Category Archives: TURKEY

2,800-Year-Old ‘Pharmaceutical production area’ discovered in ancient Thracian City

2,800-Year-Old ‘Pharmaceutical production area’ discovered in ancient Thracian City

2,800-Year-Old ‘Pharmaceutical production area’ discovered in ancient Thracian City

Archaeologists have unearthed a “pharmaceutical production area” supported by a water source during ongoing excavations in the Thracian Ancient City Heraion Teikhos,  in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ.

Heraion Teichos ancient city on the İstanbul-Tekirdağ highway, situated on the banks of the Marmara Sea in Tekirdağ Province, is extremely important since it is the only Thracian city excavated in Türkiye.

In recent years, scientific data revealed by archaeological excavations prove that the city has been inhabited from third millennium B.C.E. to XIII century. Century A.D. The city lived its most brilliant periods from 5Th century B.C.. to 1st century A.D.

In 2021, a team of researchers from Istanbul Rumeli University unearthed a 2,800-year-old temple in Türkiye’s ancient Thracian city of Heraion Teikhos. Now, a water system has been identified leading to a space within the temple that researchers call an “ancient pharmaceutical production area.”

Professor Dr. Neşe Atik told Hurriyet Daily News, “Heraion Teikhos is a Thracian City, the first Thracian settlement in our country where excavations are still being carried out, and the only excavation site that yields Thracian finds.”

Atik stated that the aim of the excavations is to identify pharmaceutical production areas, the size of which is not yet known, and how the water was transported.

“Water systems in hilltop settlements were usually built with large water cisterns in ancient times.

The 2023 excavations at the Heraion Teikhos settlement yielded findings indicating that water was transported not from cisterns but from an area a few kilometers to the east of the excavation site, which is still wooded today. In addition to this, a new pharmaceutical was unearthed in the west of the settlement.

Terracotta pipes connecting the pools and stone channels also revealed that there was a pharmaceutical production area spread over the entire excavation area,” Atik said.

“The fact that the medicine ovens and the clean water system and pools required for medicine making were located close to each other in the same areas is scientifically important since it is the first time they have been identified archaeologically,” she concluded.

The Thracians were a group of tribes renowned for their rich culture and formidable warriors, that thrived in Southeast Europe from as early as 2000-1500 BC. They were a group of tribes who occupied the southeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula.

The Thracians are most famous for their magnificent metalwork, particularly in gold and silver, and for people like the fabled Spartacus, who was descended from them. Their culture, interwoven with Greek and later Roman influences, contributed significantly to the tapestry of classical antiquity, but it remains shrouded in mystery due to a lack of written records.

3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey

3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey

3,000-Year-Old Castle Built by Mysterious Civilization Found at The Bottom of a Lake in Turkey
Underwater ruins of Armenian castle in lake Van ( Anadolu Ajansı )

A team of Turkish archaeologists has discovered the remains of what is believed to be a 3,000-year-old castle from the Armenian kingdom of Urartu (Ararat) submerged underwater in Lake Van.

The underwater excavations were led by Van Yüzüncü Yıl University and the governorship of Turkey’s eastern Bitlis Province. The castle is said to belong to the Iron Age Armenian civilization also known as the Kingdom of Van, Urartu, Ararat, and Armenia.

The lake itself is believed to have been formed by a crater caused by a volcanic eruption of Mount Nemrut near the province of Van. The current water level of the reservoir is about 150 meters higher than it was during the Iron Age.

“Civilizations living around the lake set up large villages and settlements while the water level of the lake was low, but they had to leave the area after it increased again,”

said Tahsin Ceylan, one of the researchers of the newspaper.

The researchers are expecting to conduct further excavations to reveal the full scale of this discovery. The discovery is expected to attract tourism.

Although now within the borders of the Republic of Turkey, the Lake, and town of Van is the very heartland of Armenian civilization since times immemorial. In fact, so much so, that it is considered the very place where Armenian ethnic identity was first born. According to the records of the 5th-century Armenian historian Movses of Khorene, Hayk (the legendary founder of the Armenian nation) settled near Lake Van in 2492 BC where he first founded the village of Haykashen and build there the mighty fortress of Haykaberd.

