As this brief report on the state of research and the preservation of the building may indicate, a thorough archaeological examination, documentation, and analysis of the church of Hagia Sophia at Vize has become a pressing issue. Given the importance of the church and its precarious state of preservation, a joint archaeological project has been established by Holger A. Klein of Columbia University and Franz Alto Bauer of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Istanbul in 2003. Initial funding for the project was provided by the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul. The main goals for the first field work campaign, which took place in July 2003, was to examine the fabric of the building, conduct a thorough photographic survey, establish a catalogue of surviving spolia, and provide accurate plans and sections for the church.
Prospected Work for the Campaign of 2004
The principal investigators of the project are currently in the process of re-applying with the Turkish authorities for permission to continue last year's survey and to conduct limited archaeological examinations outside the church. If granted permission, new work will consist of soundings in two areas west of the narthex and one area east of the apse. As the earlier ecclesiastical structure and its relationship with the later church have not yet been properly studied, it is hoped that the original floor level of this church as well as its northern and southern extension will be determined. It is further hoped that limited excavation in this area will clarify the original entrance situation to the Byzantine church.