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DASCUSA (Ağin Elaziğ) Cappadocia, Turkey.

The town was located by Ptolemy (Geog. 5.7) on the W bank of the Euphrates, N of Melitene and S of Zimara, as Dascusa in Armenia Minor or as Dagusa in strategia Melitene of Cappadocia. It is listed again in the Antonine Itinerary on the route from Satala to Samosata along the bank of the Euphrates 60 Roman miles from Zimara and from Melitene. Pliny (HN 5.83) gives distances by river, Zimara to Dascusa 75 miles and thence to Melitene 74 miles. The consonance of these distances with modern topography make it reasonably certain that the archaeological site at Ağin described below is Dascusa, though as yet (1971) no relevant epigraphic testimony has been found. Dascusa does not figure in history. An inscription attests the presence of a cohort in A.D. 82, a tombstone the settlement of a legionary veteran of Helvetian origin. The Notitia Dignitatum (or. 38.22) places the Ala Auriana in garrison there in the 4th c.

Ağin lies 5 km W of the Euphrates on a tributary, the Ağin Çay. In the valley below the town on the steep S bank is a mound called Kalecik of which the lower levels date from the Late Bronze Age. There was a walled settlement here in the Roman period and the top level was a small Byzantine fortress. On the N side, at Hoşrik, nearer Ağin, a church of the 6th c. and a granary of the 3d c. A.D. have been excavated. Also to be associated with the Roman settlement is a cemetery near the village of Pağnik at the mouth of the valley of which the use, dated by coins, ranges from Trajan to Commodus. To the NE of Ağin on the Euphrates bank, lies the hill called Kilise Yazisi Tepe. This was surrounded with a fortification wall a meter thick, strengthened with small internal rectangular towers. Coins and pottery found during the excavation indicated an occupation in the 2d-3d c. A.D. Opposite this site, on the E bank, again on a natural promontory, stands the castle called Kalaycik Tepe. This was occupied from the 3d millennium B.C. onwards. The slight occupation during the Roman period was destroyed by fire.

A vigorous mediaeval settlement seems to have lasted until the 12th c. About 3 km S of Kilise Yazlsl Tepe, over very rough terrain, and 1 km N of Pağnik village stands the fort of Pağnik Öreni, again on a defensible promontory overlooking a summer ford of the Euphrates. A curtain wall 2 in thick encloses a subtriangular area of ca. 0.9 ha. It is punctuated with 11 semicircular or horseshoe-shaped towers, ranging in size from large on the landward side to small on the steep riverbank, and with four gateways, one 4 in wide, the others small posterns. This enceinte may be related to the general strengthening of E defenses under Constantius (Singara and Amida are similar, if on differing scales). The construction and first brief occupation is dated archaeologically to the mid 4th c. At the end of the century the fort was repaired shoddily and most of the surviving internal buildings erected. The latest coin is of A.D. 402. On the Arapkir Çay, a large tributary of the Euphrates, S of Ağin, stands the fine Karamağara Köprüsü, a bridge with a Christian Greek inscription which has been dated to the 6th c. A.D. on stylistic grounds. All the sites here described will be flooded by the lake of the Keban Dam during the 1970s. The Roman signal station on the eminence of Mineyik Tepe, S of the Arapkir Çay, will remain above water. Finds from the Keban Project Excavations are housed in the Elaziğ Museum.


Reports of excavations 1968ff at Ağin and Kalaycik by Ü Serdaroğlu and at Pağnik Öreni by R. P. Harper in Middle East Technical University, Keban Project Publications I-IV (1970-74).


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