Some traces of it are visible from the sea. Re-
tracing our steps to the upper terrace, on the west side, and just with-
in the principal gate, stood the Doric Temple of Augustus.1 The
blocks which formed the architrave were lying, ranged side by side,
on the path leading to the sea, ready for shipment.
On another block of somewhat larger proportions, we found one-
half of the inscription given by Leake, engraved in small characters
and much defaced. This read as follows, and is supposed to have
stood over a gateway: (This part of the temple) “ was repaired out of
the rent of the lands which Kleostratos, a son of the city, and by birth
of the race of Apellikon, left for the repair of the city.” (For Apelli-
kon, see Strabo, XIII, 609.)
The most interesting and best-preserved remains at Assos are the
walls. They afford one of the most perfect examples extant of the
mode of fortification adopted by the ancient Greeks. The line of
walls was so arranged as to take advantage of the strength of the
position, and divided the town into two parts, between which stands
the Acropolis. The partition wall is of less strength than the outer
walls. The walls are constructed of the local granite or trachyte, and
are finished, with great care, of bevelled blocks of great size. No
cement or mortar is used. The western walls are in the best preserva-
tion. We found the best-preserved wall, that near the tombs, to be,
as nearly as we could measure it, 27 ft. 10 in. high, exclusive of cop-
ing. The towers are all square, with one exception. For a descrip-
tion of this round tower and its adjoining bastion, see Texier. He
supposes it to be Pelasgic. It looked to me, however, quite as prob-
able that its rude construction may date from a late as from a prehis-
toric period. The walls appear to have had a double facing, and the
interspace filled up with rough blocks, forming a path along the top.
Texier estimates their circumference at 3,103 metres.
The gates are the most remarkable of the remains at Assos, and
bear in their construction evidence of the very highest antiquity, pre-
senting examples of the horizontal arch in use by the Greeks, previ-
ous to the introduction of the true or key-stone arch.
The principal entrance gate, engraved by Texier, had just been
destroyed by the Turks, previously to our arrival. The principle of
the Greek pseudo-arch was, that it was formed by cutting, as it were,
the shape out of the wall instead of building it up by stones support-
ing each other. This pseudo-arch is used in the well-known lion
gateway at Tiryns, and forms a kind of frame to the sculptured lions.

1 The Gymnasium.

I noticed a similar arch at the recent excavations near Boonarbashi.
There are other examples, at the tomb of Tantalus and elsewhere.
The use of the horizontal arch is, on all hands, allowed to be a proof
of great antiquity. Texier says: “ Supposer que ces murailles ne
remontent plus au-dela du cinquieme siecle avant J.-C., c’est leur
assigner la limite la plus rapprochee qu’il soit possible.”
The tombs, of the ordinary Greek sarcophagus shape, decorated
with sculptured wreaths, are nearly all in ruins. The following are
the measurements of the most perfect one: — Length, 12 ft.; width,
4 ft. 11 in.; height, 5 ft. 10% in-; thickness of the stone, 7 *4 in.
The inscriptions we saw were in Greek characters, but much de-
faced. I am not aware of any Latin inscriptions having been found
at Assos. This would seem to show that the town retained its Greek
characters to the last.
At interviews we had with the bimbashi, we endeavoured to im-
press on him the outrage to civilised ideas that such wanton destruc-
tion of unique ruins occasioned. His answer was, that his orders were
to get large stones, and large stones he must get. At the same time,
he promised to avoid injuring the remaining gates, unless compelled
to do so by superior orders. It is gratifying to know, that, shortly
after our visit, the active operations of the Turks were brought to a
close by bad weather, and they have not been resumed.
ACCOUNT OF THE
EXPEDITION
It was in June, 1879, that Mr. Clarke and Mr. Bacon
visited the site for the purpose of investigating the remains of
the temple — a monument of the greatest importance in the
history of the Doric style. The observations made during a
limited stay were presented, somewhat in the form of a
review, in the First Annual Report of the Archaeological
Institute of America.2 The paper concluded with a recom-
mendation of the site as a promising field for more extended
observations. The determination of the Institute to under-
take the exploration of Assos was announced in the Second
Annual Report,3 but the preparation had begun long previously.
The organization of the party occupied the last months of
1880. The names and qualifications of those chosen from
the many applicants were published in the before-mentioned
Report of the Institute. Those actually present upon the site,
from time to time, during the first year, were: Joseph T.
Clarke, Francis H. Bacon, C. Howard Walker, and Maxwell
Wrigley, architects; William C. Lawton and Charles W.
Bradley, graduates of Harvard College; J. H. Haynes, gradu-
ate of Williams College, and J. S. Diller, geologist.4 The
pioneers of the party, with the outfit, were transported to
Smyrna, and from there to Mytilene, which was the nearest
large town to Assos. The surveying instruments were soon
after carried to Assos in a small sailing boat, and the actual
work upon the site was begun upon the 19th of April, 1881.
On arriving at Assos the magnificent situation of the
ancient city impressed itself upon each member of the party.
The Acropolis is the crater of an extinct volcano, and
consists of a gray rock, with here and there a mass of con-
glomerate, showing the effect of the volcanic fires. Along the
narrow paved streets that ran around the sides of the Acropolis
were formerly the dwellings and public buildings, in terraces,
rising tier above tier, mostly facing southward, looking over the
2 Notes on Greek Shores. By Joseph Thacher Clarke. Pp. 145—163.
3 Second Annual Report of the Archaeological Institute of America. Cambridge.
1881.
4 Mr. Edward Robinson remained at Mytilene ; Mr. Eliot Norton was at
Assos as a volunteer assistant from March to June.
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