Izmir-Yeşilova Höyük and The Architecture of Coastal Aegean in the Late Neolithic Period
Ege Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Arkeoloji Bölümü, İzmir/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Neolithic, Architecture, Settlement, Aegean.
The Yeşilova Höyük excavation team has diligently worked to uncover the historical significance of this archaeological site located in the heart of the Bornova Plain. The area of interest, known as “İzmir’s Prehistoric Settlement Area,” is approximately 1200 m in diameter and includes Yassıtepe Höyük and İpeklikuyu Höyük. Excavations revealed that the first settlement at Yeşilova Höyük stretches over an area greater than 70,000 m2 and corresponds to the beginning of the Neolithic, at least 8500 years ago. There is continuous evidence of Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age occupation, as well as later Roman presence. Remains and artifacts from the initial settlement phase are situated above clay-rich sterile soil, approximately 4-5 meters below the present surface of the plain. The cultural fill of the settlement is approximately 3-3,5 m, we have four cultural layers. Starting from the surface, the cultural layers in chronological sequence are Level I Roman Period, Level II Bronze Age, Level III Chalcolithic (Levels 1-2) and Level IV Neolithic (Levels 1a, b, c-8). Within these contexts, excavations reveal a complex set of 15 architectural layers, each apparently representing rebuilding episodes after periods of destruction.
The first settlement, established during the early Neolithic, reached its zenith during its later phases. The levels representing the final period of the Neolithic settlement offer insights into the time frame spanning from 6000 BC to 5700 BC. From excavation data and the associated finds, we created interactive workshops and educational activities for visitors, with separate spaces dedicated to various aspects of daily life. The architecture of the Late Neolithic Period of Yeşilova Höyük has characteristics specific to the Coastal Aegean cultures. It is different from Inner West Anatolia in terms of architectural features and plan.