The Texas Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research
The TFAHR Bylazora Project
|Click on photo to enlarge.
|THE ACROPOLIS OF BYLAZORA, page 3
By Eulah Matthews and William Neidinger
Phase 4: First Squatter Period.
The use of the politically incorrect term squatter sparked some heated debate amongst the members of the TFAHR International Field School
and with our Macedonian colleagues. Despite any pejorative modern connotations, the word perfectly describes the situation on the acropolis
after the destruction of Phase 3, i.e., people came to inhabit areas of the city to which they probably had no title. How did we arrive at this
A propylon, by anyone’s measure, is a public structure. One can assume that in
normal times, when the propylon was in use, individuals were not permitted by the
authorities to build houses upon a public thoroughfare. But should such a public
structure fall into ruin, the authorities might not be concerned if any individuals utilized
the ruins of the structure for their own purposes. Such was the case with Bylazora’s
propylon. After it was destroyed, people came along and built a house nestled within
the ruins of the rectangular room of the propylon. They utilized propylon side wall
L12.10, which was still standing, but built another wall, L13.11, which extended over
the paving stones of what used to be the public roadway of the propylon. This wall,
built of clay, mudbricks, stones, tiles, and wattle and daub, was amazingly well
preserved to a height of about 1.50 m. L13.11 divided the squatter structure into
rooms, the inhabitants using the paving stones themselves as the floor of their
dwelling. A significant amount of utilitarian household artifacts was discovered in this
stratum: loom weights, cooking vessels, a stone mortarium, an iron pruning hook, as
well as serving and drinking vessels. This is our critical locus L13.5-L14.6, which Mr.
Stokke will discuss in one of the following articles. If the First Squatter level can be
dated to ca. 300-275 BC, that means that the propylon had to have gone out of
public use prior to that date, dating the Phase 3 destruction to some time between
400 and 300 BC. The proximity of the finds from L13.5-L14.6 to the stones of the
propylon suggest a date closer to 300 BC.
|Wall L13.11, part of the structure built into the
ruins of the propylon.
|Household artifacts discovered in the
structure built into the propylon.
|Iron pruning hook (left) and stone mortarium (right), from the
structure built into the propylon.
The ramp itself also went out of use at about this time. Tiles from the ramp’s roof lay just a few
centimeters above the paving stones. Although the ramp was covered with debris, its lateral
walls (L12.10 and its quarried-away eastern counterpart) remained intact. L12.10 served as one
of the walls of a squatter house. Its counterpart caught the considerable debris (pottery, bones,
tiles, and other refuse) ejected from squatter dwellings built further uphill. The pottery in this
debris dates from the third century BC.
The debris which accumulated around the propylon’s eastern lateral wall came from shoddily re-
built structures on the upper terrace. In front and attached to the Phase 2 structure (N14.2 +
N14.3) on the upper terrace, a very poorly built set of walls was built, irregular courses of loosely
fitting stones just piled atop one another. But within these squatter walls we found a well sculpted
triglyph and metope block. It is similar to the fragment found imbedded within the foundation of
the Second Tower, therefore pre-dating Phase 2. Coming from the alley way and skirting the
new front of this building a small drain was constructed of re-used stones, roof tiles, and rough
field stones. It fed out onto what remained of the propylon.
|In the balk are the remains of roof
tiles which covered the ramp.
|Poorly built walls built against the Phase 2 structure on
the upper terrace. Note the triglyph and metope block.
Phase 5: Abandonment.
All across this section of the acropolis a sizeable layer of nearly sterile soil accumulated atop the level of the First Squatter Period. Such
sterile soil and lack of any construction leads us to believe that this area of Bylazora was abandoned. What occasioned the abandonment
is unknown and the length of time of the abandonment can only be guessed.