At the very shores of Lake, Van Hayk assembled his army and told them that they must defeat the Babylonian tyrant king Bel who had marched against him and his people, or die trying to do so, rather than become his slaves. At Dyutsaznamart (meaning: “Battle of Giants”) near Lake Van, Hayk finally defeated Bel. Hereafter Hayk named the region where the battle took place after his own name and the site of the battle Hayots Dzor (meaning: “Valley of the Armenians”). Thus the Armenian nation and its first free kingdom were born on the very shores of Lake Van after which the Armenians call themselves ‘Hay’ and their country – ‘Hayk’ or ‘Hayastan’, in honor of the legendary founder Hayk.

The ancient Hittite inscriptions deciphered in the 1920s by the Swiss scholar Emil Forrer testify to the existence of a mountain country called ‘Hayasa’ and its vessel lying around Lake Van. The Annals of Mursili (14th century BC) describes the campaigns of Mursili against Hayasa:

And when I arrived in Tiggaramma, the chief cup-bearer Nuvanza and all the noblemen came to meet me at Tiggaramma. I should have marched to Hayasa still, but the chiefs said to me, ‘The season is now far advanced, Sire, Lord! Do not go to Hayasa.’ And I did not go to Hayasa.

Map of historic Armenian with Lake Van at its center. (from Encyclopædia Britannica Online)

It was exactly the works of Movses of Khorene that led to the initial discovery of the Armenian kingdom of Van (Urartu). The existence of this kingdom was unknown to science until the year 1823 when a French scholar, J. Saint-Martin, chanced upon a passage in the ‘History of Armenia’ by Movses of Khorene who had recorded the kingdom in great detail. Inspired by these writings Jean Saint-Martin sent a team to the described location and discovered a kingdom completely unknown to Western academia at the time.

Khorenatsi had described the ancient settlements in Van and attributed them to one of the descendants of Hayk; Ara the Beautiful son of Aram. His description exactly matched, the later discovered, Assyrian clay tablet attributing the foundation of the kingdom to the first king of Urartu; King Aram (c. 860 – 843 BC).

“Urartian history is part of Armenian history, in the same sense that the history of the ancient Britons is part of English history, and that of the Gauls is part of French history. Armenians can legitimately claim, through Urartu, an historical continuity of some 4000 years; their history is among those of the most ancient peoples in the world.”

– Mack Chahin, The Kingdom of Armenia, A History, 1987, revised in 2001

The lake was the center of the Armenian kingdom of Ararat from about 1000 BC, afterward of the Satrapy of Armenia, Kingdom of Greater Armenia, and the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. Along with Lake Sevan in today’s Armenia and Lake Urmia in today’s Iran, Lake Van was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom, referred to as the Seas of Armenia. Its name “Van” is one of the ancient Armenian words for “town” which is still reflected in many Armenian toponyms such as Nakhichevan (meaning: “place/town of descend”), Stepananvan (meaning: “town of Stepan”), Vanadzor (meaning: “valley of Van” ), Sevan, and even the capitol city of Armenia; Yerevan.

Lake Van and its adjacent town also named Van is today part of Turkey, however, its historic Armenian traces are still visible. At the very center of this lake, there is an island called Akhtamar that still holds a thousand-year-old Armenian church; the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Armenians lived in Van up until the early 20th century when Armenians were prosecuted by the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide. One of the last stands of the Armenian people known as the Resistance of Van, where over 55,000 Armenian civilians were massacred by Ottoman militias and bandits, was extensively discussed in newspapers of that time around the world.

The resistance occupies a significant place in Armenian national identity because it symbolizes the Armenians’ will to resist annihilation at the very heartland of the Armenian people.

General view of Akdamar (Akhtamar) Island and the Armenian cathedral of the Holy cross (915 AD).
Medieval Armenian gravestones, Lake Van.
An early 20th century picture of the 10th century Armenian monastery of Narekavank, which once stood near the southeastern shore of the lake.

1,400-year-old coins found in a piggy bank in ancient city of Hadrianopolis

1,400-year-old coins found in a piggy bank in the ancient city of Hadrianopolis

1,400-year-old coins found in a piggy bank in the ancient city of Hadrianopolis

Archaeologists unearthed a collection of 10 coins believed to date back nearly 1,400 years, retrieved from what appears to be a piggy bank in the ongoing excavations at the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Karabük’s Eskipazar district, Türkiye.

Excavations started in 2003 at the structures in Hadrianopolis and continue in periods under the direction of Ersin Çelikbaş, a lecturer at the Archaeology Department of Karabük University (KBÜ).

