Archaeology Odyssey 4:2, March/April 2001

Ephesus Uncovered

From latrines to libraries

By Peter Scherrer

Unlike other great Hellenistic/Roman cities—Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople—Ephesus was abandoned in antiquity. These other cities continue to thrive today, which, unfortunately for archaeologists, means that they cannot be excavated, at least not completely. The principal remains we have from ancient Alexandria, for example, are catacombs and debris from the harbor floor; archaeologists digging at Antioch in the 1930s discovered that most of that splendid ancient city is buried under the sprawling modern one.a We can view these sites only in the imagination, with the help of literary sources. Not so Ephesus.

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