A somewhat rambling item from World Bulletin:
Excavations in a field in Milas, a district of the southwestern province of Mugla, has uncovered mosaic tiles belonging to the Roman era.
The excavations began after the Milas Gendarmerie Command raided a store in Milas upon a tip-off and found five Roman-era pots there. Also, three unregistered rifles, one unregistered handgun and fireworks were seized in the raid. Two suspects were taken into custody.
An excavation team then started working in the field where the two suspects reportedly said they had found the pots. Excavations unearthed mosaic tiles one meter below the surface. The excavations at the field continue.
Milas District Governor Bahattin Atçı, gendarmerie Lt. Col. Ertuğrul Memiş and gendarmerie Lt. Gürkan Uygun held a press conference on Friday about the findings. Atçı said he believes the newly found tiles will significantly contribute to Turkey’s cultural wealth. “We already knew that there were very precious historical artifacts in the region. We need to focus more on unearthing them,” he said.
Atçı noted that the mosaic tiles that have been found might be as valuable as ones found in the ancient city of Zeugma in the southern province of Gaziantep. Zeugma is one of the four most important historical settlements under the reign of the Kingdom of Commagene.
The district governor said he hopes the artifacts draw archeologists’ attention to the region. He also stressed that they are also trying to increase intelligence activities and operations against illegal excavations and called on locals to inform the authorities if they know anything about any illegal excavation.
Last year, a 2,000-year-old relief bust of a king was discovered during excavations in the ancient city of Stratonikeia — where the largest gymnasium in Anatolia and a gladiator graveyard are located — in Muğla’s Yatağan district. The bust, which is one-and-a-half meters tall and nearly two meters wide, features depictions of bull heads and the figure of a goddess.
Archaeologists have re-launched an excavation project in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, which is located in the southwestern province of Muğla, where many artifacts have been unearthed since the work first began in 2008.
Stratonikeia, which is situated in the present day village of Eskihisar and often referred to by archaeologists as the world’s largest city built entirely of marble, is also known as an ancient city of great warriors. Many gladiator gravestones have been found there, including those belonging to famous fighters such as Droseros, who was killed by Achilles, as well as Vitalius, Eumelus, Amaraios, Khrysopteros and Khrysos.
The excavations are being carried out by the archaeology department at Denizli’s Pamukkale University and are headed by Professor Bilal Söğüt. Söğüt told the Anatolia news agency that they uncovered 702 historical artifacts in 2012 and have now resumed work for the next six months with a team of 100 people. Söğüt further stated that they have applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for Stratonikeia to be put on the World Heritage List.
To date the largest gymnasium in Anatolia, a basilica, a necropolis and the fortification walls have been restored. The original 10-meter-high columns on Stratonikeia’s main street have also been re-erected.
- via: Roman-era mosaic tiles found in Milas (World BUlletin)
A brief, and as always, tantalizing item from Hurriyet:
An armor plate, worn by ancient warriors on their chest, has been seized in the northwestern province of Çanakkale’s Lapseki district. The man in possession of the plate, which is thought to have historical importance, has been taken into custody.
Following a tip off, the Lapseki gendarmerie observed a carpenter named M.S., who was allegedly attempting to smuggle historical artifacts, for a week. Then he was seized with the armor plate, which is made up of three pieces. The plate was delivered to the Archaeology Museum Directorate. An examination will reveal the period of the armor plate.
- via: Warrior plate seized (Hurriyet)
The original article is accompanied by this image:
… clearly not Roman, but we’ll hopefully hear more about this because Lapseki is the ancient Lampsacus, so we have Greek settlers in the area from the 6th century B.C. or thereabouts. The pose of the warrior might seem Hellenizing, at least, but I can’t recall a Greek cuirass which isn’t ‘muscled’ …
A pair of painfully brief items, but if we post both, the picture isn’t too vaguae. First, from Turkish Press:
A number of historical artifacts believed to date back to the Roman period have been unearthed by a backhoe operator in the Sarigol district of the western province of Manisa.
Salih Sari was digging in a field when he hit something. He stopped the backhoe and searched the area with a shovel and found numerous artifacts that are believed to belong to the Roman period.
The artifacts were taken to the Manisa Museum.
