Ancient mediterranean port city may have been holy land way station

port cities via boats.

Because of a lack of written history at Aperlae, Hohlfelder and Vann enlisted the help of Professor William Leadbetter of Edith Cowan University in Perth last June to photograph and make paper impressions of 32 Greek and Roman inscriptions found on Aperlae tombs. He believes the earliest settlers may have been war veterans from Macedonia, and that Aperlae headed a union of four regional cities intent on maintaining their independence in the first and second centuries, said Hohlfelder.

Two other Aperlae expedition members this summer, University of Denver geography Professor Don Sullivan and DU graduate student Wil Longbreak, located more than 100 agricultural terraces that once held enough olive trees, barley, wheat, vegetables, grapes and timber to make the city self-sufficient and probably produce surplus crops for limited export. But the mystery of how the townspeople collected sufficient water from the 32 known cisterns to sustain a city the size of Aperlae deepened this summer when two public baths were discovered.

"These public baths would have required an extensive amount of water," said Hohlfelder. "I think Aperlae may have had large underground cisterns in the center of the city like some other settlements in the region at the time. We just haven't found them yet."

In addition, Professor Kathleen O'Meara and four students from the Maryland Institute, College of Arts, participated in the 2000 field season by producing watercolor drawings of the submerged and standing architecture at Aperlae. "This is a back to the future' approach that is still invaluable to archaeologists, since artwork can provide clues that may not be evident in photographs," said Hohlfelder.

Leadbetter re-examined a "milestone marker" from the only paved Roman road into the city from the late third century, probably signaling the rededication of the road and city. "This inscription showed the imperial interest in Aperlae," said Hohlfel

Contact: Robert Hohlfelder
University of Colorado at Boulder

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