Category Archives: TURKEY

Three-room Urartian tomb with liquid offering area (libation) found in eastern Turkey

Three-room Urartian tomb with liquid offering area (libation) found in eastern Turkey

Three-room Urartian tomb with liquid offering area (libation) found in eastern Turkey

A three-room Urartian tomb with a rock-cut libation (liquid offering area) to offer gifts to the gods was unearthed in the Erciş district of Van, in eastern Turkey.

In order to identify the historical structures in the Madavank region, which is registered as an Immovable Cultural Heritage in the Çelebibağ District, research was conducted in the area by Van Museum Director Fatih Arap and Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ) Faculty of Letters Archeology Department Head Prof Dr Rafet Çavuşoğlu.

During this study, it was determined that there was an Urartian tomb with 3 rooms in the area close to the area where the Urartian worship area emerged as a result of the withdrawal of Lake Van.

Prof Dr Rafet Çavuşoğlu said that important structures belonging to the Urartian period were identified in the region.

Researchers told AA that there are two small burial chambers to the right and left of the main chamber.

The chamber tomb dug into the calcareous rock, reflects the Urartians’ classical characteristics. According to researchers, treasure hunters caused minor damage to the tomb.

Emphasizing that the tomb is an important remnant in terms of Urartian architecture, Çavuşoğlu said, “The three-room chamber tomb is entered through an oval arched door. Then there is a small chamber on the left and right.

It is not a well-known practice, but a channel for liquid libation was opened just above the entrance. “It is a chamber tomb we have seen for the first time. The important thing for us is that the tomb consists of 3 rooms, two rectangular openings above the entrance, and liquid libation were made here,” he said.

A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity or spirit, or in memory of the dead. The libation could be poured onto something of religious significance, such as an altar, or into the earth.

3 mummified skeletons were found in Iznik, western Turkey

3 mummified skeletons were found in Iznik, western Turkey

3 mummified skeletons were found in Iznik, western Turkey

Archaeologists discovered mummified skeletons dating from the 2nd century A.D. within two sarcophagi at the Hisardere Necropolis in Bursa’s Iznik district.

The excavation is being conducted out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the direction of Aygün Ekin Meriç, an academic at Dokuz Eylül University’s Archeology Department in western Izmir province.

Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Letters, Archeology Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. Aygün Ekin Meriç told reporters the necropolis was extensively used during the second and third centuries, and that they have found six sarcophagi in total in the region to date with the addition of the two recent findings.

Unique chamber tombs dating back to the third century were also discovered, he said, noting how spectacular the two newly discovered sarcophagi are.

“Along with the sarcophagi, there are chamber tombs, especially from the 3rd century, unique to Iznik, unmatched anywhere else, with painted interiors and decorated with ornaments.

At the same time, these two latest sarcophagi are very ostentatious.

The sarcophagi were made during the Roman Imperial Period, in the 2nd century. The two came out side by side. Very showy sarcophagi decorated with Eros reliefs on three sides,” he said.

Meriç stated that sarcophagi were unearthed in the illegal excavations carried out in the region since 1989 and that the area was expropriated in 2018 and scientific excavations began in 2019.

Meriç also added that they are excavating a holy basilica built in the cemetery area.

A view from two sarcophagi found in Hisardere Necropolis, Iznik, Bursa, northwestern Turkey.

Pointing out that they also found a small inscription on the mosaic in the basilica, Meriç said, “A woman’s name is mentioned.

The basilica was built in honor of the woman. No name, only the feminine epithet preserved. Excavation of the apse part of the basilica has not been completed.

We will more or less reveal the plan of the basilica in the next period of excavations,” used the phrases.

Meriç said that the basilica is 30 meters wide and 50 meters long, and they think that it was built in a plan similar to the basilica in Lake Iznik from the course of the walls.

Iznik Archaeology Museum reveals 2,500-year-old love letter

Iznik Archaeology Museum reveals 2,500-year-old love letter

Iznik Archaeology Museum reveals 2,500-year-old love letter

Iznik is an ancient habitation that hosts various civilizations due to its fertile lands, trade routes, and many other reasons.

Ancient Nicaea, now called İznik, is a farming town surrounded by massive medieval walls set on the shore of a broad lake 39 miles (63 km) southeast of Yalova. Two Christian ecumenical councils were held here, the 1st in 325, and the 7th in 787. 

The seventh council took place at the Hagia Sophia Church, which is located in the heart of the city.

The historical city of Iznik, which has been the capital of four civilizations and a contender for UNESCO’s preservation list, is getting ready to open its Iznik Archaeology Museum and host special exhibitions of priceless antiquities.