- via: Ancient Roman artifacts unearthed in Manisa (Turkish Press)
… and from Sanliurfa:
3 marble tombs of children along with a vat, a pot, and a bowl of Roman era were discovered in a field near Afsar village of Manisa provinces Sarigol district in western Turkey during a routine work in the field.
A gendarmerie unit was informed about the discovery, and the historical artefacts were delivered to Manisa Museum.
- via: Anasayfaya Dön (Sanliurfa)
The latter includes a really bad photo of what are apparently the finds. FWIW …
Brief (and vague) item from Hurriyet:
A two-room grave has been discovered in the Aegean province of Muğla’s city of Bodrum. The grave is thought to date back to the Roman period, and was found during construction work on Şalvarağa Hill behind Bodrum Port two months ago.An investigation carried out by the Bodrum Museum Directorate revealed that the grave had been robbed and a rescue excavation was initiated by museum officials. A piece of gold leaf found in the grave has been transferred to a museum.Officials said that the grave was probably robbed in the Roman period. After a restoration project. it will be restored and opened to the public.
… a photo of the tomb is included with the original article … could be interesting …
A part of a street similar to the Arcadian street in the ancient city of Ephesus in İzmir has been uncovered during excavations at a nearby historical agora.
The excavations in the area are being carried out under the leadership of Professor Akın Ersoy and his team. He said the main street, which begins from the Faustina gate and continues to the port, had been found to the researchers’ surprise. “We have also found a fountain on this street. The fountain has a statement that praises a benefactor for his support for the ancient city of Smyrna.”
Ersoy said they had also located a multi-echelon staircase on the street. “The continuation of this staircase goes to an area covered with mosaics. This ancient street is 80 meters long, but it reached the sea. This is the most important street in the agora for the entrance of goods. Just like in Ephesus, the street blocks water and has a very good sewer system. Visitors are prohibited from entering the area at the moment. When the work is done, tourists will be able to walk on this street just like in Ephesus.
The agora of Smyrna was built during the Hellenistic era at the base of Pagos Hill. It was the commercial, judicial and political nucleus of the ancient city. After a destructive earthquake in 178 AD, Smyrna was rebuilt in the Roman period and used until the Byzantine period.
One of the historical structures that had been long been neglected in the agora has recently been restored by the municipality as Agora Excavation House with support of the İzmir Development Agency.
The focus of this seems to be Gobekli Tepe, a Neolithic site in Turkey which is frequently in the news, and which is a bit outside of the purview of this blog, but the issues aren’t … from Hurriyet:
Some of the archaeologists currently working at excavation sites around Turkey are not taking their job seriously enough, Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik has said, according to daily Hürriyet.
Çelik made the comments in an interview with Der Spiegel Magazine at the Berlin International Tourism Bourse, a well-known travel trade fair.
German archeologists have been overseeing excavations at Göbekli Tepe, he said, adding that a total of 11,000 sculptures went missing from the site in 2010. “I am not accusing them of stealing, however, this is evidence that they are not giving sufficient importance to security issues.”
Noting that the archaeologists were also responsible for the security of the excavation site, Çelik said, “Germany will have to pay an insurance fine for the stolen sculptures.”
Çelik also criticized the work and the reactions of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and of its director, Herman Parzinger. Turkey has been criticized by Parzinger and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation on the grounds of its allegedly aggressive campaign to reclaim cultural antiquities for the nation.
Çelik said Parzinger had accused Turkey of being chauvinist. “I expect to hear an apology from Mr. Parzinger, for he has said Turkey is chauvinist. I do know what this means but I am against the use of this wording.”
Çelik also said Turkey was demanding the return of five historical artifacts which are currently in Berlin. These include the coffin of Hacı İbrahim Veli’s tomb, the Balıkçı Sculpture (Fisherman sculpture), the mihrab (prayer niche) of Konya’s Beyhekim Mosque, and İznik tiles stolen from the Piyale Mosque.
- via: Turkish minister criticizes archaeology excavations (Hurriyet)
Eleven THOUSAND sculptures? Surely that’s a misprint … I can’t figure out the German online version of Spiegel to check …
Interesting item from Hurriyet:
A mosaic featuring an Eros figure fishing on horse has been found in the southern province of Adana’s Yumurtalık district. The half fish-half horse Eros, which is called Hippocampus in Greek mythology, is claimed to be the one and only such mosaic in the world.
