Late 7th millennium - 334 B.C.
The earliest traces of human settlement found so far in the region of Ephesos were discovered on Çukuriçi Höyük and reach back into the early Chalcolithic period (late 7th millennium). At the latest since the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium) Ayasoluk, the easily defensible freestanding mound with rocky slopes on three sides, was occupied. At that time the settlement lay directly on the shore, because instead of the plain which has been flooded by the Kaystros River (Küçük Menderes) since antiquity, there was a deep bay which extended until the foot of the mountain chain to the south, east and north. Until the early 8th century Ayasoluk remained the only known settlement in the vicinity of Ephesos. Since the Late Bronze Age the southwestern foot of the territory of Artemision was also used; there, a sanctuary existed since the beginning of the Iron Age (2nd half of the 11th century). The Late Bronze Age settlement at Ayasoluk is most probably to be identified with Apaša, the capital of the Luwian Kingdom of Arzawa (16th-13th centuries) representing the most important power in western Anatolia, which was first a rival, then a vassal of the Hittite Empire. Profound changes in the material culture point to a change in the population structure during the course of the 11th century: settlers from the Greek mainland
conquered the coast of western Asia Minor during the so-called Ionian colonization. The foundation myth refers to Androcios, the son of a legendary Attic king, who wrested Ephesos from the indigenous Carians, Lelegians and Lydians. The centre of the city remained at Ayasoluk. After the mid-8th century additional settlements were established on and around Mount Panayir; of these, one on the north-east terrace of Mount Panayir and an additional one located beneath the later Tetragonos Agora (Commercial Market) have been partially excavated. The independent city state (polis) of Ephesos was increasingly beset by the ambitious Lydian Kingdom: shortly after 560, the Lydian King Kroisos conquered the city. In 546 or shortly thereafter, the Persians conquered the Lydian Kingdom and also Ephesos. Their rule lasted until Alexander the Great (334 B.C.). Lysimachos, one of the successors of Alexander, brought the next break in urban development; at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., he resettled the inhabitants in the valley between Mount Panayir and Mount Būlbūl.