About the lecture: 

Before the excavations of Carl Humann (1890-1892), we had only the ancient sources and the city coins concerning the cult of Zeus in Magnesia on the Maeander. Humann’s excavation of the Agora in May 1892 revealed some of this important temple. The remains were reburied after Humann’s excavation, so that this remarkable building has only been represented by a few architectural blocks in museums in Istanbul and Berlin and a 20-page chapter in the publication containing the studies and results of the excavations written in the beginning of the 20th century. New excavations carried out in the area of the temple in 2021-2023 have now unearthed some 75% of the original building, from its foundations to the many architectural blocks of its superstructure. In this paper, new evidence and knowledge of the cult of Zeus Sosipolis and its temple in Magnesia will be presented based on the scope of the new excavations, research, and approaches for the first time.

About the speaker:

Görkem Kökdemir is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Language, History, and Geography, Department of Classical Archaeology, Ankara University. He finished his Ph.D. in the same department in 2009 with thesis “Propylon in Magnesia on the Meander.”

He was the co-director of the excavations of Magnesia on the Meander (Aydın-Turkey) with Prof. Orhan Bingöl, the director of the excavations for ten years. Since 2021, he has been appointed to be the director of the excavations of Magnesia on the Meander by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.His primary research interests center on ancient architecture and architectural decorations, especially during the Hellenistic and Early Roman Imperial Period. While his current work concerns the excavation and publication of the Magnesia, he has also researched in Smintheion (Çanakkale-Turkey) on the architecture of the temple of Apollon Smintheus, Alabanda Apollon Temple.

Kökdemir was awarded the George M. A. and Ilse B. Hanfmann Fellowships by the American Research Institute of Turkey for his studies on Magnesia on the Meander; he visited Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Heidelberg for related work in 2007-2008.

He was also awarded the W.D.E. Coulson & Toni Cross Aegean Exchange Fellowship by the American Research Institute of Turkey for his new project about the Zeus Temple at Magnesia for the year of 2023 in Athens.