Made up of marble, glass and stone, the mosaic is estimated to date back to the late Roman or early Byzantine era.
The Adana Museum Directorate has initiated archaeological excavations in the region where the mosaic was discovered. One week ago the existence of a villa was determined in the area. The villa was thought to be owned by a top state official and the Eros mosaic was revealed when a part of the villa was excavated.
Yumurtalık Deputy Mayor Erdol Erden said the Eros mosaic was found during a one-week excavation. “We found young and adult Eros figures in the villa. Experts say that these figures were the first and only such figures in the world,” Erden said.
… as often, the original article is accompanied by a photo of the piece which is really interesting … there are a pair of Erotes fishing from the backs of hippocampi … the Erotes also look rather more mature than we’re used to (not the pudgy little kids); the one actually looks like one of the BeeGees …
Brief item from Hurriyet:
During works carried out in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, three glass bracelets from the early Roman era have been unearthed.
The excavations are being conducted in the Meram and Selçuklu districts of Konya, as well as in the Gökyurt village and the Kızılören neighborhood within the borders of the city. A number of Roman and Byzantine architectural works have been found in the excavations so far, as well as the three glass bracelets, according to officials.
The head of the excavations, Professor Ali Boran said they had found the bracelets inside a mound in Gökyurt. He said the bracelets were made of black opaque glass material and that similar examples showed that they were from 5th and 7th centuries. The bracelets have been delivered to the Konya Archaeology Museum.
- via: Roman bracelets found in Central Anatolia (Hurriyet)
… a photo of the bracelets accompanies the original article, but surely there must have been other things found?
I seem to have missed this UPenn video last week:
Was there a Trojan War? Assessing the Evidence from Recent Excavations at Troy
In the course of the latest campaign of excavations at Troy, in northwestern Turkey, archaeologists have uncovered a wealth of evidence that enables us to situate the site within the political and military history of the late Bronze Age (14th/13th centuries BCE). Dr. C. Brian Rose, Curator, Mediterranean Section, Penn Museum, speaks at this “Great Battles: Moments in Time that Changed History” series lecture program.
The İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has started demolitions on appropriated land in order to unearth a Roman theater under shanty houses in the city’s Kadifekale district. The municipality has so far paid 8 million Turkish Liras for the confiscation of the nearly 13,000-square-meter area.
Eight of the 52 houses to be demolished in the first stage have been torn down and archaeologists have already unearthed the walls of the theater, which has a capacity of 16,000 people.
The most detailed information about the ancient theater in Kadifekale is in the research of Austrian architect Otto Berg and archaeologist Otto Walter, who examined the area in 1917 and 1918, though many researchers have concluded that the remains of the theater have features of the Roman period.
When the municipality revives the theater, it can be seen by those visiting the Konak, Akllsancak, Karşıyaka and Bornova neighborhoods of the city. Similar to the excavated Ephesus Ancient Theater, concerts and shows will be organized in the theater as well.
A book on the theater
Writer İlhan Pınar said that after the translation of Berg and Walter’s work, a book about the ancient theater will be published within a month. “The only source [of information on] this theater is their research. Their goal was to excavate the area after the war in 1917. They wanted to show that İzmir was very rich in history and this historical richness should be protected after being revealed,” he said.
- via: Ancient theater being unearthed (Hurriyet)
A bronze Hermes statue from the Roman era, which has been unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Patara in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district and restored at the Antalya Museum, was yesterday introduced to Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay.
The head of the excavations, Professor Havva İşkan Işık, said the four-meter long head statue was unique in Turkey and the world, saying, “we have never found such a stature before.”
Işık said the statue was estimated to date back to the period of Emperor Constantine. “This is a work from the late period, which makes it more special,” he said.
Following the uncovering of the statue, it was observed that the statue looked like the modern day people of the region.
- via: Hermes statue uncovered (Hurriyet)
… the original article has (for a change) a very nice photo of the clearly-restored piece. It actually looks like it’s a ‘herm’ of Apollo rather than a statue of Hermes, per se, but maybe it’s a ‘herm of Hermes’? That said, we haven’t heard from Patara in ages … poking around our archives:
A landslide that recently occurred in the northwestern province of Çanakkale’s Erenköy district has unearthed a Roman wall dating back to 1,800 years ago.
