The Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey


The Göksu River Valley, in Rough Cilicia, is a landscape rich with heritage and history. It is perhaps best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Medieval remains, but archaeological relics from many different historical periods can also be found here. Hittite texts and rock carvings imply that the valley was an important route between the plateau and the sea in the Bronze Age, and a distinctive indigenous culture appears to have taken root here in the Iron Age. In recent years, the work of several important projects, including the Upper Göksu Survey and the Kilise Tepe Archaeological Project, have brought the valley’s dramatic past to light.

Lower Goksu SurveyThe lower part of the Göksu valley is due to be flooded in 2018, with the construction of a dam at Kayraktepe, approximately 10km northwest of the town of Silifke (ancient Seleucia ad Calycadnum). The dam will bring new development to the region, but one unavoidable consequence will be that several known archaeological sites will be completely or partially submerged, including Kilise Tepe, Çingen Tepe, Mal Tepe, Ören Tepe and At Tepe. In addition to the loss of these known sites, a rich archaeological landscape will be submerged, including an unknown number of other ancient sites and monuments.

In 2013, we set up the Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey as a collaborative project between the University of Leicester and Bitlis Eren University. Our aim is to document as much as we can of this unique archaeological landscape before it is lost beneath the waters of the dam. We plan to undertake a systematic survey of the flood zone, recording the archaeological remains for posterity. We are racing against time to learn as much as possible about this crucial area, which was both a channel for communication and a distinctive region in its own throughout its long history.

The project has been generously supported by the British Institute at Ankara, and the British Academy's Newton Fund. For more information, see the main project website:


Key project staff:

Dr Naoíse Mac Sweeney (University of Leicester)

Dr Tevfik Emre Şerifoğlu (Bitlis Eren University)

Dr Carlo Colantoni (University of Leicester)

Dr Anna Collar (Aarhus University)

Dr Stuart Eve (L.-P. Archaeology)



Şerifoğlu, T.E., Mac Sweeney, N. and C. Colantoni, 2014: 'The Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey', Anatolica 40: 71-92.

Şerifoğlu, T.E., Mac Sweeney, N. and C. Colantoni, 2013: 'The Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey', Heritage Turkey 3:31.

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