The ancient city is known as “Zeugma of the Black Sea” due to its mosaics depicting various animals such as horses, elephants, panthers, deer, and griffons. Zeugma is a mosaic museum in Gaziantep, Türkiye’s southeastern province.

Hadrianopolis, known for its churches decorated with mosaics, has produced important discoveries that include walls, villas, defensive fortifications, rock tombs, theaters, arched and domed structures, and monumental cultic niches.

Discussing the recent findings with Anadolu Agency (AA), Çelikbaş highlighting their efforts to uncover new structures across extensive areas with a dedicated team of approximately 60 individuals.

Explaining the discoveries within a particular building whose exact function remains partially ambiguous, Çelikbaş suggested: “We presume it might have served as a kitchen based on the artifacts found within.

Various vessels and kitchen utensils were among the unearthed items. Stratigraphy indicates the building’s prolonged use, though specifics about its final phase remain elusive.”

The 1,400-year-old coins were unearthed in the ancient city of Hadrianopolis, Karabük, Türkiye.

Remarkably, a significant archaeological finding emerged from this area in the form of a money box containing 10 coins dating back to the era of Constans II, believed to span from A.D. 641 to 666, marking the apparent culmination of the building’s usage during the seventh century.

While defining these coins as a treasure in archaeological terms, Çelikbaş suggested an alternative use, saying: “We suspect it was employed as a primitive form of a piggy bank, possibly by a female member of the household during that era, rather than for hiding or burying money.”

The unearthing of these coins provides a glimpse into the final phase of the building’s utilization. It offers valuable insights into ancient domestic practices, highlighting the intersection of archaeology and everyday life in antiquity.

Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonia, also known as Eskipazar, was a city situated in southwestern Asia Minor, located approximately 3km west of the modern town of Eskipazar in the Karabuk Province.

The city was inhabited from at least the 1st century BC until the 8th century AD and was named after the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD.

Hadrianopolis was established during the late Hellenistic, Roman, and early Byzantine periods.

When Emperor Theodosius I (347-395) established a new province called Honorias, combining Paphlagonia and Bithynia, the city became known as Hadrianopolis in Honorias. It was largely due to its Christian diocese that it was listed among the current titular sees in the Annuario Pontificio.

Statue Heads Of Dionysus And Aphrodite Discovered In The Ancient City Of Aizanoi

Statue Heads Of Dionysus And Aphrodite Discovered In The Ancient City Of Aizanoi

Statue heads of ancient Greek deities have been unearthed several times in the ancient city of Aizanoi, Turkey. Now, archaeologists report they have found even more heads.

The research team found the heads of the goddesses of love and beauty, Aphrodite, and the deity of wine, Dionysus, in Kutahya province.

Statue Heads Of Dionysus And Aphrodite Discovered In The Ancient City Of Aizanoi

Situated 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kutahya, the ancient city of Aizanoi has a history that can be traced back to about 5,000 years.

Aizanoi had its golden age in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and became the center of episcopacy in Byzantine times.

The city has a temple built for Zeus, the best-preserved temple in Anatolia. There is also a large theater and a stadium adjacent to the theater.

Archaeological excavations are underway in Aizano, and we can expect many interesting discoveries to be made in this ancient city eventually.

Archaeology professor and excavation team leader Gokhan Coskun told Anadolu that numerous statue pieces were discovered during the excavation.

“The most exciting development for us this season is uncovering new heads of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, and the deity of wine, Dionysus,” Coskun said.

“In the excavation works we have conducted in the region so far, we have unearthed more than 100 statue pieces. Some of the heads found are from statues that are 2-3 meters long,” he noted.

“These statue heads, which we first discovered three years ago, are in very well-preserved condition. During our excavations, so far we have discovered two Aphrodite and three Dionysus statue heads,” Coskun said.

Zeus temple in the ancient city of Aizanoi.

As Coşkun previously explained,” the heads of the statues give information about the faith system in the Roman period.

We know that the ancient Greek gods Aphrodite and Dionysus existed with different names in the Roman period as well.

These are important findings for us as they show that the polytheistic culture of ancient Greece existed for a long time without losing its importance in the Roman period. The findings suggest that there may be a sculpture workshop in the region.”