Heavy rainfall caused a landslide around a viaduct in the district. The historic remains that emerged after the landslide were first spotted next to the Çanakkale-İzmir highway by Professor Doğan Perinçek, a member of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University’s Geology and Engineering Department. Perinçek informed archaeologist Candan Kozanlı about the situation and further examinations revealed that it was part of a supporting wall from the Roman era.
“We found out that the wall was from the Roman era because the ancient city of Ophrynion is behind this road. There is also an old Roman bridge inside a creek in this area. We think that this bridge and wall are structures from that time. The wall is a very good example of engineering in that era,” Perinçek told members of the press.
via: Çanakkale landslide reveals Roman wall (Hurriyet)
A decent photo accompanies the article … standard Roman wall, but what was it attached to?
Archaeologists digging up the past in the southern province of Isparta are slowly revealing an ancient city whose well-developed sense of urban planning seems to have served as a model for subsequent conurbations.
“The ancient city [of Pisidia Antiocheia] is positioned on two main rectangular streets that cut each other vertically, which is called Hippodamic town planning,” the head of the excavations at the ancient city and the head of the Archaeology Department of Süleyman Demirel University, Mehmet Özhanlı, recently told Anatolia news agency, adding that it was positioned on a slope overlooking the west.
“Aqueducts were also established in the city to meet water needs. The city was established on seven hills just like Istanbul. The temple of the city’s greatest god was built on the highest hill. The main streets of the city intersect on a north-south, east-west basis. Public buildings were built at certain points on these streets,” he said.
Hippodamic town planning was subsequently deployed in the construction of cities in Europe and the Americas.
Özhanlı said Pisidia Antiocheia was one of the largest cities in the era and added that it had been constructed with regards to the origin of possible enemy attacks, agricultural and stock breeding areas, water resources and wind direction.
The professor also said they had discovered two-meter-deep sewage system under all the streets in the city.
“This sewage system network exists in all the main streets and side streets. When it rains, your shoes do not get wet because the ground of all streets is covered with 1.5-meter-high stones. There were also sidewalks. None of the buildings blocked the light of any other building. All shops in the city were the same size,” he said, hailing what he called “perfect town planning.” Özhanlı also said the inhabitants of the ancient city had enjoyed “full democracy.”
Pisidia Antiocheia also featured a stadium with a capacity of 15,000, as well as a temple, an assembly building and other public buildings. “All these are necessary for a place to be recognized as a city in the ancient era. We have so far unearthed them, even though we have excavated only 5 percent of the city,” he said.
“We believe that our excavations will make great contributions to Turkey’s cultural and structural value in the next 10 years,” the professor said.
- via: Ancient city made to measure (Hurriyet)
… didn’t know that ‘seven hills’ detail …
The world’s largest marble city, the ancient city of Stratonikeia in the Aegean province of Muğla’s Yatağan district, is expected to be included on the temporary list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
The head of excavations at the ancient city and Pamukkale University Professor Bilal Söğüt said Stratonikeia, one of the most important cities in the Caria region, was a settlement of Carians and Lelegs, both local Anatolian populations, and also survived as a settlement during the Hellenistic, Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican period.
Söğüt said they unearth significant artifacts during the archaeological excavations every year. “This is a living archaeological city. It is unique. There is no other city where structures have survived as a whole since the ancient period. This is why the city should be listed as a cultural heritage site. We will finish the work this year and deliver the necessary forms to the General Directorate of Museums.”
Söğüt said that the latest excavations had begun in Stratonikeia in June 2012 with the participation of 50 academics and students from eight universities as well as 40 workers.
He said that each academic carried out work in his own area of expertise, mainly in the ancient theater, gymnasium, basilica, graves and city walls. “Structures from different periods in the ancient city were restored for visits. Greek, Latin and Ottoman scriptures can be seen on the same structure together. The city is culturally rich in this sense,” he added.
Söğüt said that 725 artifacts had been found during 2012 excavations and all of them had been conserved and restored. “225 of these pieces can directly go on view. All discussions regarding restoration work have been completed and the artifacts were delivered to the Muğla Museum. The strong columns that were found in the western street were revived. Looking at this 10-meter wide street is enough to understand the magnificence of Stratonikeia.”
