Sardis (Sardeis in Greek, Sfard- in Lydian, Sparda in Persian, Sart in Turkish) has been the name of the settlement here for more than 3,000 years. The earliest known occupation dates from the Late Bronze Age, c. 1400 BC, but Sardis mainly flourished between the 7th century BC and the 7th century AD. Located on a natural route from the Aegean coast to central Anatolia, the city was favored with an abundance of fertile land on the Hermus (Gediz) river plain, forests and yaylas in the mountains above, water from neighboring streams, and a powerful natural citadel or acropolis. In the 7th and 6th centuries BC, it was also blessed with natural alluvial gold from the Pactolus stream. These riches made the Lydians, the native inhabitants of Sardis, the wealthiest and most powerful people in Anatolia. Under a series of dynamic kings including Gyges, Alyattes, and Croesus, the Lydians established an empire that encompassed most of western Anatolia to the Halys (Kizilirmak) river. The burial mounds of Lydian royalty at Bin Tepe, 7 kilometers north of Sardis and visible from the Ankara-Izmir highway, are testimonials to their wealth and power.
When Anatolia was conquered by the Persians in about 547 BC, Sardis became the seat of a governor (satrap) and the important Persian administrative center in
western Anatolia. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in 334 BC, Sardis became increasingly Hellenized, with civic buildings such as the temple of Artemis and the theater. In Roman times, from the 1st - 4th century AD, it was a Greco-Roman metropolis with civic amenities such as public baths and a stadium. Its final phase as a great city was in the Late Roman period, 4th - 7th centuries AD, and many prominent ruins of the site date from that era. Thereafter the settlement diminished in size and population, and by the 18th century and 19th centuries was reduced to one or two small hamlets. The modern town of Sart grew up after the War of Independence in 1919-1922.
Excavation has been carried out from 1910-1914 and in 1922 by the American Society for the Excavation of Sardis, founded and directed by Professor Howard Crosby Butler of Princeton University, and then since 1958 by the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, founded by George M. A. Hanfmann of Harvard University.
1. Temple of Artemis
2. Roman Bath-Gymnasium, Synagogue, Byzantine Shops, Colonnaded Avenue
3. Sector HoB
4. Lydian Fortification Wall
5. Late Roman City Wall
6. Sector PN: Lydian Gold Refinery & Byzantine Church
7. Roman Building C
8. Early Byzantine Building D
9. Roman Building A
10. Sector "Byzantine Fortress"
13. Roman Temple
14. Roman Bath (Building CG)
15. Acropolis, with Byzantine Fortications