The Texas Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research
The TFAHR Bylazora Project
|Click on photo to enlarge.
|THE ACROPOLIS OF BYLAZORA, page 4
By Eulah Matthews and William Neidinger
Phase 6: Second Squatter Period.
When people returned to inhabit this part of the acropolis,
they laid down a fairly uniform .05-.10 m. thick layer of clay
and /or pebbles over the ruins and debris of earlier years,
covering completely some walls, like I13.8 and J13.7. But
some of the walls from Phase 1 and Phase 2 buildings were
still standing and they were utilized.
The most prominent of the still standing walls was the
acropolis defensive wall M11.2. Very flimsy structures were
built up against it. We found an abundance of roof tiles and
scattered burnt mud bricks but no solid, well built walls
connected to it. We know people were living here, because
in locus J12.4 we discovered pithoi, a terracotta “table,” and
a vast array of domestic vessels. Additionally, a number of
hearths, usually described as “Bedouin ovens” or
“squatters’ hearths” or “nomads’ fire pits,” were found at this
level. They are simple affairs: a bed of smooth pebbles,
sometimes laid atop roof tiles, into which the embers are
placed; clay, often spread atop the hot stones and embers,
hardens into a small cooking surface.
Roof tile layer (above). Pottery from Second
Squatter Period and remains of terracotta "table"
|Excavating pithoi (left). Small jug, one of many vessels for domestic use (right).
|Uncovering a squatters' hearth.
At the narrow, angular intersection of the acropolis wall M11.
2 and the propylon wall L12.10, a fairly substantial plaster
floor was laid down, probably in Phase 2. The floor
continued to be used in the Second Squatter Period. It was,
perhaps, at this time that holes were bored through the floor
to hold pithoi and amphoras. A few post holes were cut into
the floor, again lending credence to the hypothesis that the
structures of this period were, indeed, rather insubstantial.
The structure of the upper terrace (N14.2 + N14.3) must still
have been at least partially preserved. New, again poorly
built walls were added to it and within it a small wine treading
floor was constructed. Built of terracotta, it has raised
ridges and a “spout” from which the juice could run off. No
container was found, however, for the run-off. The pottery
associated with the wine press and re-used structures dates
to the late fourth-late third century BC, including a jug with
three stamps, which appear to be solar symbols or perhaps
|Plaster floor (probably of Phase 2),
with holes cut in it in Phase 6.
|Excavating a pit for a pithos, cut into
the plaster floor.
|Terracotta treading floor of a
Paionian grey ware jug with a solar stamp
(above right). Compare the similar stamp on
a pithos rim (right).
Towards the end of the excavation season, we uncovered in squares K15, K16, K17, L15, L16,
L17, M15, M16, and M17 what appears to be a very large “platform” of the Second Squatter
Period. Most of the walls are only extant to a height of one course. And although the perimeter
walls of the platform are well-defined and better built, the inner walls are poorly built and are not
neatly aligned with the outer walls. These later walls are obviously built upon a substantial earlier
structure that is aligned with wall L15.9, which skirts the pebble-paved road leading up from the
propylon. What this earlier structure might be awaits our dismantling of the late Phase 6 walls. A
drain cut into what appears to be sterile soil runs alongside this “platform.”
In the trenches we excavated over the ramp (M12 and N12) many deposits of wattle and daub, roof
tiles, and burnt clay were encountered. These belonged to Second Squatter Period dwellings that
were constructed between the lateral walls of the ramp. They were a considerable height above
the paving stones of the ramp, again confirming the idea of a period of abandonment. Oddly,
however, although the ramp came to be built over, the pebble-paved road (L14.8), which is the
ramp’s extension further uphill on the acropolis, remained clear of any construction. Why, is
|Large "platform" of the Second
Squatter Period, uncovered in the last
days of the excavation.
Phase 7: Destruction of Bylazora.
Most of the pottery of the Second Squatter Period dates to the third-early second century BC. That
is close to the date that the ancient authors give as the destruction of Paionian Bylazora. Wars
swept over Bylazora at this time. Polybius (V:97) says that King Philip V of Macedonia “occupied”
Paionia in 217 BC to defend Macedonia from the Dardanians, the unruly northern enemies of the
Paionians and Macedonians. Livy (XLII:51.5) speaks of a Paionian cavalry unit fighting alongside
the Macedonians against the Romans in 171 BC. After that Macedonia and Paionia became parts
of the Roman state, their independent polities gone forever and their ethnic identities submerged
into a larger world. When Ptolemy writes his Geography in the second century AD, he mentions the
land of the Paionians and enumerates their cities. Bylazora is not mentioned. It clearly has been
abandoned and its ruins forgotten.
|The Acropolis of Bylazora
Page 1 2 3 4
|15th century map illustrating the
ancient Greek world according to