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Amorium, Turkey

During the Middle Ages (ca. A.D. 650–1000), Amorium, in central Anatolia, was an important Byzantine city, which at its height in the early ninth century A.D. was the third largest in the Byzantine Empire, after Constantinople (Istanbul) and Thessalonica (Thessaloniki, Greece). It was also the home town of the Amorian dynasty of Byzantine emperors (r. A.D. 820–867)—Michael II, Theophilus, and Michael III. In A.D. 838, Amorium was the site of a famous siege by the armies of the Abbasid caliph al-Mu‛tasim. Despite the sack of the city, evidence for which has been uncovered during the excavations, Amorium was rebuilt and flourished again until the arrival of the Turks in Anatolia during the late eleventh century A.D.

Amorium

Amorium in winter: view of the Lower City Church looking north

The Amorium Excavations Project operates under the auspices of the British Institute at Ankara, with the permission of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The excavations at Amorium began in 1988 and, so far, have revealed a large church, a bathhouse, numerous wine-producing installations, and sections of the city walls. The international team includes a large Turkish contingent and encourages close cooperation with local scholars and students.

Amorium

Amorium in spring: view from the Lower City Church looking north to the Upper City mound

The director of the excavations is Christopher Lightfoot, curator in the Department of Greek and Roman Art, who has been involved in the excavations since 1992. The Amorium Excavations Project maintains its own website in English and Turkish: www.amoriumexcavations.org.

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