Roman mosaics were found during rescue excavation in southeast Turkey

Roman mosaics were found during rescue excavation in southeast Turkey

Roman mosaics were found during rescue excavation in southeast Turkey

Archaeologists discovered mosaics believed to be from the Roman era during a rescue excavation undertaken in a rural expanse in the Kızıltepe district of Mardin in southeastern Türkiye.

In the countryside of Uzunkaya Neighbourhood, which is about 30 kilometers away from the district center, officials investigated the area known as Kela Hanma (Lady’s Castle) upon a report of illegal excavation.

During the investigations, it was determined that the architectural texture of the area was destroyed and there were many illegal excavation pits in the area.

Following reports of illicit excavations and the destruction of the architectural fabric in the area, researchers delved into the site to uncover ancient treasures hidden beneath the ground.

A rescue excavation was started on 2 October in the said area under the chairmanship of Mardin Museum Director Abdulgani Tarkan, with the participation of expert archaeologist and art historian Volkan Bağlayıcı, Museum Specialist Archaeologist Mehmet Şan and 6 workers, and teams from Diyarbakır Restoration and Conservation Regional Laboratory Directorate.

The excavation revealed mosaic floor tiles belonging to a Villa Rustica, a rural settlement enclosed by walls, comprising a central structure along with smaller auxiliary buildings distributed around it.

The mosaic floor, measuring approximately 100 square meters, exhibited intricate designs depicting fish scales, triangles, hexagons, octagons, arch formations, trees, waterfowl, octopuses, fish, mussels, seals, and aquatic plant imagery.

Director Abdulgani Tarkan highlighted the significance of the findings, emphasizing that this Roman settlement in the forested area between Kızıltepe and Artuklu districts is not just a rural villa; it encompasses diverse architectural remnants, including living quarters and a necropolis dating back to the fifth to seventh centuries.

“These mosaics, adorned with animal figures and rare sea creatures like octopuses and various fish species, are distinctive in this region.

Our priority is to preserve these historical relics to prevent further deterioration,” Tarkan emphasized.

Plans are in the works to carefully remove and display these unique mosaic artifacts at the museum, highlighting this new chapter in Mardin’s rich historical narrative.

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves

The latest discovery in the ongoing excavations in the Ancient City of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves and gladiators, was a “Dancing Muses” statue, an iconic figure from ancient mythology.

According to the statement made by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the statue found in the works carried out in the ancient city is this unearthed statue is the sole original Hellenistic period piece attributed to a work famously replicated during the Roman period.

Today the ancient city is located in Eskihisar village of the Yatagan district of Mugla Province. It is one of the cities of the Ancient Caria Region. With an area of ​​7 km, it is one of the largest marble-built cities in the world. It is the only city-state with two major sanctuaries dedicated to Hekate and Zeus.

Historically, the “Dancing Muses,” considered one of the muses born from Zeus and Mnemosyne’s union, was reputedly crafted by Philiskos, a renowned sculptor from the second century B.C.

While there are numerous Roman period reproductions of this piece throughout Anatolia and Greece, the newly discovered statue from Stratonikeia stands out as the only authentic work by Philiskos from the Hellenistic era.

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves
Photo: Stratonikeia and Lagina Excavation from social media account.

Information about Philiskos, the renowned sculptor from the Hellenistic Period, is quite scarce. Philiskos was known for his work in bronze sculpture, particularly in creating statues and sculptures of athletes and gods. He was active during the 4th century BCE and hailed from Rhodes, a center for artistic innovation during that era.

Philiskos is often mentioned in historical records and texts for his mastery in portraying movement and anatomical accuracy in his sculptures.

Unfortunately, none of his original works have survived, leaving us to rely on written accounts and references by other ancient authors to understand his artistic prowess and contributions to the field of sculpture during the Hellenistic Period.

Therefore, the discovery of the statue in Stratonikeia is significant for archaeologists because it demonstrates Philiskos’ artistic presence in the ancient city during the Hellenistic period.

The statue and pedestal were found during excavations inside the frigidarium of the Roman bath in Stratonikeia. However, the head and arms of the sculpture were notably absent from the findings.

Previously, a replica of this revered statue was discovered in the Roman baths of the ancient city of Perge, as well as another in Rhodes, demonstrating its widespread replication during the Roman period.

The statue will be exhibited at the Muğla Museum after the work to be done.

