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D132: Northeast Church (Geyre Cemetery Church)

By Aphrodisias Regional Survey


Local Name: Geyre CemeteryLocal Information: Old Geyre Cemetery in use at least up to 2003Latitude: 543mDimensions: overall exterior dimensions: approx. 16.0m (N-S) by 22.5 m (E-W) ** Narthex approx. W: 3.5m ** Aisle W: 3.4m ** Nave W: 6.4m ** Apse diam: approx. 6.0mDescription: Situated along the ancient road leading from the Northeast Gate out toward the City Quarries, about 500 m northeast of the Northeast Gate, and about 150 m north of a concentration of Late Roman tombs; immediately south of the Karacasu-Tavas highway; within the modern cemetery of old Geyre. Numerous columns and colonettes as well as other architectural blocks are scattered throughout the area, most reused as gravestones. The Northeast Church appears to have a three-aisled basilica plan with a narthex to the west and a triple-apsed sanctuary to the east. ** Very little of the mortared rubble walls are visible above present ground level; where measurable, they are a uniform thickness of 0.70 m. A pair of in situ double-engaged column bases used as doorjambs project 0.20 m and 0.30 m above the present ground level; this doorway is the main entrance to the narthex of the church. The southwest corner of the west wall is partially visible, providing the total width of the narthex, if reconstructed symmetrically along its east–west axis. A possible opening in the south wall may indicate a side entrance to the narthex. A second doorway in the eastern wall of the narthex, aligned with the west doorway, marks the entrance from narthex to the nave. The narthex wall is visible on both sides and better preserved toward the south. On this side, a second doorway interrupts the wall; a third doorway restored to the north would provide a triple entrance to the nave and side aisles from the narthex. An engaged pier between the central and the southern doorways marks the west end of the south colonnade. Aligned with that pier, the bases of two of the columns of the south colonnade remain in situ. They are bases for double engaged columns and are spaced 1.30 m apart. The length of the nave thus allows for a five-column colonnade between the central nave and each of the side aisles. Since the interaxial of these colonnades is nearly 2.0 m, the columns were likely spanned by masonry arches. Not coincidentally, many of the headstones used in the modern cemetery around the church are repurposed double-engaged half-columns, carved out of the mottled gray marble. The columns reused as headstones are usually erected upside down and are either fragmentary or partly buried, or both, so their original heights are unknown. ** The general plan of the east end of the building is legible in the crescent-shaped mound that covers it. The mound is concave on its west side, following the contour of the central apse. The southeast corner of the church is visible, as is the beginning of the curve of the southern apse, indicating that the basilica had a tripartite sanctuary and projecting apses. The rubble mound at the east end, perhaps the collapsed semidome over the central apse, extends about 4 m farther east beyond the southeast corner of the building. ** The plan of the Northeast Church is of a standard basilica type: the nave and aisles are divided by rows of columns, and each terminates in semicircular apses to the east. This plan finds numerous parallels dated to the fifth or sixth centuries A.D. Four octagonal floor tiles (0.26 x 0.26 m) were found scattered around a robber's pit near the east end of the nave. Octagonal floor tiles appear throughout the city in late Roman structures.Finds: Large double engaged columns - W: 0.66m; D: 0.35m; pres. H: 2.02m ** Small Double Half Columns (window mullions) - W: 0.42m; D: 0.28m; H: 1.30m ** Spiral Fluted Columns - Base Diam: 0.49m; H: 1.84m ** Fluted Columns (3) - Diam: 0.48m; H: 0.90m ** Screen Block - Identical to screen blocks D114 - L: 0.90m; H: 0.39m; D: 0.16m; large dowel cutting on one side, etched design on one side with drilled holes for clamps (?) beneath ** Unfluted Column - Base Diam: 0.39m ** At least 2 threshold blocks ** Cornice block reused as door jamb in East side of cemetery gat

Topics: Sanctuaries and Churches, 4: Roman, 5: Late Roman
Year: 2007
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