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Seismic-related damages of archaeological structures play an important role in increasing our knowledge about the timing and magnitudes of historical earthquakes. Although quantitative data should form the basis of objective archaeoseismological methods, most studies still do not rely on such methods. Ground-based LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is a promising, rather new, scanning technology that determines spatial position of an object or surface and provides high-resolution three-dimensional (3-D) digital data. Using LIDAR, we mapped the damage and overall attitude of a Roman theater in the ancient Lycian city of Pinara (500 B.C.–A.D. 900), located at a faulted margin of the Eşen Basin (SW Turkey). An average 0.81°NW tilt of the 20 seating rows could be computed from the LIDAR data. Conventional compass readings of these seating rows did not provide the same results because errors involved with this method are generally >2°. The tilt direction appears perpendicular to the NE-trending basin-margin fault, suggesting that fault-block rotation is the most likely mechanism to have induced the systematic tilt of the theater. The estimated 4 m offset on this normal fault should be seen as a rough estimate of the total displacement and was likely produced by several (more than one) earthquakes with magnitudes of M = 6–6.8. This is consistent with historical records that mention several large earthquakes during the Roman period.

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