A rare 2500-year-old saw, the first of its kind, discovered in Anatolia

A rare 2500-year-old saw, the first of its kind, discovered in Anatolia

A rare 2500-year-old saw, the first of its kind, discovered in Anatolia

Archaeologists conducting excavations in Çorum, the capital of the Ancient Hittite Empire in northern Turkey, discovered a 2,250-year-old saw.

Recent archaeological work in the ancient city led by Andreas Schachner from the German Archaeological Institute has added new findings to this rich collection.

Hattusha was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It was the ancient capital city of the Hittite Empire, a major power in the Near East during the late Bronze Age (approximately 1600-1180 BCE).

Since 1906, excavations in Hattusha, in the Boğazkale district, have unearthed countless ancient artifacts, including a tablet with mystery language cues.

Hattusa functions as an outdoor museum and is notable for its urban planning, the kinds of buildings that have been preserved (temples, royal palaces, fortifications), the elaborate decoration of the Lions’ Gate and the Royal Gate, and the group of rock art at Yazilikaya.

Professor Andreas Schachner, who leads the excavations, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the iron of the saw was thicker than contemporary saws, but otherwise, it is very similar to the ones used today.

“This shows us that humans do not simply modify working tools,” he said.

The ancient tool is about 20 centimeters long and was unearthed on the northwestern slope of the large castle area of ​​the ancient city.

Professor Schachner noted that the discovery is a rare one and marks the first of its kind in Anatolia in the 3rd century B.C.

“This saw was found in a building from the Galatian period in the excavation area.

The use of this building corresponds to approximately 2,250 years ago. Normally, finding a saw from this period is a very interesting thing. We did some research.

There are not many examples. We were able to identify a few examples from the later Roman periods. Still, a saw from the 3rd century BC has not yet been seen, at least in Anatolia,” Professor Dr. Andreas Schachner said.

“As far as we can tell from the holes on both sides of the saw, we think that it had a semicircular handle. Thus, the carpenter of the period may have used the saw by holding it from the wood and moving it.” Professor Dr. Schachner explained.

Hattusha also has also held UNESCO’s title of “Memory of the World” since 2001 with its cuneiform scripts representing the oldest known form of Indo-European languages.

A well-preserved lion mosaic discovered in the Ancient City of Prusias ad Hypium

A well-preserved lion mosaic discovered in the Ancient City of Prusias ad Hypium

A well-preserved lion mosaic discovered in the Ancient City of Prusias ad Hypium

Archaeologists found a lion mosaic during excavations carried out in the Ancient City of Prusias ad Hypium.

Excavations have been ongoing in the ancient city of Prusias ad Hypium, which is located in the Konuralp district of Düzce and is called the Ephesus of the western Black Sea.

The excavation team working in the area above the theater of the ancient city found the lion mosaic in a structure connected to the portico.

Experts believe that the newly discovered mosaic-tiled room represents a late Roman cult site (a space signifying the overall lifestyle of a society or group, encompassing specific values, beliefs, traditions, arts, and other cultural elements).

It was determined that the interior walls of the new find, whose wall dimensions are approximately 4.51×6.42 meters, were covered with marble plates on a thick layer of mortar and that the room had a rectangular plan in the north-south direction.

The mosaic was found in the area marked in red.

A platform foundation was also observed towards the north of the room. It was determined that the entire room was covered with a mosaic floor of finely crafted white, blue, yellow, green, and brown tesserae (small mosaic stones of various colors).

The mosaic, adorned with geometric patterns, features a border made of larger and more colorful tesserae arranged in a frame-like structure. In the center, within a smaller square frame made of smaller tesserae, a scene is depicted.

Experts state that the artifacts found in this room, with depictions of drums and flutes, indicate that it is a “Dionysus Cult Place”.

Düzce Governor Selçuk Aslan stated on his social media account, “During the ongoing excavations at Düzce Konuralp (Prusias ad Hypium) Ancient City, a well-preserved, rare mosaic depicting two lions looking at a pine tree with drums and a pan flute depicted on the tree branches,” he said.

Prusias ad Hypium, an ancient city located in the Konuralp District of Düzce was established on a hill that ran from east to west and ended in a plain.

In the 2nd century BC, the Bithynians, led by their king Prusias I, captured Kieros from the Mariandyns and Herekleia State. Prusias I improved the city and decorated it with many monuments. He also fortified it and changed its name to Prusias.

The city’s ancient theater, known locally as the Forty Steps, was built during the Hellenistic Age (300-30 BC) and includes additions from the Roman Period (30 BC-300 AD).