Category Archives: TURKEY

Archaeologists find child’s skeleton in Turkey’s Tozkoparan Mound

Archaeologists find child’s skeleton in Turkey’s Tozkoparan Mound

A child’s skeleton discovered during continuing archaeological excavations at Tozkoparan Mound, a first-degree archaeological site in the Pertek district of Tunceli’s eastern region, has been kept in the city’s newly opened museum.

Archaeologists find child's skeleton in Turkey's Tozkoparan Mound
An archaeologist inspects the remains of a skeleton during excavations at the Tozkoparan Mound site in Tunceli, Turkey, Aug. 11, 2021.

The excavation has been initiated because the mound, which is located in Tozkoparan village of the district and considered to have traces of thousands of years of history, remained in the village settlement area and has been damaged by the houses built on it.

Academics from various universities are working at the excavations, carried out under the leadership of the Tunceli Museum.

The remains of a skeleton are marked during excavations at the Tozkoparan Mound site in Tunceli, Turkey, Aug. 11, 2021.

A team of about 15 people, consisting of anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians and intern students, take part in the excavations. For the first time since 1968, scientific methods are now used in the excavations.

While working in the field, the team has recently discovered a skeleton, thought to belong to a child. The skeleton pieces, which were removed from their place with the help of a brush and spatula, were taken under protection at Tunceli Museum.

In addition to terracotta potteries obsidians, bones, stone tools and arrowheads were also found during the excavations. Artefacts that shed light on history will be exhibited in the museum.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Düzce University Archeology Department academic Yasemin Yılmaz said that they have been conducting surveys in Tunceli for about six years and have identified all archaeological periods in the city starting from the Lower Paleolithic period.

Stating that they completed the survey this year, Yılmaz said that they carry out excavations in Tozkoparan Mound with a delegation under the supervision of academics from universities in Tunceli, Düzce, Erzurum and Diyarbakır.

Yılmaz noted that they carry out work in the areas where the mound was destroyed.

“Here we are working to determine the boundaries of the archaeological sites. Archaeological remains began to be found just below the surface soil.

On the third day of the excavation, a human skeleton was unearthed. It belongs to an individual who appears to be a child. It was lying in an oval-shaped pit, excavated in the north and south directions. This skeleton is very important because it belongs to the ancient society and provides direct information about that period,” Yılmaz said.

Yılmaz stated that there have been interdisciplinary studies on skeletons recently, adding, “We can determine the age of the skeletons and their nutritional system. If the diseases they suffered left traces on the bones, we can determine them. We cannot obtain much data with a single sample, but it is a pleasing finding to begin with.”

Yılmaz stated that they have completed the archaeological chronology of the city during their surveys, and added, “As of this year, we completed our surveys because we have achieved all our goals. Tunceli is located on the transit route of many civilizations. Our findings also confirmed this. We started to prepare our findings for publication.”

Yılmaz stated that with the publication of their scientific articles, the city will attract the attention of history and archaeology enthusiasts.

The head of the excavations and Tunceli museum director, Kenan Öncel, also emphasized that with the opening of the museum in the city, archaeological work gained momentum.

In this context, Öncel stated that they started the first salvage excavations in Tozkoparan Mound.

“We plan to work in the field for about one more month. Our aim is to determine the extent and boundaries of the mound. Tunceli Museum is currently the newest museum in Turkey. Our artefacts found in this rescue excavation will enrich the collection of the Tunceli Museum and will also contribute to understanding the cultural background of the city,” he said.

5700-year-old child skeleton unearthed in the Turkish city of Malatya

5700-year-old child skeleton unearthed in the Turkish city of Malatya

A 5,700-year-old skeleton of a noble-born child has been found buried in the ruins of a Copper Age Turkish house. Anthropologists believe the bones belonged to a six-year-old who most likely died of trauma in the fourth millennium BC. 

The skeleton was found in the foetal position and the skull has been smashed, although it’s not immediately clear whether this happened before or after death. 

The remains were found in what is believed to be an ancient house during an excavation of the Arslantepe Mound outside Malatya, eastern Turkey.

With its prime position near the west bank of the Euphrates River, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasted a thriving population through the Roman and Byzantine periods owing to its wetlands and agricultural resources.

Yet now it is flocked to by archaeologists who comb through the ruins hoping to learn more about Arslantepe’s rich history.

Anthropologists believe the bones belonged to a six-year-old who most likely died of trauma in the 4th millennium BC

Dr Marcelle Frangipane, of the University of Rome who led the dig, said the bones would be sent for analysis but early estimates suggested the child was very young and died of shock.

She said: ‘We found beads on the arms and neck of the child, which we have not seen before. These beads indicate that the child belonged to a noble family.’ 

