Glenn Maffia discovers a new side of the Apollo Temple’s environs

As I continue my lonely and silent walk among the diligent, but unspeaking, archaeologists burrowing deep within the earth, it all rather struck me as being so familiar. For they are digging in the very same places as they were two years ago; north of the mosque and the Byzantine/Hellenistic site behind the Medusa Otel.

Old stone friends

Certainly, I have been excited by the finds of antique Doric and Ionic architecture in the foundations of the church/mosque, though I would have expected to find precisely those fragments precisely there.

There is, in the schoolyard, a well, which if it can be corroborated to an extant 2nd century BCE inscription could confirm that the temple just north of the mosque was dedicated to ‘Artemis’. I am beginning to think this well is in the wrong place to be associated with the temple.

That apart, it has, all in all, been rather flat and uninspiring. Yes, it is pleasant to see old stone friends once more, but the same conversation becomes a little wearisome.

Focal points of the excavation

To give the archaeologists the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are merely familiarising themselves once more to the site.

Now, if they were to be addressing the question of what the square Hellenistic platform was utilized for, I would be intrigued. The papers have been published from the previous excavation therefore we know exactly what is there, so the work should be making a comparison with other square based contemporary structures.

Given the location, upon a hill overlooking the Temple, I am inclined to imagine that its significance would have been highly regarded by its contemporary society. For these are foundations of some considerable weight.

Of the site to the north of the mosque, apart from the interesting well, it is obviously the Doric Stoa they have been searching for, though as I stated in a previous article, the foundations stones there cast a serious doubt if they could ever support such a structure.

Cogitating in the sun

I retired to a quiet café to quench my thirst and to ponder upon such mysteries. As I did I idly glanced at the map to remind me of previous years when exciting finds were springing up just about everywhere they put a spade into the ground.

Yes, the vast size of the entire archaeological site makes a mockery of Didim marketing the area as consisting solely of the Temple.

Certainly, the Temple is the hub of an elegantly designed circle which radiates out from that centre to all these places of immense importance in the town planning of ancient Greece and Rome.

Though that circle remains incomplete to the northeast and the southwest. There is nothing there today except dereliction and people living in abject squalor.

A glittering array of magnificence

Surely, it must be glaringly obvious that there must be an abundance of archaeology of the highest importance upon the hill facing the main façade of the Temple.

If I were a member of the distinguished dignitaries of the Milesian elite, or the Roman Governor of Asia Minor, or, possibly, even the Roman Emperor himself, where would

I place my Apollon villa? Of course, one would position such a grand statement as a sumptuously designed villa directly facing the magnificent façade.

Absolutely no archaeology, to my knowledge, has ever been pursued in this area, neither has any permission been given for it to do so. Why?

I can give you an answer, but try asking those who purport to govern this town for the benefit of all.

If you ever receive a reply I am sure that you would find it cringingly insular, and in a moribund state of conservative inertia.