The museum has attracted the attention of many local and foreign tourists with its artifacts spanning a 5,000-year-old history. In particular, an ancient message engraved on the sarcophagus of Antigonus I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, has aroused particular interest around the world.

The emotional 2,500-year-old message, translated by expert archaeologists, reveals the grief over Antigonos I’s death.

“I, the sad Arete, cry out with all body and soul from the tomb of Antigonos. I pull my hair out from grief and I express myself by crying. This ill luck, the death, has captured me instead of emancipating this precious man,” the engraving reads.

Iznik Archaeology Museum.

Unsurpassed museum

The foundation of the Iznik Archaeology Museum was laid in 2020. With the completion of the construction, the museum’s inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place shortly and surely will be one of the prominent museums of Europe with its rich data and ancient artifacts dating back to the Neolithic Age.

Speaking to Ihlas News Agency (IHA), former museum director and archaeologist Taylan Sevil said: “The new museum contains quite significant movable cultural assets.

There are artifacts of many civilizations from prehistoric times to the present. In that sense, the museum fills a huge gap here. It invites people to witness world civilization.”

The museum also has a marble board game from the Roman era, a sarcophagus of the Greek hero Achilles with spectacular engravings, and sarcophagi of Antigonos I and noble families with dazzling engravings.

Roman-Era Sarcophagus Uncovered in Istanbul

Roman-Era Sarcophagus Uncovered in Istanbul

Roman-Era Sarcophagus Uncovered in Istanbul

A sarcophagus determined to belong to the Roman era has been unearthed during the excavation works of an apartment demolished within the scope of the urban transformation project in Istanbul.

The sarcophagus came to light during the foundation excavation of the demolished building in the Büyükçekmece district.

It was determined that there were bones belonging to the human body, and the tomb was made of carved stone.

Two archaeologists and an anthropologist from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Directorate conducted an examination of the construction site where the sarcophagus was uncovered.

As a result of the three-hour examination, the human bones found in the tomb were taken out.

The expert team also determined that the tomb is nearly 2,000 years old, dating to the Roman period.

After the completion of the examinations, the sarcophagus was lifted with a crane and taken to the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Directorate.

Since Istanbul’s foundation, the city has developed under the domination of several civilizations and has been the center of various cultures.

Three of the most powerful empires in history, Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman, declared the city as their capital.

As a result, numerous temples, buildings, churches, palaces and baths from several cultures have been located in the city.

After the conquest of the city by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, the city became the new capital of the empire. On the other hand, freedom of religion and social rights were granted to the former residents.

With the religious buildings of former residents, Turkish Art left its marks on the city, and domes and minarets dominated the city skyline.

Byzantine Woman’s Remains Found at a Castle in Turkey

Byzantine Woman’s Remains Found at a Castle in Turkey

Archaeological excavations in the historical Kadıkalesi Castle in the western province of Aydın have unearthed the skeleton of a woman, which is believed to date back to the 13th century.

The excavation team said that the female skeleton found in a tomb in the church section is believed to belong to the wife of a bureaucrat or someone who donated to the church.

The female skeleton was found under the water channel stones that were removed during the excavations in the monumental church in the ancient city of Kadıkalesi (Anaia), which was used as a settlement from the prehistoric period to the Ottoman Empire in the Kuşadası district.

Anthropologists think that the woman was buried in the 13th century and she was buried in the church because she made a large amount of donation to the church or because she was the wife of a bureaucrat.

In the examinations, it was determined that the woman was 34-38 years old and 1.63 meters tall.

Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Umut Tuncer, who made examinations in the area, said, “The things that turn a cultural structure into a tourist attraction are the findings there. Kadıkalesi is a very rich destination in this sense. It is full of findings that reveal new mysteries that excite us.

During the studies carried out last month, a tomb dating back to 1,300 A.D. was discovered.

The female skeleton, which we estimate to be approximately 1.63 meters tall, was found in the tomb.”

Art historian Umut Kardaşlar from the excavation team said, “We thought it might actually be a water channel. When we opened it, we realized that it was a burial of a woman.

In fact, it is not very common to put a woman’s burial inside churches. Probably, this woman must have been a woman who donated a significant amount to the church, or she must have been the wife of a bureaucrat.”

World’s Oldest Settlement Plan Found in “Çatalhöyük”

World’s Oldest Settlement Plan Found in “Çatalhöyük”

World’s Oldest Settlement Plan Found in “Çatalhöyük”

With the beginning of the Holocene period, many lakes have dried up and have become suitable for settlement. It is one of the lake floors in the Konya Plain that dried up in the Holocene period. There have many mounds in this area.

