Located on the right bank of the Ceyhan in south-eastern Turkey, ancient Misis was the only urbanized site along the lower course of the river flowing through the Cilician plain to the Mediterranean coast. The site played a key role in the control of some important lines of communication: it was in command of the southern route linking the Anatolian plateau and the Syro-Mesopotamian region, and of the access to the harbours at the Ceyhan mouth. Today Misis is occupied by a village inhabited by about 5000 people.

The core of the archaeological site is a multi-period, oval mound with an acropolis about 50 m high to the west. Remains of the Neolithic and Calcolithic settlement were discovered along a dead branch of the river during our archaeological survey of the area (Cilicia Survey Project, 2000-2011). The test trenches opened on the south-western slopes of the acropolis have confirmed a marked instability, with abandons and resettlements, in the occupation of the site.

A similar pattern had been already identified in the archaeological survey. The transformations of the name of the corresponding ancient city – Mopsouestia, Seleukeia on the Pyramus, al-Massisa, Mamistra, Misis – have to be considered as results of political changes in the control of the site. The earliest levels excavated until now date back to the Iron Age II/Middle Iron Age.

The Neo-Hittite Citadel

Among the most significant results of the excavations, which have brough to ligth a 10m-deep stratigraphic sequence, surely there is the discovery of the remains of the Neo-Hittite citadel. The huge monumental building, which dates back to the 8th century BCE and is still being excavated, indicates beyond any doubts that in the first centuries of the I millennium BCE Misis, identified with Pahri by Theodore Bossert in the 1950s, was one the capital cities in the plain of Cilicia.



International Fair on Restoration, Renovation and Cultural Heritage Protection, Antalya, November 2015 in collaboration with the Municipality of Yüreğir

Differently from the great archaeological sites of Turkey like Ephesos, Miletos or Sagalassos, which can be considered impressive, but dead fields of ruins, Misis is a living place. Here ancient ruins and stone monuments are mixed up with houses where people still live, and in its immediate surroundings different kinds of productive activities are carried on: from agricolture to industry, very well represented by the Çukobirlik cotton factory. It is this character that makes Misis unique, and gives it a value which must be preserved.

Forthcoming in October 2016

MISIS CULTURE FESTIVAL at the Çukobirlik cotton factory


Misis (ancient Mopsouestia)
and the Lower Plain of the Ceyhan:
A Diachronic Approach

G. Salmeri - A.L. D’Agata - E. Rosamilia (eds)


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The Field School will take place from the 1st to the 26th of June in south-eastern Turkey, that is to say in a region of great importance for the study of the subject.
 The School will be in conjunction with the archaeological excavation carried out by the University of Pisa together with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean (CNR, Rome) and the Turkish Municipality of Yüreğir in the site of Misis (ancient Mopsouestia), on the right bank of the river Ceyhan.

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