Category Archives: TURKEY

Graves of Ottoman Soldiers Unearthed Near Istanbul

Remains of Ottoman soldiers unearthed after 108 years

The corpses of 30 Ottoman soldiers are discovered in Istanbul’s neighborhood. Rahmi Asal of the Istanbul Archeology Museums Department said the men had served in the Balkan War’s 86th Ottoman Army Battalion.

A mass grave belonging to soldiers who died while serving in the Ottoman Army’s 86th Regiment in what is today an Istanbul suburban district during the Balkan War has been unearthed.

Thirty soldiers ‘ graves were discovered in Çatalca during excavations carried out prior to the “Martyrdom Museum” project proposed by the Istanbul Archeology Museums Directorate.

The names of five of the Ottoman seals on the soldiers who were buried with their clothes were identified.

Museum director Rahmi Asal said dead soldiers were hidden in their belts with spoons and pouches. The remaining items from the soldiers were classified by the museum directorate.

These findings include officer seals with many uniform buttons and belts, belt buckles, one compass, many tobacco layers and cigarette holders, bayonets, many mirrors, and two rings.

Some names were also reached from the seals that came out of five of the soldiers determined to be the officers of the 86th Regiment from their collar numbers.

Mehmet Nuri, Necmettin and Osman Binveli, three of the dead soldiers, are believed to have been officers in their division.

The two killed soldiers buried a little away from others were Daniel and Avedis, non-Muslim Ottoman officers who fought against Bulgarian soldiers.

In the Balkan War in 1912, the Ottoman state entered the war against the revolting states of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro.

As the invaders advanced to Çatalca, soldiers from all over the country started fighting to stop them. The soldiers who set out from the southern province of Antalya’s Alanya district also walked on the roads for days and joined the troops on the front.

Alaiye (Alanya) Reserved Battalion, consisting of Alanians from the 86th Regiment, repelled the enemy and began to rest by deploying in positions around Dağyenice village.

Bulgarian soldiers infiltrating the positions attacked the Alaiye Battalion and slaughtered 657 Ottoman soldiers overnight. After this painful incident that occurred on the night of November 17, 1912, this hill started to be known as “Alaiye Martyrdom.”

Archaeologists in Turkey Discover a Mysterious Ancient Kingdom Lost in History

Archaeologists in Turkey Discover a Mysterious Ancient Kingdom Lost in History

In Southern Turkey Last Winter, a local farmer stumbled over a large stone half submerged in a canal of irrigation with mysterious inscriptions.

A local farmer discovered this stone half-submerged in an irrigation canal in Turkey. Inscriptions on the stone, dating back to the 8th century B.C. told the story of an ancient lost civilization in Turkey.

Accordingly to new discoveries, the stone revealed the existence of an ancient, lost civilization that might have defeated King Midas’ kingdom of Phrygia in the late eighth century B.C., according to new findings.

The farmer tipped the nearby archaeologist to the presence of the stone a few months after this discovery.

“Right away it was clear it was ancient, and we recognized the script it was written in: Luwian, the language used in the Bronze and Iron Ages in the area,” James Osborne, an archeologist and assistant professor of Anatolian Archeology at the University of Chicago, said in the statement. With a tractor, the farmer helped the archeologists pull the heavy stone block, or stele, out from the canal. 

The stele was covered in hieroglyphs written in Luwian, one of the older Indo-European languages, according to the statement. The written language, made up of hieroglyphic symbols native to ancient Turkey, is read in alternating sequences from right to left and left to right.

The newly discovered city likely had its capital located at Turkmen-Karahoyuk, an archeological mound in southern Turkey (shown here).

“We had no idea about this kingdom,” Osborne said. “In a flash, we had profound new information on the Iron Age Middle East.” The stone tells the story of an ancient kingdom that defeated Phrygia, which was ruled by King Midas. According to Greek mythology, Midas turned everything he touched into gold. 

A symbol on the stone indicated that it was a message that came directly from its ruler, King Hartapu. One part of the stone read, “The storm gods delivered the [opposing] kings to his majesty.”

The lost kingdom likely existed between the ninth and seventh centuries B.C. and at its height, it likely covered around 300 acres (120 hectares). Though that sounds tiny compared with modern cities, it was actually one of the largest settlements to exist in ancient Turkey at the time. 

The name of the kingdom is unclear, but its capital city was likely located at what is now the nearby archeological site of Turkmen-Karahoyuk.

The Konya Regional Archaeological Survey Project had identified this settlement as a major archeological site in 2017, and Osborne and his colleagues had been excavating there at the time when the stone was discovered.