One of the most important of these mounds is Çatalhöyük, which is undoubtedly located within the borders of Çumra province.

It probably owes its name to the fork-like shape of the two hills. Although there are two mounds, east and west, excavations continue in the west mound. Its inhabitants moved to the western mound when the river changed direction in the early chalcolithic period.

Çatalhöyük was discovered in 1958 by James Mellaart. Since 1993, excavations have been continued by Ian Hodder, a student of Mellaart, and if nowadays excavations are carried out by Assoc. Dr. Çiler Çilingiroğlu continues.

Eastern mound, BC. Eighteen layers of Neolithic settlements dating from 7400 to 6200 have been found. Layers 12 and 8 are dated to the first phase of the Early Neolithic (6500 – 6000 BC). After 6 layers it belongs to the second phase of early Neolithic.

The Chalcolithic Age layers in the western mound are dated between 6200 and 5200 BC.

Çatalhöyük

On the north and east walls of the building, a map that is thought to be the city plan of Çatalhöyük was unearthed during the 1963 excavations. This drawing, which is dated to 8200 years ago (age 6200 ± 97 BC as determined by radiocarbon dating method) is the first known map of the world.

Approximately 3 meters long and 90 cm. has a height. It is still exhibited in Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum.

Çatalhöyük has its own characteristics. Conservation of art, symbolism, social structure, living of too many people, bull cult, the burial of people, skulls, ancestral cult and house shapes, an egalitarian lifestyle is seen.

Interestingly, although they know of pottery making, they did not show intensive use of up to 5 layers. This is just a preference of those who live there. Probably because they had developed in woodworking, they did not want to change their traditional structure.

The residences they use are intertwined. Since no traces of war and destruction were visible, this might mean that intimacy involves an intense bond of kinship relations.

Houses were entered through roofs. Probably these roofs were used for socializing on hot days. It is thought that many jobs required for the home are here. These flat-roofed houses are now found in the South East.

Bull cult is widely seen in this mound.

The pictures made on the walls in the settlement, where the understanding of art is very developed, is remarkable. The depictions on the walls of the housing are hunting and dance scenes, human and animal paintings.

Animal pictures are animals such as vulture, leopard, various birds, deer, and lions. In addition, there are also motifs that can be called rug motifs dating back to 8800 years ago and are associated with today’s Anatolian rug motifs.

Bull horns and heads should be important to those living here. Many houses have reliefs made by plastering real bull heads with clay on the walls. The figurine finds are cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, bulls, dogs and single cattle horns.

There are Neolithic settlements older than Çatalhöyük in the Middle East. For example, Eriha is a Neolithic settlement a thousand years older than Çatalhöyük. Still, Çatalhöyük has different characteristics from older or contemporary settlements. One of the main differences is its population, which reaches ten thousand people.

According to Hodder, Çatalhöyük is “a center that carries the concept of village beyond logical dimensions”.

It was decided by UNESCO to be included in the World Heritage List in 2012.

SOURCE: Çatalhöyük Research Project, Çatalhöyük 2008 Report

YAZAR, M., 2008 “Anadolu’da Neolitik Dönem Sanatı ve Merkezleri”, Gazi Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Tarih Anabilim Dalı, Eskiçağ Tarihi Bilim Dalı Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Ankara

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were discovered in the ancient city of Troy

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were discovered in the ancient city of Troy

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were found in the ancient city of Troy, located in the Tevfikiye district of Çanakkale province, located in the northwestern part of Turkey.

Professor Rüstem Aslan, the head of the excavation, who unearthed the 5,500-year-old remains of the city, said it was the first time they had come across the remains of such a large domed oven during excavations this year.

The discovered domed oven bears traces of Anatolian culture. Troy’s connection with Anatolia was partly established by the findings of the German archaeologist Manfred Osman Korfmann, who led the excavations from 1988 to the early 2000s.

“The description that Korfmann made during his excavations that ‘Troy is Anatolia,’ was a major focus of the next 20 years of digging. Troy is an Anatolian culture,” said Professor Rüstem Aslan.

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were discovered in the ancient city of Troy
The area of the domed oven in Troy, Çanakkale, northwestern Türkiye.

Aslan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that further excavations would be conducted to uncover the architectural dimensions of Troy, emphasizing that it was “shaped by the Anatolian culture in and after the Bronze Age.”

The oldest domed ovens so far found in Troy date back to 2000 B.C., about 300 years earlier than Aslan and his team’s latest discovery.