Sewage system can be used
Söğüt said the theater in the city had been built with a temple. “Stratonikeia is one of the places where the theater and temple relation can be seen the best. The theater, which has a capacity of 15,000 people, has been excavated and conservations work has been finished. The most perfect sewage system of the ancient era has been found in the theater. We are very pleased because it is in good enough condition to be used even today.”
Söğüt also said that the restoration of the Hasan Şar House inside the ancient city would be completed this year with a financial allocation from the Muğla Governor’s Office.
- via: Stratonikeia eyes UNESCO list (Hurriyet)
In case you were wondering what happened at Stratonikeia last year around this time:
A marble sculpture head of Artemis from the fourth century BC has been uncovered in the ancient city of Alabanda as the archeological excavations there come to a close. In some of the excavations made at the site, the doors of the ancient city were uncovered, the head of the excavation team, Aydın Adnan Menderes University Archeology department academic Suat Ateşlier said. The walls from the Byzantine era were also found, he added.
These walls and the road were uncovered near the Temple of Apollo, said Ateşlier. “We have also found a very valuable sculpture head in the same area. The quality of the sculpture is very good, and it is in very good condition. This is a goddess sculpture.” He added that experts believed it was of the goddess Artemis, the sister of Apollo.
Ateşlier said they had started in July and this season many newly excavated artifacts has been uncovered at the site. The team closed the excavations on Dec. 20.
This year also geophysical analysis was done in the area and another goddess’ temple was found, added Ateşlier.
The location of the temple was determined, and next year the excavations will be done in that area, he said.
The site is located in Çine, in the Aegean province of Aydın.
- via: Alabanda reveals a Goddess sculpture (Hurriyet)
The original article has a nice photo of the head in situ … I suspect the identification is made based on the apparent fillet in the hair (which rules out Aphrodite, perhaps); not sure if I detect an earring there or not which might suggest this is an empress of some sort. Even if there is no earring, compare the hairstyle, e.g., to this image of Sabina (Hadrian’s wife)… Alabanda, by the way, was the ancient Antiochia of the Chrysaorians …
Another somewhat strange item from Hurriyet:
Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (ÇOMU) has applied to the Culture and Tourism Ministry to carry out the archaeological excavations at the ancient city of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.
Excavations at the site have been carried out by foreign institutions for 150 years. Germany’s Tubingen University has been conducting excavations since 1998, first headed by Professor Manfred Osman Korfmann and then by Professor Ernst Pernicka since 2005. The university halted excavations because of financial problems in 2012. In a written statement, ÇOMU Rector, Professor Sedat Laçiner, said Turkish universities were experienced enough to carry out international excavations such as those at Troy.
“Foreigners worked for very short periods of time and spent very little money. We think the Troy excavations will be accelerated with ÇOMU. Its team is made up of very experienced archaeologists,” Laçiner said. “The [Culture and Tourism] ministry has resources for the excavations and the university will also allocate some. We are also thinking of private financial providers. In this way, resources for excavations will increase five fold.”
- via: University applies to take over excavations at Troy ancient site (Hurriyet)
Why this has suddenly become news is beyond me. Back in October we noted a UW-Madison press release outlining an expedition heading to Troy under the direction of William Aylward. That press release also noted the participation/partnership/under the auspices with COMU (UW-Madison Heads to Troy). So why did it take so long for this to make the Turkish papers?
A 2,500-year-old statue of a woman from the late Hellenistic period has been unearthed during the excavations at the Metropolis ancient city in İzmir’s Torbalı district.
According to a written statement made by the Sabancı Foundation, new artifacts are being unearthed during the excavation of the ancient city, which has been ongoing for 22 years as part of a collaboration between the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Trakya University, the Metropolis Association, the Torbalı Municipality and sponsored by the Sabancı Foundation.
The head of the excavations, Trakya University Archaeology Department Associate Professor Serdar Aynek, said the headless, dressed, female statue was found buried in the city wall and that the statue reflected the richness and magnificence of the late Hellenistic period in its 2-meter length.
Aybek said that many statues found around the city walls during the excavations had been sent to the İzmir Museum.
