Nisa Expeditions

Italian Archaeological Mission in Old Nisa:
Report of the 2002 Season

With thanks to Carlo Lippolis who provided the text and photographs for this year's page and to Jérôme Gaslain (September 2002).

See Old Nisa Bibliography: Publications of Centro Scavi di Torino and contributions of the members of the Italian Expeditions to Nisa.


A new Nisa archaeological mission took place in July-August 2002, carried out by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino in collaboration with the National Department for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Turkmenistan.

Aerial view of Nisa
from North
General view of excavations
from Northwest

Aerial view of Nisa from North

General view of excavations from Northwest

Click on pictures to enlarge Photos by C. Lippolis

The aim of the excavations was to continue the study of the huge Square Building situated to the north of the Round Hall. Part of the eastern sector of the building (three rooms in a row) has been excavated down to the floor level. In one of these rooms (n. 11) were brought to light some gypsum votive balls, arrow-heads, sling-shots, a hundred iron plaques (completely oxidized and therefore not legible) maybe belonging to an armature. Fragments of architectural decoration (methops, merlons, baked bricks) and traces of rooftrees were also found.

Metal plaques in situ (maybe of an armour) from Room 11  Metopa from Room 11 
Metal plaques in situ (maybe of an armour) from Room 11 

Metopa from Room 11

Click on pictures to enlarge  Photos by C. Lippolis 

The fragment of a head, sculpted in clay and attributed to Mithradates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.), was found in the western part of the Round Hall in 1996 at a sounding the level immediately above the Parthian pavement, and left unexcavated by the Soviet expedition until this year.

Fragment of bearded head identified as the portrait of Mithradates I 
Fragment of bearded head identified as the portrait of Mithdadates I 
Click on picture to enlarge  Photo by C. Lippolis 

In the northern sector of the Square Building, the excavations revealed the presence of a wall of facade articulated by niches and pilasters. The remains of a colored plaster show that the facade of the building was partially painted in red.

Doorway between the Northern Corridor of the Round Hall and Room 12
(a courtyard of the Northern building) 
Doorway between the Northern Corridor 
Click on picture to enlarge  Photo by C. Lippolis 

A third sector of excavations was the big central area. Two soundings were undertaken nearby the entrances (to the north and to the south) which give access to the yard. The discovery of colored plaster (blue, red, black, white), small fragments of golden "sheets" and remains  of architectural decorations are all elements that leave us faced with the problematic interpretation of this sector as an open courtyard. Future excavations in this central sector will confirm if it is really a courtyard or a huge covered room (maybe with central pilasters of support for the roof). The studies on the pottery and the clay sculptures, already begun last year, allowed a fruitful collaboration between the Italian mission and Ashgabat National Museum. With this most recent campaign, in fact, began the restoration, cleaning, and drawing of the ivory rhytons preserved in the Museum.

Wood from the collapsed roof of Room 11 
Wood from the collapsed roof of room 11 
Click on picture to enlarge  Photo by C. Lippolis 

Results and analyses of Archaeological Mission in Nisa, Year 2002 will be added to this web page as it becomes available. Please bookmark this page and check back often. For more information you can also visit the web page of Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino.


Members of Nisa Expedition 2002

Members of Nisa Expedition 2002
Antonio INVERNIZZI, University of Turin
Scientific director of the mission (not in Nisa this year)
 
Italian side:
Carlo LIPPOLIS, University of Turin
Doctor and specialist in oriental archaeology
Field-director of the mission
Archaeologist in Nisa
Roberta MENEGAZZI, University of Turin
Doctor in oriental archaeology
Archaeologist in Nisa
Vito MESSINA, University of Turin
Doctor in oriental archaeology
Archaeologist in Nisa
Ariela BOLLATI, University of Turin
Doctor in oriental archaeology
Archaeologist in Nisa
Alessandra CELLERINO, University of Turin
Doctor in oriental archaeology
Archaeologist in Nisa
Aleksandr LAPSHIN, University of Vladimir
Professor of Medieval history
Archaeologist in Nisa
Translator of the mission
Niccol? MANASSERO, University of Turin
         Doctor in classical archaeology
Archaeologist in Nisa
Claudio FOSSATI
Architect in Nisa
Giuseppina BERTOLOTTO
Restorer
 
Turkmen side (from NDPSRT):
Dr. Muhammed MAMEDOV
Head of the National Department for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Turkmenistan
Arch. Ruslan MURADOV
Vice-head of NDPSRT
Arch. Igor Zubanov
Architect of NDPSRT and responsible for the preservation and restoration in Nisa
Dr. Radmila DENEGA
Archaeologist
Dr. Khurban BALLIEV
Director of the Nisa Reserve

This page last updated 26 Jan 2011

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