Aslan said architectural developments in Troy, where archeological excavations have been going on for 150 years, pointed to changes in the city’s culinary tradition during the period identified with Anatolian culture.

Troy was the first site where prehistoric period excavations were conducted and turned into a science. Troia and its environs were designated a National Historical Park by the Turkish government on September 30, 1996, and were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998. Between the years 3.000 BC and 500 AD, the ancient city of Troy was continuously inhabited due to its strategic geographic location.

The area of the domed oven in Troy, Çanakkale, northwestern Türkiye.

Kerpiç (sun-dried bricks) was used during the construction of the walls of houses in the settlements. Therefore after a long chain of settlements, an artificial hill was composed containing the different layers of the city.

After the excavations were carried out 10 different city layers and more than 50 building phases were identified.

These cities in short: Troia I – III (Littoral Troia Culture): This name was especially given due to the distribution of settlements in the Mediterranean region. This period starts nearly 3000 BC and ends in 2500 BC. Troia IV – V: Anatolian Characterized Troia Culture: It begins in 2100 BC and continues until the 1700’s BC. Troia VI-VII (From 1700 BC to 1100 BC) was defined as High Troia Troia Culture by archaeologists.

After a gap of several centuries, the settlement of Greeks in Troy VIII continued from 700’s BC to approximately 85 BC. In Troia IX, there was a Roman settlement from 85 BC to 500’s AC.

In Troy X the Byzantine settlement which started in the 12th century continued to the 13th century. After this time, due to great political changes in that period, Troia lost its importance in cultural life.

Especially European intellectuals’ growing interest in Troia after the 17th century, culminated with Heinrich Schliemann and this importance has continued to the present day.

After 1,300 years, water to again flow from monumental fountain in the City of Gladiators in Turkey

After 1,300 years, water to again flow from monumental fountain in the City of Gladiators in Turkey

After 1,300 years, water to again flow from monumental fountain in the City of Gladiators in Turkey

The approximately 2,000-year-old monumental fountain in the ancient city of Kibyra in Golhisar, Burdur in southwestern Turkey will start flowing with fresh water again thanks to the restoration project of the ancient city.

After four months of dedicated restoration work by a Turkish excavation team, the fountain in the ancient city of Kibyra will come back to life.

The restoration of the fountain with two pools, including over 150 original architectural fragments found among the ruins on the third terrace of the city and 24 imitation blocks produced from the original type of stone, was completed with contributions from the Burdur Governorship with an expert team of 17 people, including archaeologists, restorers, and architects.

Visitors to Kibyra, known on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List as the “city of Gladiators,” can reach the fountain by walking along a stone-step path that has already been restored.

Sukru Ozudogru, an archaeologist at Mehmet Akif Ersoy University and head of the ancient city’s dig team, told Anadolu Agency that Turkey boasts two large ancient monumental fountains that have been restored, and both of them are in Burdur.

The colossal fountain which was built in 23 BC, with a diameter of 15 meters (50 feet) and towers 8 meters high (over 26.2 feet), was used in Kibyra for some 600-700 years, he said.

Explaining that fresh drinkable water will again flow from the fountain through the work they have done, Ozudogru said Kibyra will be the second ancient city in Turkey after Sagalassos to have a fountain with water flowing through it.

“We want to bring water from the ancient spring this May and restore the fountain to its original function,” he emphasized.

“Just like in ancient times, water will flow into the pool from the mouths of the lion and panther statues in the lion’s hide where the mythological hero Hercules laid down, and the panther’s hide where the god of wine Dionysus lay down,” he added.

The ancient city of Kibyra, in the Gölhisar district of Burdur, once was one of the most important cities in Lydian and Roman civilization. Located at an altitude of 1100-1300 meters with juniper and cedar forests covering it, the 2300-year-old city can be seen from all parts because it’s on hilltops that offer a view over its surroundings.

Strabo, an Amasian traveler, recorded that the inhabitants of Kibyra were originally Lydians who moved to the Kabalis region. Soon they changed their settlement areas and established a city with a circumference of 100 stadiums.

The archaeological monuments and resources of this city were excavated in 2006, revealing a militaristic character with over 30 thousand infantry and more than 2,000 cavalry units. This is the place with the largest gladiator reliefs from ancient times in Turkey.

The strategic location of the city made it a regional center for justice, and its fame as a horse breeding town in ancient times has led to it being called simply “The City of Fast-Running Horses”. The city was at its most prosperous during the Roman period, and all of the architectural remains that can be seen today date from that time.