Home Page Issues Publishing Principles Order Form Links Contact Türkçe
Detailed Search  
Click here to visit Anmed Web Site
If you would like to get announcement mails about Akmed activities, please subcribe to our mailling list.
First name:
Last name:


Two Unique Olive Oil Presses from the Border Region of Lycia - Pamphylia - Pisidia
Süleyman BULUT*

Periodic archaeological surveys that were begun in 1994 for the first time surveyed the eastern part of Lycia bordering Pamphylia and Pisidia and enabled the recording of numerous farmhouses, press workplaces and agricultural areas. These presses are located in town-centers or in the agricultural areas near the towns. Some of the farmhouses, especially numerous on the way from Trebenna to Onobara, have press workplaces. These work-areas can be found in courtyards, for example at Doğu Çiftlik II, Mersincik and Gedeller farmhouses, or indoors, at the farmhouses of Kessener, Yalnız Mezar and Akçınar. The workrooms of Kessener and Akçınar farmhouses have two beam sockets to house the ends of the press beams while the others have only one. In addition, press workplaces are located within independent chambers and these are found on the Trebenna-Onobara route and also at Alakisle. It was observed that independent press workplaces with basins hewn in the bedrock are found next to farmhouses and in the fields that had been terraced in antiquity for farming.

At Neapolis, the press workplaces are situated indoors, forming a part of the houses. Although the surveys in and around Kelbessos have not as yet been completed, first results reveal a large number of farms and press workplaces in the region. For example, in the tiny settlement of Üçtepeler there are seven press workplaces.

Farmhouses and work-areas identified within the region of our field surveys provide us with significant information about the olive oil and wine production capacity, identification of agricultural fields and pressing techniques. It is possible to partially reconstruct the distribution of the olive groves and the vineyards dependent upon the situation and type of the press workplaces. However, reconstructing the original agricultural use with certainty is not possible, but it can be said that both olives and vines were grown in all the settlements apart from in a few regions. Both olive-oil and wine press workplaces have been found at Dipsiz, in Trebenna town center, at Typalia, Neapolis, Kelbessos, Üçtepeler and Gedeller. However, all the press workplaces identified at the farmhouses on the Trebenna-Onobara way, at Yalnız Mezar, at Kocaköy, at Belen, and in the Sansu quarter of Hurma village, alongside the majority of those identified at Kessener and Üçtepeler are wine press workplaces, which further suggests that in these regions the main produce was grapes.

The dimensions of the press beds - crushing basins hewn into the bedrock vary from 0.70x1.00 m to 2.35x2.70 m. It is possible to say that these rectangular or square basins made for wine production functioned both as press beds and as crushing basins. At the olive oil press workplaces, trapetum and orbises for crushing the olives and the press beds in the same workplaces both have either rectangular or square shapes. The monolithic press beds of 1.35x1.40 m and of 0.50 m depth have circular drainage canals connecting to an outflow spout. The trapetum basins have a diameter that varies from 1.80 to 2.20 meters. Though fewer in number, orbises of similar shapes have a diameter that varies from 0.90 to 1.03 m and a thickness of 0.26 to 0.30 m. All orbises have a molding of 0.03 m.

Two distinct types of stone weights (lithus) have been identified in the region. The first type comprises cylindrical stone weights of 0.65-0.70 m in diameter and 0.60-0.70 m in height. Some of these stone weights become narrower towards the top, have only one rectangular socket, while others have 4 dowel holes alongside this rectangular socket (hole). The second type of stone weights, that form the majority of the examples found in the region, become wider towards the base. They have a bell-like or conical shape with a hole on top for tying the weight to the press beam. The height of these stone weights varies from 0.60 m to 0.80 m and their width at the base is between 0.50-0.75 m. The stone weights provide us with information concerning the pressing techniques that were applied in these workplaces. It is thought that the first type of stone weights are found in those workplaces that used a "screw press connected to a stone weight", also known as the "Plinius Press". The second type of stone weight is found at those workplaces that used a "lever press".

Among the elements of the workplace areas, the sockets into which the press beam (prelum) fitted are those that could be most easily identified. These sockets varied from 0.11 m to 0.27 m in width, while their depth varied from 0.13 to 0.50 m and their height from 0.23 m to 0.93 m. It has been observed that the rectangular shaped beam sockets were made employing four different techniques: those that were hewn into the bedrock, found in all the regions where the presses with press arms are found; those constructed from three stone blocks, found in farmhouses or other indoor spaces; those cut from a monolithic block, which are very rare in the region; those with the lower part cut into the bedrock and upper part constructed from stone blocks. Among these, three examples that are found at Neapolis and Üçtepeler are especially noteworthy for the arrangement of the beam sockets. In these quite rare structures at Neapolis, as in one at work area No. I at Üçtepeler, the socket for the wooden beams at the end of the press arm facilitate the rear end of the press beam (lingula), which enters the socket, being brought to the same level as the sack that is to be pressed. The worked stone socket of the press beam at the workplace at Neapolis is worthy of note as it begins cylindrical and ends in a funnel-form; the only other parallel example known to date was found at Üçtepeler. The stone carved cylindrical form that was observed on the press beam sockets in these workplaces distinguish themselves from workplace No. I at Üçtepeler, in regard to both form and function, despite their similarities.

The sockets at the workplaces at Neapolis are located approximately in the center of the jambs and have cylindrical forms-, besides, traces of wear betray the fact that a strong pin of the same form were placed within these sockets. The force exerted on the beam of this press would create the maximum pressure in the press arm socket; therefore, this pin must have been made of metal. In both examples from Neapolis, the gap between the right jambs of the press beam sockets and the inner side of the wall was designed to facilitate the installation of this pin. These pin sockets facilitate the fixation of the prelum by passing it through the lingula. However, the press lever socket system at workplace No. I at Üçtepeler was designed to support the prelum and employs a different method whereby the press beam is restrained by a square in section bar that is situated in the beam socket above the wooden beam for the first pressing. Subsequently the press beam was placed above this bar for the second pressing and wedges were employed. Thus, there was no need to use wooden wedges to support the prelum inside the socket, for the prelum is thus fixed. Moreover, this arrangement also prevents the prelum from shifting during the pressing process. However, the distance between the socket where the prelum is fixed and the point where the stone weight is fixed to the plank, clearly will not allow the sack on the press bed to be pressed entirely in the first pressing. Thus, in the second step, wooden wedges, like those that had been placed in the press beam socket, are now placed on top of the sack to facilitate this second pressing. A similar implementation was also found at the press workplace at Kızılisalı. The jambs forming the press beam socket at the workplace at Kızılisalı have cylindrical sockets of stone protruding out from the surface. At the press workplace at Neapolis, the groove of the pin inside the press beam socket has a different implementation, however, the pin placed through the rear ends of the press beam (lingula) at both workplaces must have facilitated the fixation of the prelum within the press beam socket.

The fact that the press workplaces in our survey area have similar forms and that dated sarcophagi are found in the area, assist us in our attempt to establish a date for these presses. In addition, no ceramics finds, nor any building remains that are datable to the Byzantine Period, i.e. after the 6th century, have been identified at Neapolis, and this suggests a dating of between the 3rd and the 6th century, for these press workplaces. There have been no finds datable to the Byzantine Period at Üçtepeler either. Thus, this date of the 6th century must also be considered the terminus ante quern for the press workplaces at Üçtepeler.

*Öğr. Gör. Süleyman Bulut, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Arkeoloji Bölümü, Kampüs 07058 Antalya.

Article List