Hailing the skeleton an ‘important find’, she added: ‘The delegation stated that the child is six or seven years old, but they need to work on it further. 

‘The child may have died as a result of trauma. Such results will be determined as a result of the analysis. 

‘This is a very important find. As a result of the analysis of the skeleton, we will reach more detailed information.’ 

The remains were found in what is believed to be an ancient house during an excavation of the Arslantepe Mound outside Malatya, eastern Turkey

Dr Frangipane also said that they are waiting for the results of the examination to discover the gender, genetic structure, age and cause of death of the child as well as the diet of the era. 

The position of the skeleton suggests the child was frightened and had curled itself into the foetal position, wrapping its arms around its body. 

Remarkably, the position which this infant died in has been almost perfectly preserved in the ground, although its skull has been caved in.

Over the past 50 years, since serious excavations of the Arslantepe Mound began, archaeologists are slowly unearthing what they believe to be a fourth millennium BC palace.

Interconnected mud-brick architecture sprawling over 2,000 square metres is suggestive of the first ‘public palace’, according to UNESCO.

The organisation says this ancient structure was ‘composed by two temples, a storeroom complex, administrative areas with thousands of clay-ceilings bearing the impressions of more than 220 beautiful seals, entertainment halls, a monumental gate, corridors and courtyards.

Turkish Archaeologists Find Byzantine Castle at Akyaka, Western Turkey

Turkish Archaeologists Find Byzantine Castle at Akyaka, Western Turkey

Excavation work was launched in Akyaka in the Ula district of southwestern Muğla province nearly a year ago to bring to light the historical sites of the town. Efforts to reveal the history of the town have been continuing without any interruption, and the archaeologists are now unearthing the medieval castle walls.

Akyaka is a popular destination that can be visited in any season. It is known for its authentic architecture and relaxing nature from the forests to the sea.

Whereas one is immediately overwhelmed by the town’s unique charm due to the spellbinding architecture, the tranquillity of it leaves people speechless.

Akyaka was welcomed into the Cittaslow International network in 2011. Cittaslow is an organization founded in Italy whose goals include improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, especially in a city’s use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through it.

Akyaka is a perfect place for those in search of complete peace while enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean. It offers a fascinating experience away from all hustle and bustle.

However, the town also bears historical and cultural mysteries and richness beneath its land as it houses a small settlement of the Idyma ancient city.

With the excavations that started last year, medieval castle walls and rock tombs from earlier periods have been discovered in the town, which is considered to date back approximately 2,700 years. Cleaning and restoration works are being carried out in these areas.

Turkish Archaeologists Find Byzantine Castle at Akyaka, Western Turkey
An aerial view from the medieval castle walls in Akyaka, Muğla, southwestern Turkey
Part of the Byzantine castle was found at the hillside Akyaka site in western Turkey.
Another view of the Byzantine castle walls found at the Akyaka site, which was once known as Idyma, an important Greek city-state that was first founded by the mysterious Carian culture.

Head of the excavation and Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Archeology Department Lecturer Associate Professor Abdulkadir Baran told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the excavations in the region have been continuing for about 10 months without interruption.

Explaining that Akyaka is one of the important settlements of the Caria region in western Anatolia, Baran said, “We are currently excavating places where there are traces of the Hellenistic period, possibly related to the port. One of the most important areas we excavated and revived in the city is the medieval castle.”

A Lycian rock tomb in Akyaka, not far from the Byzantine castle dig site.
The Lycian rock-cut tombs at Dalyan Kaunos, which is located 32 miles (60 kilometres) southeast of Akyaka. Both ancient cities were built by the same cultures, and both were active during the Byzantine period.

They determined during the excavations that the castle was also used in the Ottoman and Seljuk periods. Baran pointed out that in addition to the excavations, archaeological research and scientific studies continue in the city.

“As our work progresses, our knowledge of the Carian culture, one of the ancient cultures of this region, will be fully completed. We are trying to connect the Akyaka and Ula districts to each other as a cultural route. We are working to gradually make these areas visible,” he said.

Baran stated that they also carried out work on mosaics found in previous years and added that their work will continue in the churches in the later period.

Rock-Cut Chambers Unearthed in Turkey’s House of the Muses

Rock-Cut Chambers Unearthed in Turkey’s House of the Muses

Rock-Cut Chambers Unearthed in Turkey’s House of the Muses

Within the scope of ongoing excavations in the ancient city of Zeugma, located in the southeastern province of Gaziantep’s Belkıs district, two rock chambers have been unearthed in the area previously discovered and called the “House of Muses” due to the mosaics on its floor.

Professor Kutalmış Görkay, the head of the excavations, said that the rock chambers would be opened to visitors after the completion of the works.

