The Various occupations have continuously replaced each other in the area of the so-called West Church Complex in Area Z throughout Labraunda’s long history. The foundations were laid here in the Late Classical period when, it seems, a stoa was built flanking the Sacred Way leading from Mylasa to Labraunda. This area, situated in the vicinity of the monumental South Propylaea of the sanctuary, was surely a crowded space where stoas of a commercial nature were certainly needed. Ceramic evidence and 14C-dating confirm the continuous use of the Stoa up to the second or third century AD.

     Somewhere in the first two decades of the fifth century, the then severely dilapidated Stoa was rebuilt, which is demonstrated by reliable numismatic and ceramic evidence. The colonnaded portico of the old Stoa was mended with re-used columns from other buildings and a pavement was constructed over a large area on both sides of the Late Classical stylobate. The porch of the old Stoa was transformed into a Parekklesion next to an apsed hall-church that was constructed directly to the north. A circuit wall also fenced-off the church area, and a monumental gate gave entrance on the south-eastern side. The building complex surrounding the West Church probably also incorporated the Tetraconch residence further to the north.

West Church, aerial view from south east.

West Church, general plan with chronological phases (J. Blid).

     Remnants of glass manufacture have been found in connection with the Church. Perhaps a local glass atelier was needed in Labraunda in order to provide the churches with lamps and vessels for liturgical use. The vessel-glass used in the Church was stored in a small, square compartment flanking the apse.

     It seems that the West Church was completely destroyed in one, single event that probably occurred during the seventh century. A smaller, medieval chapel was, in time, built into the nave of the ruined Late Antique Church. The very scarce ceramic evidence, which was found on top of the floor level, is dated to the ninth century, but the Chapel may be older. The ninth-century occupation at the Chapel has been connected to the contemporary, sporadic activity recorded in the Tetraconch.

     The only sign of Middle Byzantine activity at the West Church is a 12th or 13th century bowl of glazed pottery that was found south of the medieval Chapel. This find corresponds chronologically to the last Byzantine occupation phase attested by the old Akropolis Fortress above the ancient sanctuary.

Source: Felicium Temporum Reparatio: Labraunda in Late Antiquity (c. AD 300-600), Stockholm 2012, 93-160.

West Church, plan and elevation reconstructions (J. Blid).

West Church, view from the east

(J. Blid).

West Church, a reconstruction

(J. Blid).