Maydos Kilisetepe Mound

Maydos Kilisetepe Mound
Maydos Kilisetepe Mound


Kilisetepe Mound


The archaeological studies in the Maydos (Kilisetepe) Mound, the largest mound of the Gallipoli Peninsula, which was called Madytos in the antiquity and is located in the town of Eceabat on the European side of the Dardanelles, have been directed by Göksel Sazcı from Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University since 2010. Thanks to these excavations, we have been able to achieve some very interesting results concerning the region we know little about.

The earliest layers unearthed in the mound during the 2020 excavation season date from the late Early Bronze Age. In the layers of the Early Bronze Age discovered in a very narrow space, a structure consisting of a stone foundation and a mudbrick wall was found.  The ceramic analyses revealed considerable similarities between these layers and Troy’s Layer V-IV. The practices concerning this period will be intensified and continued in the settlement and it has been aimed to reach the earlier periods of the Early Bronze Age in the following years.

The layers dated to the Middle and Late Bronze Age were researched across a vast area. The adjacent large rectangular structures comprise stone foundations and mudbrick walls. The rear walls were built thicker for defensive purposes. Moreover, a defensive wall was erected with clean-cut stones around the mound.  It was observed in some chambers that the mudbrick walls were ornamented with color reliefs.  The reliefs were used not only as borders on the walls but also for the decoration of doors and windows. Besides various versions of the spiral meander pattern, rug motifs and concentric circles were employed in the reliefs. The patterns on the reliefs were observed also on the religious objects, seals, and ceramic tiles/wares. The Maydos Kilisetepe Mound was a (coastal) port settlement in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. This was evidenced not only by geological observations but also with the retrieved finds. A Minoan stone lid dated to the Middle and Late Bronze Age, the mushroom-head scepter whose likes are normally found in the north of the Black Sea Region, and ceramic objects typical of the western coasts of the Black Sea Region epitomize this phenomenon.

The layer of the Late Bronze Age ends with a fire. It is likely to infer from the sling bullets and arrowheads in this fire layer that this layer resulted from not a natural disaster but an assault.   Actually the analysis of the architectural, ceramic, and animal remains on the top of this layer would reveal the traces of an external community. An architectural style characterized by vertical stones too can be observed in the layer. Such architectural characteristics are known from the Balkans and the cultures of the Bronze Age in the Northwestern Black Sea. Although the sporadic use of vertical stones is observable in the previous stages of Maydos, they were prevalently used in this period.  The rectangular and megaron structures peculiar to the region coexisted with the new architectural characteristics. This suggests that the incoming tribes from the Balkans lived together with the local people for a while. It was also understood from the ceramic analyses that the newcomers used coarse handmade ceramic wares and from the animal bones that they hunted to satisfy their need for protein.

The next layer in Maydos dates from the Geometric Age. Oval houses of this age were uncovered in the layer.  The examples of these structures referring to the earliest Greek migrations in the Maydos Kilisetepe Mound are the northernmost specimens of this architectural style. There are hearth spots and pillar bases of round stones in the structures observed to consist of at least two stages. In one of the oval structures, foundations again with vertical stones were used. This can be suggested to evidence the influence of the Balkan Tribes.  The documents from the 8th century BC read that the ancient city of Madytos was a Thracian settlement when first founded and then was invaded by Aiolians from the Mytilene settlement on the Lesbos Island in the 7th century BC. The finds in the Maydos Kilisetepe Mound substantiate this suggestion.

Despite the retrieval of ceramic objects of the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, only poor architectural remains from the Archaic and Classical periods were obtained. The remains of the other periods were severely damaged by terracing in the mound in both the Byzantine period and recent eras.

A solid wall which we thought was built for defensive purposes and sporadic pits and ditches from the Byzantine Period were discovered. The latest finds from the mound are the funerary chambers of the cemetery of the church after which it was named and had survived till the beginning of the 20th century.