Home » Luca Zavagno Receives Dumbarton Oaks Project Grant

Luca Zavagno Receives Dumbarton Oaks Project Grant

Dr. Luca Zavagno, associate professor (joint appointee) in the Department of History and Archaeology, has been awarded the prestigious Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University) Research Grant. The grant was given to help support his project, “Parnassos: An Anatolian pilgrimage town, its bishop (and its waters) in the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.”

The project, which started in October 2023 under the auspices of the Department of Archaeology at Bilkent University and held in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Weissova and Dr. Enrica Bonato, aims to archaeologically examine the immediate vicinity of Parnassos (mod. Parlasan), where in 2011 and 2012, an episcopal hall boasting floor mosaics (dated to the mid-fifth century) was excavated. Located just a hundred kilometers south of Ankara, the ancient settlement of Parnassos lay at the western border of Cappadocia, on a small plateau between the Halys River (tod. Kızılırmak) and the big salt lake (tod. Tuz Gölü). Located along the Pilgrim’s Road, the site was home to local bishops until the mid-eleventh century.

The project, which is run in collaboration with the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, includes a combination of a geophysical survey and a systematic pedestrian survey in order to document the presence of the annexed episcopal church as well as the Late Antique and Medieval phases (4th to 11th centuries) of occupation of the area. The survey of the site aims to investigate the rather complex dynamics of the transition from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages of a site whose importance was also related to the significance of water sources (and springs) for the spiritual and practical needs of travelers and pilgrims alike (in a similar vein as other Anatolian sites like Germia (mod. Gümüşkonak) or Amorium).