Terracotta Mask From the North Necropolis of Aizanoi


OLBA, vol.30, pp.83-112, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: OLBA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.83-112
  • Keywords: Terracotta Mask, Aizanoi, Grave, Dionysos, Satyr, Burial Customs. Necropolis
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Aizanoi is located on the Orencik Plain Plateau, within the borders of Cavdarhisar district, 48 km southwest of the Kutahya Province. In ancient times, the city was in the Phrygian Epictetus region. Although the earliest data of Aizanoi are the findings dated to the Paleolithic period, the earliest archaeological data belonging to the settlement are obtained from the mound on which the temple of Zeus is located and they are dated to the Early Bronze Age. During the Roman Imperial period, the city experienced its brightest era. Especially during the reign of emperor Hadrianus and Antoninus, the increasing development in construction activities and transformation of Aizanoi to a city that received intense migration, her a cosmopolitan structure. Until the middle of the 3rd century AD, Aizanoi continued to hold her leading political and religious position in the region. At the beginning of the 4th century AD, Aizanoi became a part of the Phrygia Prima province, which constituted by combining Phrygia and Caria. The city has an ancient texture with examples of public and religious architecture. In addition, it is an example of cultural heritage with its pastoral structure, which includes examples of local civil architecture from the Turkish period. With these features, it was accepted into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Tentative List on 12 April 2012. Excavations were carried out in the area defined as the "northern necropolis" between 2012 and 2017. The Northern necropolis is located at the rear side of the theater in the northern part of Aizanoi and 1020 m above sea level. The depth of the graves is generally around 40-60 cm, which is not a very deep dug for burial; on the contrary, burial was carried out close to the surface of the soil. Determination of similar depth of graves throughout the north necropolis indicates that was a conscious preference. According to the data, the burial in the Northern Necropolis began in the late 2nd century BC and intensified in the 1st century BC and 1st century AD. Although it was rare, burial activities continued during the 3rd century AD. The common form of burial was cremation in from the 2nd century BC to the midst of the 1st century AD and then inhumation appeared in the early 1st century AD. Dorsal laying is popular in the inhumation burials. The types of the graves are simple earth, simple earth with plaque lid, shaft grave, chamber tomb and ostothece. The first two of these are the commonest type of graves in the Northern Necropolis. Both single and multiple burials were found during the excavations. Grave good are divided into two as outside and inside of the grave which includes terracotta figurines, pottery, glass, metal, bone, stone objects, and coins. The Aizanoi mask was found in a simple earthen grave of two young adults with destroyed skeletons in the Northern Necropolis in 2012. It has been observed that the first person was a young woman and the second also a young person. Since the bones were scattered, the lying direction or positions of the person is not clear. The grave goods are 5 iron nails, a bronze coin, a terracotta mask, a few pots, a lamp, the fragment of unguentarium and 2 thymeitarion bases, which were put outside of the grave an as offering.