Lyrbe (?) is a Greco-Roman site in Eastern Pamphylia (near modern Bucakşeyhler Village in Manavgat, Antalya). Following the excavations in the 1970s conducted by J. Inan, a new survey project has been initiated in 2021. Recent research indicates the importance of environmental factors for this small-scale city. It had a strategic position on a hilltop, dominating the mountain pass towards the Taurus Range in the north and the fertile Pamphylian plain in the south. A natural spring – still actively used by the peasants – provided fresh water, whereas the Melas (Manavgat) River must have facilitated its communication with the nearby settlements.
During the surveys, numerous architectural remains with incorporated installations for agricultural activities have been documented in and around the city (Fig. 1). These testify to intensive olive and sesame production. In modern times, both plants continue to be cultivated in the area and the Manavgat region is renowned for Turkey’s best-quality sesame seeds. An abandoned sesame oven and mill complex in Bucakşeyhler Village shows great resemblance with those in Lyrbe and proves the use of ancient production techniques for sesame paste up until the 20th c.
In July 2021, the archaeological site and the entire forest in the vicinity of Lyrbe have been severely affected by the wildfires in Manavgat. This resulted in a drastic change in the ecological landscape and the cutting down of burnt trees in the entire region. Lyrbe thus stands out not only as a valuable example that provides information about the agricultural production in the region in Antiquity but also as an emerging project where socio-ecological themes can be discussed from several perspectives such as archaeological, ethnographical, environmental, as well as preservation of cultural heritage in natural disasters areas.
Işıl Işıklıkaya Laubscher (Ph.D.) studied Classical Archeology at Istanbul University. She participated in field projects in Assos, Priene, Sagalassos, Perge, Iasos, Zeugma, and Antioch. She specializes in Greek and Roman mosaics, ancient urbanism, ethnoarchaeology, and public archaeology. Since 2021, she is affiliated with Goethe University Frankfurt and directs the Lyrbe Archaeological Survey Project.
Selma Bulgurlu Gün (Ph.D.) studied Classical Archeology at Istanbul University and Justus Liebig University in Gießen. She studied the Hellenistic city gate of Perge and its phases as her doctoral thesis. She participated in field projects in Perge, Priene, Nif Mountain, Antioch, and Lyrbe. She specializes in ancient architecture, Roman architectural decoration, and Hellenistic sculpture.
Author: Işıl Işıklıkaya Laubscher, Selma Bulgurlu Gün