When compared with the previous period of research on the history of the city over the past quarter century it has undergone radical changes. While modern scientists follow the path of their predecessors in collecting data through systematic processes and methodically analysing them, they change the route whereby they approach the city as a context- and a process-oriented structure, having economic, social, cultural, political and environmental dimensions which come together at different levels.
This considerably more inclusive definition expands the discipline concerning the city’s historical research, which consists of archaeology, epigraphy, ancient history and the other ancillary sciences and it encourages scientists from the natural and health sciences to participate within these studies. This is because in the course of the exploration of an ancient settlement the study of both the environment and the ecological setting which make human life possible; together with health issues, such as diet and epidemics, form the context within which human beings live, and which are thereby as important as the human actors.
Within the context of the planned Phaselis Research, even certain knowledge such as the settlement’s appearing on the stage of history as a favorite break-point with its three natural harbours, it being famous for its roses, the frequent seismic upheavals at sea and on its shores and its citizens leaving their homes because of a devastating malaria epidemic suggest the necessity of the application of this multi-dimensional research methodology in order to understand more fully the historical adventure of this city.
By presenting this research project, we aim to implement and realize this multi-dimensional research method, which as yet lacks widespread application in the field in our country, however conceptually and practically with a multi-disciplinary research team consisting of both national and international scientists, we intend to register systematically every kind of data/information regarding all contexts of the city employing modern methods and to present the results to the scientific world in the form of regular reports and monographic studies, thus forming a strong tie between past and future research.
The boundaries of the ancient city of Phaselis’ territorium are today within the administrative borders of the township of Tekirova, in Kemer District, determined from the archaeological, epigraphic and historical-geographical evidence, reaching the Gökdere valley to the north, continue on a line drawn from Üç Adalar to Mount Tahtalı to the south and extend along the Çandır valley to the west.
Phaselis was discovered in 1811-1812 by Captain F. Beaufort during his work of charting the southern coastline of Asia Minor for the British Royal Navy. Beaufort drew Phaselis’ plan and in the course of conducting his cartographic studies, he saw the word Φασηλίτης ethnikon on the inscriptions and consequently identified these ruins with Phaselis. C. R. Cockerell, the English architect, archaeologist and author came to Phaselis by ship and met Beaufort there. Then in 1838 C. Fellows, the English archaeologist visited the city. He found the fragments of the dedicatory inscription over the monumental gate built in honour of the Emperor Hadrianus and mistakenly thought the Imperial Period main street was the stadion due to the seats-steps on either side of the street. In 1842 Lt. T. A. B. Spratt, the English hydrographer and geographer, and the Rev. E. Forbes, the naturalist came to Phaselis via the Olympos and Khimaira routes. Due to the fact that they all came by sea and they only stayed for a short time, their descriptions of the topography inland are without detailed and there are serious errors in orientation.
Those researchers who visited Phaselis between the late 19th and the early 20th centuries concentrated primarily upon the discovery of inscriptions. In 1881-1882 while the Austrian archaeologist and the epigraphist O. Benndorf, the founder of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and his team were conducting research in southwestern Asia Minor, they examined Phaselis. In the winter of 1883 and 1884 F. von Luschan from the Austrian team took the first photographs which provide information concerning the regional features of Phaselis’ shoreline. In the same year the French scientist V. Bérard also visited Phaselis. In 1892 the members of the Austrian research team, O. Benndorf, E. Kalinka and their colleagues continued their architectural, archaeological and epigraphical studies in Phaselis. In 1904 they were followed by D. G. Hogarth, R. Norton and A. W. van Buren from the British research team. In 1908 the Austrian classical philologist E. Kalinka visited the settlement again, collected epigraphic documents and conducted research on the history of city (published in TAM II in 1944). The Italian researchers R. Paribeni and P. Romanelli visited Phaselis in1913 and C. Anti in 1921. Anti returned to Antalya overland and in consequence discovered several epigraphs and the ruins of structures within the territorium of Phaselis.
Further archaeological, epigraphical and historical-geographical studies of Phaselis were conducted by the English researchers F. M. Stark and G. Bean, who came to the region after World War II. In 1968 H. Schläger, the German architect and underwater archaeologist began exploring the topographical and architectural structures of Phaselis’s harbours. After Schläger’s death in 1969, the research was conducted under the leadership of the archaeologist J. Schäfer in 1970. H. Schläger, J. Schäfer and their colleagues obtained important data concerning the architecture and history of Phaselis through the surface exploration of the city and its periphery. Following the excavations conducted along the main axial street of the city, in 1980 under the direction of Kayhan Dörtlük, the then Director of the Antalya Museum and between 1981-1985 under the leadership of the archaeologist Cevdet Bayburtluoğlu; underwater exploration was carried out in the South Harbour under the direction of Metin Pehlivaner, the then Director of the Antalya Museum.