The Byzantine Palace of Ephesus: Reconstruction of the Tetraconch Hall, Barbara Thuswaldner & Ingrid Adenstedt
Ingrid ADENSTEDT1 / Barbara THUSWALDNER2
(1Institute for Studies of Ancient Culture, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria / 2Austrian Archaeological Institute, Vienna, Austria)
Outline: To show the possibility of a reconstruction based on only a few building fragments.
The so-called Byzantine Palace of Ephesus was excavated in the 1950ies, a detailed re-examination of the building was started in 2005. The about 75 x 50 m large building consists of two parts (bath and a representational wing), joined together by a transverse vestibule. Core of the representational wing to the south is a large octagonal reception hall with four conches. Since this building is one of the few non-sacred structures of the Late Antique-Early Byzantine period in Ephesus, studies are among other things directed at a reconstruction of the building and here mainly at the tetraconch reception hall and the adjoining rooms. Due to the form of the hall it is assumed that is was covered by a cupola. The sparse remains of this are about ten building-blocks of various sizes that tumbled down and are now lying scattered in the hall.
In order to figure out how the cupola could have looked like, an exact examination of these blocks was necessary. For this, the largest parts were recorded computationally with help of a 3D scanning device, the time-of-flight Riegl LMS-Z 420i 3D scanner. From this data 3D-models were generated, which formed the basis for the reconstruction of the cupola.
Even though very little evidence of the cupola exists, important details could be gained through these pieces. Thus it was possible to fit two of them into the area of the support of the arch and two other ones into the cupola itself, thereby gaining information on the form and curvature and also on the construction of the cupola.
With our work we want to show that in our case it was possible to retrieve clues from sparse evidence and therefore to support our reconstruction based on these clues. Since basically no other cupolas of this time period and geographic area remain in situ or as a reconstruction, we think that we can hereby contribute to this as yet little explored field of research.
Keywords: Ephesus, Early Byzantine Period, Cupola, 3D Reconstruction