Fortification Systems of the Macedonian Successors: Similarities in Defenses at Plataea (Greece) and Aphrodisias (Rough Cilicia) (15 min)


Nicholas Rauh, Purdue University; Patrikakis Charalampos, West Attica University; Maria Koukouli, West Attica University; Sorin Matei, Purdue University; Ayman Habib, Purdue University; Daniel Aliaga, Purdue University; and Lynn Parrish, Purdue University


In collaboration with researchers from West Attica University, members of the ROSETTA Initiative at Purdue University are utilizing nonintrusive technologies to map the ancient settlement at Plataea. While building on the previous survey of Konecny, Marchese, Boyd, and Aravantinos, we merge magnetometer, LiDAR, drone photography, and field data to generate an artificial-intelligence simulated, three-dimensional model of the site. Thus far, our attention has focused on the surviving fortifications at Plataea, previously mapped by Konecny et al. Konecny identified four phases of fortifications—the archaic defenses on the acropolis, an extensive Geländemauer (4 km) constructed under Alexander the Great, a diateichisma constructed ca. 300 B.C.E., and a late Roman circuit on the original acropolis. Close inspection of the diateichisma, phase 3 wall, reveals the employment of a peculiar tower design previously investigated by members of the Boğsak Archaeological Survey at Aphrodisias in Rough Cilicia. Ceramics contexts processed at Aphrodisias demonstrate a contemporaneous date (300–250 B.C.E.). The tower complexes at Aphrodisias exhibit a large but low two-story tower with a long attached platform (accessed by a stone stairway and often identified as an engine stand) on its left, and a narrow sally port to the right. All of the 17 surviving towers exhibit this design. With the Plataea diateichisma the design is similar with two distinctions: the combined platform-tower-sally port complex occurs with every other tower and the adjoining structures tend to be smaller. The existence of this peculiar tower-complex design at two contemporary fortification systems some 1000 km apart points to the utilization of projectile firing machines with unique technological and/or tactical requirements. For some reason the design, dated firmly to the Hellenistic Wars of Succession, was rarely employed in other Hellenistic fortification systems.