Sabancı Foundation General Director Zerrin Koyunsağan said the statue might be a woman who managed the ancient city. “I think that thousands of years ago women had significant roles in society and city management. At the Sabancı Foundation, we are carrying out projects on the issue of social gender in Turkey. This is why this female managerial statue that connects with the work of our society is meaningful for us,” she said.
- via: Ancient woman statue revealed in Metropolis (Hurriyet)
As often, the photo accompanying the original article isn’t very helpful. It seems to be part of a series which is seen in this Turkish language newspaper:
Yet another Turkish source includes this photo, which seems to be the piece in question:
A mosaic from the second or third century with a human figure has been found during the construction of a district bazaar area in the southern province of Mersin’s Tarsus district.
Tarsus Gov. Orhan Şefik Güldibi said the mosaic was unearthed by chance in the construction area.
“Maybe we have reached one of the most important archaeological remains in Tarsus. We know that the history of Tarsus dates back to ancient ages. We have found Orpheus mosaics on the ancient Roman road next to the courthouse. It shows us the richness of the district’s archaeological treasures,” he said.
After unearthing the mosaic, construction work was halted and scientific work was initiated. The district governor said that there was a structure 25 meters by five meters in the area they thought could be a water cistern from the early Roman period.
“This structure may also be the remains of a bath, palace or villa. We will see after the examinations. The human mosaic has Greek writing on it, which will be translated by experts. We think there are other mosaics around this one. We will restore and display it,” Güldibi said.
- via: Mosaic found at a bazaar construction (Hurriyet)
… as often, Hurriyet includes an annoyingly small photo of the mosaic (we want to read the Greek!!!!), ecce:
… I can’t figure it out, other than perhaps to suggest this is the origin of North American style football as we clearly have a quarterback sporting a playoff beard … more coffee needed.
From a UW-Madison press release:
The ruins of ancient Troy will be examined by a cross-disciplinary team of scientists in an expedition led by UW-Madison classics professor William Aylward.
Troy, the palatial city of prehistory, sacked by the Greeks through trickery and a fabled wooden horse, will be excavated anew beginning in 2013 by a cross-disciplinary team of archaeologists and other scientists, it was announced today (Monday, Oct. 15).
The new expedition will be led by University of Wisconsin-Madison classics Professor William Aylward, an archaeologist with long experience digging in the ruins of classical antiquity, including Troy itself. The new international project at Troy, to be conducted under the auspices of and in cooperation with Turkey’s Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, will begin a series of summer-time expeditions beginning in 2013.
“Troy is a touchstone of Western civilization,” says Aylward. “Although the site has been excavated in the past, there is much yet to be discovered. Our plan is to extend work to unexplored areas of the site and to systematically employ new technologies to extract even more information about the people who lived here thousands of years ago.”
Troy and the Trojan War were immortalized in Homer’s epic poem the Iliad centuries after the supposed events of the conflict. The site was occupied almost continuously for about 4,500 years, from the beginning of the Bronze Age to the 13th century A.D., when it was abandoned and consigned to myth. It was rediscovered in the 1870s by the wealthy German businessman and pioneering archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann whose work at Troy laid the foundations for modern archaeology.
“Our goal is to add a new layer of information to what we already know about Troy,” says Aylward, who is contributing an international team of archaeologists and scientists to conduct what promises to be the most comprehensive dig since Troy’s discovery over 140 years ago. “The archaeological record is rich. If we take a closer look with new scientific tools for study of ancient biological and cultural environments, there is much to be found for telling the story of this world heritage site.”
The site of Troy is in modern Turkey and is situated on the Dardanelles, a crossroads between East and West and a flashpoint for conflict in both ancient and modern times. The archaeological site is a complex layer cake of history and prehistory, with 10 cities superimposed one atop the other, some with clear evidence for violent destruction.
Following the demise of Troy at the end of the Bronze Age, the site was re-settled by Greeks, Romans and others, who all claimed Homer’s Troy and its cast of characters — Achilles, Helen, Patroclus, Priam and Ajax — as their own cultural heritage. The ancient city was visited by the Persian general Xerxes, Alexander the Great, and Roman emperors, including Augustus and Hadrian. Homer’s epic poems about a lost age of heroes and the legendary Trojan War have endured as sources of inspiration for art and literature ever since.
Although archaeologists have been digging at Troy for almost 140 years, with the exception of a 50-year hiatus between 1938 and 1988, less than one-fifth of the site has been scientifically excavated. With about 4,500 years of nearly uninterrupted settlement at a crossroads between Europe and Asia, Troy is fundamental for questions about the development of civilization in Europe and the Near East. “Troy deserves a world-class archaeological program,” says Aylward.
In its heyday, Troy’s citadel, with walls 12 feet thick and more than 30 feet high, was about 6 acres in size. A walled lower town covered an expanse of 50 acres, much of which is unexplored. Mysteries abound. Ancient Troy’s royal cemetery, for example, has yet to be discovered and archaeologists are eager to add to the single example of prehistoric writing known from Troy, a small bronze seal from the Bronze Age.
“Major gaps in our knowledge involve the identity of the prehistoric Trojans, the location of their principal cemeteries and the nature of their writing system,” says Aylward. “The enduring question of the historicity of the Trojan War is also worthy of further exploration.”
In future work at Troy, Aylward plans an array of collaborations in order to deploy powerful new scientific techniques to reveal the hidden record of the ancient city and its inhabitants. New methods to examine chemical residues on pottery from ancient kitchens and banquet halls, for example, may reveal secrets of ancient Trojan culinary proclivities, and genomic analyses of human and animal remains may shed light on diseases and afflictions at a crossroads of civilization.
Much of the new work in the area of “molecular archaeology,” which includes DNA sequencing and protein analysis, will be conducted in collaboration with the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, which has become an active partner in the new Troy project. This past summer, researchers from the center participated in reconnaissance for future studies.
The new Wisconsin expedition to Troy builds on years of existing work and international collaboration at the site. The new program to be inaugurated in 2013 will be conducted under the auspices of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, which is situated near the site of Troy.
- via: UW-Madison archaeologists t… UW-Madison archaeologists to mount new expedition to Troy (UW Madison)
Nice update on the happenings around Zeugma in the latest (November/December 2012) issue of Archaeology:
From the English edition of the Gazzetta del Sud:
Two ancient Roman shipwrecks, complete with their cargo, have been discovered by Italian archaeologists off the coast of Turkey near the the ancient Roman city of Elaiussa Sebaste. The ships, one dating from the Roman Imperial period and the other from about the sixth century AD, have been found with cargoes of amphorae and marble, say researchers from the Italian Archaeological Mission of Rome’s University La Sapienza. Both ships were discovered near Elaiussa Sebaste, on the Aegean coast of Turkey near Mersin, according to a statement issued by the Italian embassy in Ankara. Officials say the discoveries – led by Italian archaeologist Eugenia Equini Schneider – confirm the important role Elaiussa Sebaste played within the main sea routes between Syria, Egypt, and the Anatolian peninsula from the days of Augustus until the early Byzantine period. Elaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century BC on a tiny island attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus in the Mediterranean Sea. Schneider has been leading the excavations since 1995.
- via: Italian archaeologists find 2 sunken Roman ships off Turkey (Gazzetta del Sud)
There were other finds (not underwater) earlier in the month: Roman Bath From Elaissua Sebaste
One that was languishing in my email box … from Today’s Zaman:
The excavation of the Kerkenez ruins in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have revealed the original city walls dating back to the fourth century B.C.
The excavation was carried out due to support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Yozgat Museum Office. The excavation, which has been ongoing for 19 years, is being conducted by a team headed by Assistant Professor Abdülkadir Baran this year. Archaeologist Nil Dirlik stated that the Kerkenez ruins, located five kilometers away from the village of Şahmuratlı in the district of Sorgun, are among the most prominent ancient centers in Turkey.
She further stated that the excavation work will continue in the future, and next year they will host tourist groups, a move that is expected to make a big contribution to the economy of Yozgat as well as that of Turkey.
Residents of the village say they have a good relationship with the excavation team, which provides them with jobs and informs them about the importance of the excavation.
- via: Original city walls of Kerkenez ruins discovered
From Today’s Zaman:
Archaeological excavations at three locations in Turkey have revealed numerous artifacts from three ancient cities.
The walls of Rhodiapolis, built during the days of the Byzantine Empire, and a mausoleum from the Hellenistic period were the finds in the southern province of Antalya.
The excavations of the area, which have been ongoing for seven years, have also revealed an amphitheater, the first hospital in the historical Lycian region and the stoa of the ancient city. Assistant Professor from Akdeniz University İsa Turgut stated that they have cleared the area carefully from debris and plan to reveal the façade of the mausoleum next year.
Meanwhile, excavations being carried out at Enez Castle in the northwestern province of Edirne have resulted in the discovery of a 2,500-year-old urn, a 2,350-year-old bronze wine goblet and cultural ruins dating back to the fourth century B.C.
The mayor of Enez, Ahmet Çayır, stated that five houses around the area had been expropriated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Under the scope of nationalization, the ministry compensated the owners of the houses and demolished them to continue with the excavations.
A team of 40 started restorations in Hadrianopolis in Eskipazar, a district of the Black Sea province of Karabük, where illegal excavations had damaged the historic artifacts. The town was reportedly built by Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Assistant professor Vedat Keleş of Atatürk University told reporters that they are working to prevent further damage to the churches in the city and that the team has cleaned nearly 1 million mosaic tiles in two months.
- via: Excavations across Turkey yield valuable finds (Today’s Zaman)
Tip o’ the pileus to A.K. Eyma for passing along this item from Leiden University:
Linguists Alwin Kloekhorst and Alexander Lubotsky from Leiden University made a great discovery this summer. They deciphered a few dozen inscriptions on pot shards found in Daskyleion (North-West Turkey) as Phrygian and Lydian, and thus proved the presence of the Phrygians and Lydians in that area.
Kloekhorst and Lubotsky’s find can be termed sensational. Previous excavations had already led to the supposition that Greeks and Phrygians lived in and around Daskyleion between the 6th and 3rd century BC, but now there is also proof of the presence of the Lydians. The kingdom of the Phrygians in the mid-west of the Anatolian Plateau had a rich mythology in which kings such as Gordias (of the Gordian Knot) figured. The Lydians are known as a rich people that in all probability invented coins. This means it has been proven for the first time that Daskyleion was a multi-ethnic town in that period. This is important, because we do not yet know for sure which languages were spoken in North-West Turkey before the Greeks began to settle there in about 800 BC.
Grin and bear it
When the Turkish archaeologists Kaan Iren (Mugla University) and Handan Yildizhan (Nevsehir University) found pot shards with inscriptions that they could not decipher their search soon led them to Leiden. Kloekhorst, who received a VENI grant in 2008 for his research into Hittite (a language related to Lydian), is known to be expert in the field of Anatolian languages (a sub-group of the Indo-European language family). For his part, Lubotsky is an authority in the field of the Phrygian language. At the request of the Turkish archaeologists they spent a week in Daskyleion in July deciphering the inscriptions. Kloekhorst says, ‘It was 35 degrees and there was no air-conditioning. It was certainly a case of grin and bear it.’
The best discovery, says Kloekhorst, is a small shard with ‘To Zeus’ scraped on it. ‘Most of the shards are very small,’ he explains. ‘The words are often broken into pieces, and you do find a whole word it is usually a name. The advantage is that Phrygian and Lydian each had their own alphabets. That is often our only guide: it’s how we know that it can’t be a Greek text.’ The discovery amounts to some thirty inscriptions. That may not seem much but for two extinct languages it is huge. Kloekhorst says, ‘In total we only have 150 Lydian fragments. That means that any new piece of text is welcome. They are the small pieces of evidence that we work with.’
The excavation house in the village of Ergili, where Alwin Kloekhorst and Alexander Lubotsky stayed and worked for a week.
The excavation house in the village of Ergili, where Alwin Kloekhorst and Alexander Lubotsky stayed and worked for a week.
At the request of the Turkish archaeologists Kloekhorst and Lubotsky are producing a book on the joint discoveries. An article will also be published in which they will reveal the discoveries. But it probably does not end there. ‘Whilst we were in Turkey,’ says Kloekhorst, ‘every now and then a new shard with an inscription would be found. I can easily see us having to return next year.’
The original article includes photos of some of the inscriptions and relevant links to the people involved.