ABSTRACT:

In this study, the seismicity and state of stress of the region, climatic conditions in underground openings and their vicinity, short-term mechanical behaviour of the surrounding rocks, their index and mechanical properties were studied. Furthermore, the effect of water content and size of samples on mechanical properties were investigated. The outcomes of these studies are presented and dicussed in this article. This study is propably the first geo-engineering study of the underground settlements in Frig Valley and it is anticipated to initiate similar studies on this forgotten area of Turkey in future.

1 INTRODUCTION

Phrygians, who governed Anadolu (Anatolia) about 3200 years before present, inhabited a rock-hewn valley and it is now named as Frig Valley (Vadisi) (Fig. 1). A number of underground structures in Frig Valley have been excavated in tuffs with large spacing of discontinuities that are easily carved. The area is geologically similar to Cappadocia area of Turkey where many ancient semi-undergound and underground settlements are found found (Aydan et al. 1999a, 1999b, 2008).

In this study, the seismicity and state of stress of the region, climatic conditions in underground openings and their vicinity, short-term mechanical behaviour of the surrounding rocks, their index and mechanical properties were studied. Furthermore, the effect of water content and size of samples on mechanical properties of the rock surrounding the openings were investigated. The outcomes of these studies are presented and dicussed in this article. This study is propably the first geo-engineering study of the underground settlements in Frig Valley and it is anticipated to initiate similar studies on this forgotten area of Turkey in future.

2 GEOGRAPHY AND BRIEF HISTORY OF PHRYGIANS

As mentioned in introduction, Phrygians appeared in Anadolu about 3200 years ago following the collapse of Hittite Empire. The Phrygia is an area on the western end of the high Anatolian plateau. Phrygia begins in the northwest with an area of dry steppe with the Sakarya and Porsuk river system and the Phrygian capital was Gordion. Phrygia extends to the towns of Laodikeia on the Lycus and Hierapolis in western Turkey.

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