Anemourion, a city in crisis
After an earthquake afflicted the town of Anemurium
in 580, urban life concentrated
in a nucleus around the remains of the Roman baths and gymnasium
complex. The complex was built in the mid-third century, but
had fallen out of use in less than a hundred years. (In Sardis,
a building of similar function was maintained and restored
throughout the Early Byzantine period; it functionned primarily
as a bath, the large colonnaded palaestra (exercise ground)
being used for municipal reunions or as a public park.) By
the late sixth century, a considerable portion of the bath
and palaestra at Anemurium were invaded by domestic structures
and workshops. A well was dug in one of the rooms to replace
the damaged aqueduct system. Various tools and instruments
found in the complex illustrate the daily life, trade and
industry in late sixth-century Anemurium.
Workshops were established in the vaulted halls of
the great baths, which were stripped of their furnishings
to accomodate a lime kiln, pottery kilns, and a grain mill.
A lively commercial activity is suggested through weights
and fragments of
Alongside with farmers and fishermen, it has been possible
to identify a population of craftsmen, such as tailors, leatherworkers,
jewellers and potters. Evidence for a local lamp industry
is provided from molds for terracotta lamps found close to
a pottery kiln in the baths and a hoard of seven hundred lamps
concealed in the hypocaust of another of the city's baths.
The houses had floors of beaten earth and dry stone walls
held together by corner and interval piers of well-mortared
masonry. Some were two-storeyed, and several had earthen ovens.
Houses were lit by clay lamps produced on the site, but bronze
lamps were also used, and so were conical glass lamps inserted
in chandeliers. Quantities of hasps, lockplates and small
keys indicate that clothes and various commodities were stored
in chests. Kitchen ware was predominantly ceramic, but elements
of metal vessels were also found. Loom weights, spindle whorls
and hooks belong to the everyday activity of women, while
dice and gaming counters were probably intended for male entertainment.
Female accessories include copper and bone hairpins, kohl
sticks, cosmetics' spatulas and jewellery, such as silver
earrings, bronze finger rings and bracelets. Christian devotion
was expressed through pendant crosses in gold, silver and
bronze. Both genders had recourse to objects with apotropaic
powers. A group of amulettic medallions in glasspaste or bronze
bear inscriptions and figural decoration intended to ward
off evil spirit. The most common magical formulae evoke the
seal of Solomon.
Other types of phylacteries are rings engraved with mystical
symbols or cylindrical tubes worn arond one's neck bearing
a rolled metallic sheet inscribed with a magical text and
symbols. Small bells also served as apotropaic devices; they
were placed above cradles to protect infants, at doorways
to secure the entrance of the home, and inside graves to accompany
the dead. The numerous coins discovered on the site date the
finds from 589 to 656.