The Archaeology of Temple Conversion I: Uzuncaburç

The temple of Zeus Olbios is located in a very remote rural setting in the village of Uzuncaburç in Cilicia (Turkey), but it is a great outing for the more adventurous and archaeologically interested traveller. It is also featured in Richard Bayliss’ new book on the archaeology of temple conversion, that I just got hold of.

Zeus Olbios
The temple of Zeus Olbios, Uzuncaburç. Photo: TMK, August 2003. The apsis bears witness to the temple’s conversion to a Christian church. More photos here.

The temple was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by Seleucus I Nicator. 26 of the original 32 (2nd century BCE) columns are still standing. Bayliss bravely attempts to reconstruct the design of the church from the columns and the other standing remains. He imagines a church with at least 2, possibly 4 corner towers, which would have been a very unusual arrangement. The date of the conversion is also problematic, but the second half of the 5th century CE has been suggested.

R. Bayliss. 2004. Provincial Cilicia and the Archaeology of Temple Conversion. BAR International Series 1281. Oxford. BMCR review here.

Join the conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *