Category Archives: TURKEY

Early Bronze Age Burials Uncovered in Istanbul

Early Bronze Age Burials Uncovered in Istanbul

Hurriyet Daily News reports that archaeological investigation in Istanbul ahead of the construction of a subway station near the European shore of the Bosphorus uncovered burials dated to between 3500 and 3000 B.C. 

Early Bronze Age Burials Uncovered in Istanbul

A giant pier was built in the area and a canvas was laid on it in order to protect the finds from the weather incidents that would disrupt the excavations, which have been continuing at full speed since 2016.

The remains from the late Ottoman period and the late Byzantine period were found during the field works in addition to the ruins of a tram line and depots built-in 1910.

Below this layer, some small finds belonging to the Hellenistic and Roman periods were also unearthed, which are considered as “very significant” for the Bosphorus line.

However, the findings that excited the archaeologists the most were found in excavations made at a depth of one and a half meters above sea level.

In this section, it was revealed that there were kurgan-type graves under the stone rows.

Since all of the oldest kurgan-type tombs found in the country belonging to the early bronze age were buried after the cremation, the bones of the remains have cracked and disintegrated.

For this reason, archaeologists in the field continue their work meticulously using dental tools.

A very delicate work is done and all the graves are opened and documented during the excavations, according to Mehmet Ali Polat, an archaeologist involved in excavations.

Kurgan-type graves found dates back to 3,500 B.C., that is, they belong to the era that we call the first bronze period in chronology,” Polat said, adding that nearly 82 graves were found inside and outside the kurgans in rows of stones.

“A total of 75 of these 82 tombs belong to cremation, that is, bodies buried by burning. Seven of them were direct burials,” he noted.

Pointing out that two terracotta figurines were found inside a tomb, Polat drew attention to the fact that such figurines had not been found before.

“There were some symbols on the figurines. When we did some research, we saw that these were runic alphabet symbols. Symbols are seen in the Vinca culture in Romania,” Polat added.

When the tombs are evaluated together with the small finds and runic alphabet symbols, it can change the migration map from Anatolia to the Balkans, to the northeast of Europe and the Black Sea, according to the expert.

Polat announced that the findings unearthed during excavations in Beşiktaş, one of the busiest squares of Istanbul, would be exhibited to the public at the top of the metro station.

Monastery, 1500-year-old mosaic unearthed in Turkey

Monastery, 1500-year-old mosaic unearthed in Turkey

During an illegal excavation project carried out by two suspects in the Aliağa district of Turkey’s western Izmir province, a monastery built in the Roman period and a nearly 1500-year-old mosaic were discovered.

Monastery, 1500-year-old mosaic unearthed in Turkey
A closeup of the fine floor mosaic work from the Roman monastery discovered in Izmir Province, Turkey, after security forces were alerted to the theft in progress

Turkish Gendarmerie teams, acting on a tipoff, launched an operation in the mountainous area of the Aliağa district which has no vehicular access. The suspects were nabbed trying to remove the historical remains from about 2 meters (6.5 feet) below the ground.

Later, experts from the Izmir Archeology Museum investigated the region and the area was put under protection. The mosaic will be taken to a museum after initial studies are performed.

Two experts from the Izmir Archeology Museum investigate the area where the mosaic and monastery unearthed, Izmir, western Turkey

Hünkar Keser, the director of the Izmir Archeology Museum told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the team came to the region following the Turkish Gendarmerie’s notification. “We discovered the floor mosaic. This place was used as a monastery and has a basilica,” said Keser.

Explaining that the team estimates that the monastery was used between the fourth and 14th century, Keser said the mosaic was very valuable archaeologically.

“It is located at a point where it can be reached by tractor from the pathways. This is a universal cultural asset and a rare artefact,” he said.

The Incredible Images Created With Byzantine Mosaics

The Byzantine Empire refers to the continuation, in parts, of the wilting Western Roman Empire, in its eastern advancement roughly from the 5 th century AD to the middle of the 15 th century.

With its capital at Constantinople, the overwhelming influence of Eastern Orthodox Christianity appeared in all art forms during the period, including architecture. During this period, the art produced drew heavily on Hellenistic motifs and iconography, frequently with mystical themes.

Mosaics are carefully constructed colourful and detailed pictures made of finely cut marble, limestone and pebbles, known as tesserae.

The Byzantine Empire was renowned for its mosaics. And many of these incredible works of art celebrated the union of church and state.

The spread of Byzantine mosaic culture was not restricted to Constantinople but spread to distant regions of the empire, including the Balkans, southern Italy, and parts of Russia.

In fact, the rapid increase in mosaic artists who possessed the technical mastery and aesthetic sense of this artform led to huge cross-cultural influences, including Islamic art styles, especially by the Abbasids and the Umayyads.

While the messaging was politico-religious, it was impossible to ignore the distinctions in style and aesthetics and the resultant beauty.

An especially impressive Byzantine mosaic in the Hagia Sophia church that eventually became an important mosque

The world-famous Hagia Sophia, now a museum, began as a church and then became an important mosque for nearly 400 years, is especially celebrated for its exceptional range of gorgeous mosaics, made by the finest craftsmen.

This is also true of the mosaics found in the monasteries at Hosios Loukas, Daphni and Neo Moni of Chios in Greece, which are all marvels of the Byzantine mosaic artform and, incidentally, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Due to the eventual collapse and sacking of the Byzantine Empire capital of Constantinople in the 15 th century AD, many mosaics were destroyed forever. And this was a terrible loss for historians and cultural aficionados worldwide.

Izmir itself, the location of the current find, was once the ancient Greek city of Smyrna, which became a part of the Byzantine Empire. It was ransacked several times: twice by the Turks in the 11 th and 14 th centuries, and then by the Ottomans in the 15 th century.

The recently discovered Roman monastery mosaic will be removed from the ground and taken to the museum for further study. It is a find that has great historical implications, and it is only a matter of time before we learn more.

2,000-year-old Roman street unearthed in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

2,000-year-old Roman street unearthed in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

A 2,000-year-old street from the Roman period has been discovered in southeastern Turkey. The historic city of Diyarbakır, situated in southeastern Turkey, is home to innumerable ancient wonders and relics from throughout history.

Archaeological workers continue efforts to unearth a Roman-era street at the ancient Amida Höyük site in Diyarbakır, Turkey.

Currently, excavation to unearth the historical Roman street is being carried out in Amida Höyük, a mound known as the heart of Diyarbakır province while also being the historical Roman name of the city, along with Amed which was what it was called in the Assyrian period and modern-day Kurdish.

Amida Höyük was home to many civilizations such as the Hurri-Mitannis, Urartians, Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Tigranes the Great’s Kingdom of Armenia, Romans, Sassanids, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Safavids, Ayyubid dynasty, Marwanids, Seljuks, Artuqids and Ottomans.

Professor Irfan Yıldız from Dicle University is leading the excavation amid strict measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

“Very interesting data continues to come from the west side of the mound we excavated. The street texture and structure of the period has started to emerge,” Yıldız said.

Yıldız noted that over the period of a year they expect to unearth many historical artefacts in the excavation.

Yildiz said by 2022 tourists using the Roman street will be able to visit the historical region of Içkale and be able to see streets from the Roman, Ottoman and Republican periods.

Diyarbakır was historically situated around a high plateau by the banks of the Tigris river on which stands the historic Diyarbakır Fortress.

Tigris was one half of the word “Mesopotamia” which translates to “between the rivers” in ancient Greek, a reference to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that helped humanity thrive but also plunged it into some of the bloodiest wars of history.

Many small and large-scale states and empires were built upon the soil which offered plentiful natural resources essential for survival.

The city was conquered by Muslims in 639, only a few years following the conquest of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which stands as the holiest city of Islam.

Today, Diyarbakır is home to the Hevsel Gardens which have been used for agricultural purposes for more than 8,000 years, the Great (Ulu) Mosque, one of the oldest mosques of Anatolia and the Malabadi bridge built during the Artuqid period in the 12th century.

Meanwhile, it is also home to the Hasuni Cave city where pre-historic people lived during the early years of Christianity, and the Zerzevan Castle, which is a Roman military facility containing the temple of Mithraism, a mysterious religion.

500 Year Old Map Was Discovered That Shatters The “Official” History Of The Planet

500 Year Old Map Was Discovered That Shatters The “Official” History Of The Planet

The past of humanity is a mystery. We know very little, and much of what we believe we know is rapidly changing as new knowledge emerges that challenges our existing paradigm.

Our world is also no stranger to unexplained mysteries, and there are numerous examples of verified phenomena, ancient monuments, books, teachings, understandings, and more that lack any explanation and counter what we’ve already been taught. We are like a race with amnesia, able to put together small bits and pieces of our history yet unable to fit it all together. There are still many missing pieces to the puzzle.

One great example is the Piri Reis map, a genuine document that was copied at Constantinople in AD 1513 from older documents and discovered in 1929. It focuses on the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. It was drawn by Admiral Piri Reis of the Ottoman era, a well-known historical figure. He made a copy of the map, which was originally drawn based on documents that date back to at least the fourth century BC, and on information obtained by multiple explorers.

Surviving fragment of the Piri Reis map showing the Central and South American coast. The appended notes say “the map of the western lands drawn by Columbus”

Why the Map Is So Compelling

500 Year Old Map Was Discovered That Shatters The “Official” History Of The Planet

One of the most compelling facts about the map is that it includes a continent that our history books tell us was not discovered until 1818.

Secondly, the map depicts what is known as “Queen Maud Land,” a 2.7 million-square-kilometre (1 million sq mi) region of Antarctica, as it looked millions of years ago. This region and other regions shown on the map are thought to have been covered completely in ice, but the map tells a different story, showing them free of ice, which suggests they passed through a long ice-free period that may not have ended until around six thousand years ago, conflicting with current research on these areas. Today, geological evidence has confirmed that this area could not have been ice-free until about 4000 BC.

Official science has been saying that the icecap that covers the Antarctic is millions of years old. The Piri Reis map shows that the northern part of that continent had been mapped before the ice did cover it, which means that it was mapped a million years ago — but that’s impossible since mankind did not exist at that time. Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

Professor Charles Hapgood, who was a university history professor, wrote to the United States Air Force Reconnaissance Technical Squadron (SAC) and they also confirmed that “this indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.” They also went on to state that “we have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.” 

Here’s what Hapgood had to say about it in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings:

It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and that compilations of them were made by the geographers that worked there. 

Furthermore, the map is very detailed and includes mountain ranges in the Antarctic that were not even discovered until 1952.

“His idea is original, of great simplicity, and – if it continues to prove itself – of great importance to everything that is related to the history of the Earth’s surface.”

– Einstein on Hapgood’s interpretations of the map (From a forward Einstein wrote for Hapgood in one of his books)

Hapgood and mathematician Richard W. Strachan have also provided more mind-boggling information. For example, a comparison with modern-day photographs taken from satellite images shows remarkable similarities; the originals of Piri Reis’ maps might well have been aerial photographs taken from a very high height. I’ll let you think about that for a second. How is that possible for a map that was made millions of years ago?

“A spaceship hovers high above Cairo and points its camera straight downward. When the film is developed, the following picture would emerge: everything that is in a radius of about 5,000 miles of Cairo is reproduced correctly because it lies directly below the lens. But the countries and continents become increasingly distorted the farther we move our eyes from the centre of the picture.

Why is this? Owing to the earth’s spherical shape, the continents away from the centre‘ sink downward.’ South America, for example, appears strangely distorted lengthways, exactly as it does on the Piri Reis maps! And exactly as it does on the photographs taken from the American lunar probes.”

Erich von Däniken, Chariots of the Gods 

Changing Our View of The Past

The fact that this ancient map could have been made with some sort of aerial technology is quite a thought, isn’t it? Even if this isn’t an option, who had the technology to undertake such an accurate geographical survey in Antarctica two million years ago? How would they have known to detail the map as if it were taken from above, with knowledge about the Earth’s shape?

It remains a mystery how the Sumerians, Mayans, and others were aware of celestial bodies in space, for instance, that are impossible to detect without modern technology and could make calculations based on that awareness.

This map is another example of just such a mystery and suggests that the existence of some sort of ancient advanced civilization, with all the tools (or possibly more) of modern-day civilization, is indeed plausible.

For more detailed information regarding this truly fascinating map, I suggest you check out Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods.

I’d also like to mention that this map is part of a very large body of evidence suggesting that extremely intelligent, very advanced ancient civilizations once inhabited the Earth.

Late Roman Era Sarcophagus Found By Turkish Farmer

Late Roman Era Sarcophagus Found By Turkish Farmer

A project in Turkey to stop illegal excavations has resulted in the discovery of rare sarcophagi. To detect the looters, the authorities used the new surveillance technologies, which in turn led to these unexpected discoveries.

The findings are related to Aphrodisias and may have originated from a part of the ancient city that was previously unknown.

Turkish authorities have been notified of possible illegal excavations in Karacasu, a town near Aphrodisias, a Hellenistic-era city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in western Turkey.

Late Roman Era Sarcophagus Found By Turkish Farmer
After being tipped off about suspicious activity, Turkish authorities conducted surveillance which led to the impressive discovery of an illegal dig which had unearthed the sarcophagi in Turkey.

Officials decided to monitor the activities of the looters by setting up motion-sensitive cameras to detect any possible criminal activity. Drones were also employed as part of the operation.

After weeks of surveillance, a group of men was detected in the area. The local gendarmerie investigated and uncovered signs of an illegal excavation in an olive grove. Further investigations revealed a half-unearthed sarcophagus.

The authorities immediately placed the site under their protection. Further investigations also revealed another sarcophagus and an altar.

Surveillance Operation Uncovers Illegal Excavation

The district governor Ahmet Soley is quoted by Archaeology News Network as saying that groups of people were coming from elsewhere and were engaging in suspicious activity. “As a result of the gendarme’s work, the places to be excavated were found and two sarcophagi, along with an altar, were discovered in the area.”

However, the treasure hunters behind the illegal excavation got away. Greece in High Definition reports Soley as saying that “the perpetrators of the illegal diggings are still unclear.”

One of the sarcophagi is better preserved than the other and still has many of its original decorations. According to Greece in High Definition, the Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Umut Tuncer announced that “there is a Medusa relief among others that have not yet been identified on one of the sarcophagi.” The identity of the person who was buried in this tomb has not been established.

Authorities excavating one of the impressive sarcophagi discovered near Karacasu in western Turkey.

Given the size of the sarcophagus, it is likely that the person interred was a member of the local elite. Tuncer is quoted by Archaeology News Network as explaining that the authorities believe that “the person in this sarcophagus was an important figure of the region.” It is estimated that the burials date back to at least 2,300 years ago to the Hellenistic era.

The finds are probably connected to the city of Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek City named after the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite.

The city grew wealthy because of its rich agricultural hinterland. Aphrodisias was also famed for its marble and its school of sculptors.

The city became part of the Roman province of Caria and it was favored by Sulla and Julius Caesar. As a result, it was largely autonomous. The city’s name after the rise of Christianity was “changed to Stavropolis and then Caria, and it became the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Caria,” explains an entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

It went into decline and was abandoned during the Seljuk Turk invasions of Anatolia in the Middle Ages.

The discovery of the sarcophagus means that it is likely that other burials could be found. But that’s not all! Experts also believe that the sarcophagus has revealed a new part of the city. This could mean that even more important finds and long-lost structures could be recovered at a future date.

The remains of the city of Aphrodisias are now part of an archaeology park, the centerpiece of which is the remains of a temple of Aphrodite. Thanks to its UNESCO designation, the park is very popular with tourists which has become increasingly important for the local economy.

The unexpected find has created excitement amongst local authorities as “the discovery of a new metropolitan area creates great potential in terms of regional tourism,” highlights Tuncer in Archaeology News Network.

The thrilling discoveries demonstrate the threat posed by illegal excavations and how technology can play a critical role in the prevention of this crime.

1,500-Year-Old Mosaic Discovered in Turkey

1,500-Year-Old Mosaic Discovered in Turkey

According to an Anadolu Agency report, researchers from the Izmir Archaeology Museum uncovered a 1,500-year-old mosaic in a remote, mountainous area of western Turkey.

A monastery built during the Roman era and a 1,500-year-old mosaic was unearthed in western Turkey as security forces nabbed two suspects conducting an illegal excavation.

Turkish Gendarmerie teams, acting on a tip, launched an operation in the mountainous area where there is no method of transportation by vehicle in the Aliaga District of Izmir province.

The suspects were nabbed trying to remove the historical remains about 2 meters (6.5 feet) below the ground.

Later, experts from the Izmir Archeology Museum investigated the region and the area was taken under protection.

1,500-Year-Old Mosaic Discovered in Turkey

The mosaic will be taken to a museum after initial studies are performed.

Hunkar Keser, the director of the Izmir Archeology Museum told Anadolu Agency that the team came to the region following the Turkish Gendarmerie’s notification.

“We detected the floor mosaic. This place was used as a monastery and has a basilica,” said Keser.

Explaining that the team estimates the monastery was used between the fourth and fourteenth centuries, Keser said the mosaic was very valuable archaeologically.

“It is located at a point where it can be reached by tractor from the pathways. This is a universal cultural asset and a rare artefact,” he said.

Hundreds of Skeletons Unearthed at World’s Oldest City Show How Violence and Disease Ravaged Civilization

Hundreds of Skeletons Unearthed at World’s Oldest City Show How Violence and Disease Ravaged Civilization

Around 9,000 years ago, a Neolithic settlement in central Turkey was starting to grow. The people living at Çatalhöyük had transitioned from foraging to farming, and the population of what would become one of the world’s first cities was increasing.

In a study published in the journal PNAS, scientists have now looked at how this shift impacted the people living there—and how ultimately the move toward urban lifestyles led to increased violence and disease.

Çatalhöyük, in Anatolia, was founded around 7100 B.C. Archaeologists discovered the site in the 1950s and quickly realized it was a cultural centre during the Neolithic period. Since then it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing important evidence about how people went from living in small villages to larger urban environments.

The site was occupied for over 1,000 years, with the population peaking between 3,500 and 8,000 people living there around 6,500 B.C. However, after a rapid decline, it was abandoned just over 500 years later, in 5950 B.C.

To understand the social changes that took place at Çatalhöyük, researchers looked at the remains of 749 individuals.

The team, led by Clark Spencer Larsen of The Ohio State University, notes that this sample encompasses the entire demographic—from the neonatal to the elderly. Bodies were normally buried under houses in burial pits, suggesting a sense of community.

By looking at changes to the skeletons over the period of occupation, the team was able to deduce certain changes that took place. “Çatalhöyük was one of the first proto-urban communities in the world and the residents experienced what happens when you put many people together in a small area for an extended time,” Larsen said in a statement.

The team discovered the population expanded rapidly during the Middle Period (6700−6500 B.C). Analysis of the mud houses shows that at its population peak, residents were experiencing extreme overcrowding.

Residential dwellings were built like apartments and they could only be accessed by the roof, via ladders. The walls of the houses were found to have traces of animal and human faecal matter: “They are living in very crowded conditions, with trash pits and animal pens right next to some of their homes. So there is a whole host of sanitation issues that could contribute to the spread of infectious diseases,” Larsen said.

The headless skeleton of a young woman and her unborn child from Çatalhöyük.

Residents kept sheep and goats—the former of which is host to several human parasites. Living in close quarters in extremely cramped conditions could have contributed to public health problems—about a third of residents were living with infections in their bones, the analysis revealed.

The team also found an increase in interpersonal violence. Of 93 skulls in the sample, over a quarter were found to have suffered from fractures.

The shape of the injury suggests people were hit over the head with hard round objects—potentially clay balls that were also discovered at the site. Over half of the victims were women and many of the blows appear to have been inflicted when the victims were facing away from their attacker.

Researchers believe the increase in violence coincides with the changes to the population size: “An argument can be made for elevated stress and conflict within the community,” they wrote.

“This finding matches those from a number of settings today and in the archaeological past, confirming the association between violence and demographic pressure.”

Analysis of the bones revealed the diet of the residents was heavy in wheat, barley and rye. This may have caused tooth decay—findings revealed that between 10 and 13 per cent of the population suffered from cavities.

Over the period of occupation, residents were found to have walked significantly more toward the end of the occupation compared with the start.

This indicates that the people were having to travel further to find and farm fertile land—suggesting environmental degradation had taken place at the site. This, coupled with the climate becoming drier, could have contributed to the city’s demise, researchers say.

Larsen believes understanding what happened at Çatalhöyük could help with the challenges we face today, as the population increases and our cities get even more overcrowded.

“We can learn about the immediate origins of our lives today, how we are organized into communities. Many of the challenges we have today are the same ones they had in Çatalhöyük—only magnified,” he said.

Hundreds of Skeletons Unearthed at World's Oldest City Show How Violence and Disease Ravaged Civilization
View of Çatalhöyük, the neolithic archaeological site in Turkey.

Over 40 ancient shipwrecks discovered in the Black Sea

Over 40 ancient shipwrecks discovered in the Black Sea

Marco Polo himself may have recognised this medieval trading ship. It’s one of the 40 or so shipwrecks newly discovered on the bed of the Black Sea north of Turkey. Some of these vessels sank when the Byzantine Empire was in its heyday 1000 years ago, and some during more recent Ottoman times.

Others sank in the 13th century when Marco Polo was plying his trade across the globe. Most other wrecks from these time periods have been found in much shallower waters, where they have been eaten away down to just their hulls.

But the new haul was preserved for centuries on the seabed thanks to low-oxygen conditions that prevent the decay of timber. As a result, the architecture of the upper deck appears in unprecedented detail, allowing historians to see how well the features match up to historical accounts.

New images show finely carved rudders, masts, tillers, and even ropes that are almost perfectly preserved.

They were rediscovered by submersibles scouring the seabed as part of a project to piece together how and when sea levels rose again in the Black Sea following the last ice age, which peaked 20,000 years ago.

Over 40 ancient shipwrecks discovered in the Black Sea

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project has uncovered 41 wrecks this year so far, revealing them in all their glory thanks to a state-of-the-art imagery method called 3D photogrammetry.

“We took thousands of high-quality stills and video around the whole of each wreck,” explains Jon Adams at the University of Southampton, UK, and principal investigator on the project. “Software calculates the positions of millions of points in 3D space, generating accurate, detailed 3D images of each wreck.”

Well-preserved

Adams says that the medieval ships have never been seen in such a well-preserved state. “We’ve never seen them this complete,” he says. “Normally, it’s just bits of the lower hull, but here we have much upper-deck material.”

One of the medieval ships – found 1100 metres down – was probably an Italian trading craft from around the 1300s, of a type that Marco Polo would recognise. Although its iron-fastened hull planks have fallen to the seabed, it retains the stern platform with its rudders intact.

“The mast is also still standing, with the yardarms lying on the deck,” he says. “We can still see rigging and pots on board.”

It also has features of more ancient ship technology, such as “quarter rudders” on each flank at the ship’s rear for steering, rather than the single centre-line stern rudder that became the norm in around 1400 and beyond.

Other wrecks were also beautifully preserved. An Ottoman trading ship from a few centuries later retained many deck features, including masts. In addition, images show a beautifully carved tiller with coils of rope hanging from the timbers at the ship’s rear.

Because they all sank far out at sea, Adams believes that these were trading ships rather than ships sunk in battle. “They’re all a long way offshore, so they were probably overwhelmed by rough weather,” he says.