Current Research projects

Our current understanding of ancient Aphrodisias is based on the large-scale EXCAVATIONS directed by Kenan Erim from 1961 to 1990. The main objectives of the present project, begun in 1991, are the documentation, analysis, and publication of these EXCAVATIONS, and the proper conservation and restoration of the excavated monuments and of the sculptures and other finds. The recording and interpretation of the results of the earlier EXCAVATIONS are designed to address a wide range of questions about the city's urban development, individual buildings, and public statuary. When was the city plan laid out? What is the building history of major monuments such as the Temple of Aphrodite? How does the abundant public statuary add to our understanding of the civic ideas and self-image of Roman provincial aristocracies?

After study seasons in 1991 and 1992, fieldwork was resumed in 1993, and a number of major research projects on a variety of architectural and sculptural subjects are now underway (see individual rubrics below). Eventually, the results of all of these projects will be published as volumes in a series of final reports on the site. The first of these reports, a monograph by R.R.R. Smith on the tomb of C. Julius Zoilos, appeared in 1994; in addition to these final reports, preliminary reports have been published annually or biennially since the resumption of fieldwork in 1993, and a number of articles on specific subjects have also appeared (see Bibliography).

The current research program is jointly directed by Christopher Ratté, Associate Professor of Classics and Fine Arts at New York University (christopher.ratte@nyu.edu) and R.R.R. Smith, Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford (bert.smith@ashmus.ox.ac.uk).