This inscription isn’t the first mention of King Hartapu. Just under 10 miles (16 kilometers) south, archeologists previously discovered hieroglyphic inscriptions on a volcano that referred to King Hartapu. That inscription didn’t reveal who he was or what kingdom he ruled, according to the statement.

Ruins of a 3000-year-old Armenian castle found in Lake Van – Turkey

Ruins of a 3000-year-old Armenian castle found in Lake Van – Turkey

The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake. 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.

Divers exploring Lake Van discovered the incredibly well-preserved wall of a castle, thought to have been built by the Urartu civilization. Experts had been studying the body of water for a decade before it revealed the fortress lost deep below its surface.

The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake. Divers exploring Lake Van discovered the incredibly well-preserved wall of a castle, thought to have been built by the Urartu civilization
Underwater Fairy Chimneys in Van lake.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers, including Tahsin Ceylan, an underwater photographer and videographer, diver Cumali Birol, and Mustafa Akkuş, an academic from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University. 

Legends among the area’s population spoke of ancient ruins hidden in the water, and the Van team decided to investigate. Over the course of ten years, they captured images of pearl mullets, microbialites, corals and even a sunken Russian ship, but their prize remained elusive.

Their search has now paid off, uncovering castle stonework that has been protected from the ravages of time by the lake’s highly alkaline waters. It is thought the stone structure was built by the Urartians, as the rocks used were favoured by civilization. 

The castle, as well as a number of villages and settlements in the area, were built at a time when water levels were much lower than they are today.

Speaking to Hurriyet Daily News, Mr. Ceylan said: ‘Many civilizations and people had settled around Lake Van.

‘They named the lake the “upper sea” and believed it hid many mysterious things.

‘With this belief in mind, we are working to reveal the lake’s secrets.

‘It is a miracle to find this castle underwater.’

The Kingdom of Urartu was an ancient country in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea.  Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran.

Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century BC, Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the Middle East in the 9th and 8th centuries BC.

The Urartians were succeeded in the area in the 6th century BC by the Armenians. Urartu is an Assyrian name and the people called Urartians called their country Biainili. Their capital Tushpa was located at what is now known as Lake Van.

Most remains of Urartian settlements are found between four lakes: Çildir and Van in Turkey, Urmia in Iran, and Sevan in Armenia, with a sparser extension westward to the Euphrates River.

Map of historic Armenian with Lake Van at its center.

Set of 5000-year-old board game pieces discovered in Turkey

Set of 5000-year-old board game pieces discovered in Turkey

Within the scope of Ilısu Dam rescue excavations, the missing pieces of a historical play set, which was found in 2012 in the southeastern province of Siirt’s Başur Mound, have been unearthed.

Rescue excavations have been completed in Başur Mound, which is shown as one of the most important archaeological works of the last 10 years by Artnews, a visual arts magazine published in the U.S.

Missing pieces of the ancient game set found

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the head of excavations and Ege University Faculty of Letters Department of Archeology lecturer, Haluk Sağlamtimur, said that the excavations started in 2007 within the scope of Ilısu Dam and the hydroelectric plant (HES) project reached important data on Mesopotamian history.

Stating that during the excavations in 2012, they found play set pieces that were thought to have been played in a cemetery 5,000 years ago and they identified it as the world’s oldest figurative game set, Sağlamtimur said that they were delighted to find the missing stones of the game in recent excavations.

“A few parts of the game were missing, we unearthed them in the recent excavations, and we completed the set.

This game set is very important, it is the earliest game set that can be dated in a wide region covering Mesopotamia and Anatolia.

These are dated between 3,100 and 2,900 B.C. This is probably a grave gift. This game set does not seem to be played too much; there is no wear on it. It is important in this respect. We found the missing figures in the last excavations and we are really happy,” he said.

Stating that the game set was defined as “the ancestor of chess” and similar games were also found in Egypt, Sağlamtimur explained, “Unfortunately, we could not find the board of this game set.

It was probably inside the grave, but it decayed. If we found its board, we could understand how to play it. Games like this continue, they have similar ones in even in Egypt.

The game set consists of colored stones, something must be related to the color in the game.

The two main animal figures that gave the game its name are pigs and dogs. So, we named this game as ‘pigs and dogs’ because the games that were found later were named as such.

When we consider the shapes and numbers of the stones, we estimate that the game is based on number four. For now, these are the earliest game stones in the world in figurative terms and are exhibited at the Batman Museum. Anyone can see this game set.”

Ege University rector Necdet Budak also stated that these finds are very important for the history of archeology and congratulated Sağlamtimur and his team for their successful work.