Ruins of Bubon are in a locality called Dikmen Tepe, near the village of Ibecik in the Gölhisar district of Burdur. It is one of the cities of the Kibyratis Tetrapolis. After the Tetrapolis army was defeated by Rome, Bubon joined the Lycian League together with Kibyra, Oinoanda and Balboura. It is located on the northwest border of Lycia. An inscription found in the theater is a copy of the letter from the Roman Emperor Commodus, honoring the people of Bubon for their success against the bandit raids along the border by increasing their number of votes in the Lycian League from two to three. Although it was a small city, due to its strategic location, it gained equal voting rights with the largest and privileged cities of the Lycian League such as Patara and Xanthos.
T. A. B. Spratt and E. Forbes were the first to mention Bubon in modern period after visiting the the site in 1842. Today, it seems very difficult to identify structures among the highly damaged remains other than the acropolis fortification walls, agora, sebasteion, theater and tombs. Illegal excavations have also highly contributed to the destruction. In the subsequent years, apart from a salvage excavation for the sebasteion (see below), no scientific excavations were carried out.

Sebasteion of Bubon and Bronze Statues

Investigations about the source of some bronze statues that emerged in the American and Swiss antique art market in the 1960s indicated that they were smuggled abroad as a result of illegal excavations in Bubon in the 1960s. In 1990, a salvage excavation carried out by Jale Inan in the Bubon sebasteion revealed that the majority of these bronze statues were removed from the sebasteion structure. According to the inscriptions on the statue bases found inside the building, this small sebasteion was housing about a dozen bronze statues of Roman emperors and empresses. The statues with very high quality craftsmanship are made in real human dimensions. Such a well preserved Roman Imperial cult sanctuary is unique in the archaeological records. The sebasteion was built during the reign of Emperor Nero in the first half of the 1st century CE and was used for about 200 years until the middle of the 3rd century CE by adding new emperor statues over time. It is thought that some of the statues were later removed and replaced (due to damnatio memoriae) and some others were relocated. A few of the statues, most of which were smuggled abroad, were brought back to Türkiye.


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Image sources:
iDAI Arachne ID:1145406
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