The excavations, which started in 2005, are ongoing in the ancient city of Zeugma, which is located on the Euphrates River in the form of two cities facing each other.

Recently, two rock chambers were brought to light in the House of Muses, which was discovered in 2007.

Görkay stated that the rock chambers were found after the excavation of 16 meters of earth fill in the House of Muses, adding, “We excavated 16 meters of earth fill above the rock chambers that we identified and shifted the work in this direction.

After taking this weight on it, we started excavating inside the rock chambers. Work is still continuing in this chamber, where the earth inside was emptied. We will provide the protection and reinforcement of these chambers. In particular, there are risky cracks on the ceilings in the chamber.

We will complete the excavations in the other rock chamber this year, too. Later, we plan to open these areas to visitors by taking protective measures and ensuring room security with injections or steel structures.”

Pointing out that the rock chambers were used as dining rooms and that the mosaics unearthed from the house carry traces of intellectual life, Görkay said: “Muses are the most important personifications of classical Greek education, especially in antiquity.

In the mosaic found in this house, goddesses and personifications believed to contribute to Greek literature, history, poetry and music are depicted.

We named it the ‘House of Muses’ because of this mosaic. When we found the Muses mosaic in 2007, we decided to continue our work. The house shows us traces of the intellectual life of its owner at that time.”

Stating that the ancient city of Zeugma was one of the most important cities in Anatolia, especially on the Eastern Roman border, Görkay said that the excavations in the House of Muses, which have been ongoing since 2007, provided important information about the private lives, personal preferences and identities of the inhabitants of Zeugma.

“When we look at the places and the general structure of the house, we think that Zeugma belonged to a family having better than the middle-class economy.

These houses may have one or two courtyards. Courtyards are areas where air and water enter, where rainwater is collected and used as water collection basins. In these wet areas, we see more water-related scenes.

The courtyards of these houses were also used for dinner parties. The courtyards were filled with water, helping the house to stay cool during hot weather.

The two rock chambers found here may also have been used as dining rooms. We are currently working on reinforcement. We aim to open them to visitors as soon as possible,” he said.

Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,500-Year-Old Temple of Aphrodite

Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,500-Year-Old Temple of Aphrodite

During excavations at the Temple of Zeus Lepsynos, one of Anatolia’s best-preserved Roman temples, in the western province of Mula, two 2,500-year-old marble statues and an inscription were discovered.

Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,500-Year-Old Temple of Aphrodite

Built with donations in the second century B.C., the temple is located in the ancient city of Euromos.

Abuzer Kızıl, the head of the excavation committee and faculty member at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University’s Archeology Department, told the state-run Anadolu Agency on July 11 that they were currently carrying out works in the temple, agora, theatre, bath and the city walls.

Expressing that Euromos is “one of the luckiest ancient cities in Anatolia” due to its location, Kızıl said that they started to implement important projects related to the Temple of Zeus Lepsynos.

“We took approximately 250 blocks stacked on top of each other on the southern facade of the temple and moved them to the appropriate area to be used in restoration works.

We then started the excavation work, hoping that there were architectural blocks under the ground. While waiting to explore the architectural blocks, we encountered great surprises.

Two statues and an inscription were discovered under the ground. We got very excited. In fact, it excited not only us but also the world of archaeology, as here we have unearthed two very important links of the missing archaic sculpture of the Caria region and an inscription dating to the Hellenistic period,” Kızıl said.

Kızıl added that the sculptures were categorized as kouros, a modern term given to free-standing ancient Greek sculptures.

“One of the two kouros unearthed at Euromos is naked while the other is wearing armour and a short skirt. The armour is made of leather, and it is remarkable to see that both statues have a lion in their hands. Ichnographically, the lion has great significance; we have not been able to find exact copies of either of the statues so far,” Kızıl said.

The naked statue with a lion in his hand indicates that it is most likely to be Apollo.

Kızıl said the inscription from the Hellenistic period was expected to reveal important insights on the Carian history, and efforts to decipher it were ongoing.

Pointing out that temples and artefacts are the common heritage of humanity, Kızıl said their primary goal was to restore the Temple of Zeus Lepsynos to its former glory.

Neolithic Site Discovered in Western Anatolia

Neolithic Site Discovered in Western Anatolia

Hurriyet Daily News reports that 11 sets of human remains dated to some 8,500 years ago have been unearthed in northwestern Turkey by archaeologists who were called to the site when residents found pieces of ancient ceramics in the yard of their apartment building.

The site, likely to be one of the first spots of human settlements in western Anatolia, was first discovered after a Bilecik resident reported some ceramic fragments found there to the Archaeology Museum.

As a result of the field works that started after the discovery and continued for two years, 11 human skeletons, which are estimated to be 8,500 years old, and musical instruments with three holes from the same period were found in the yard of an apartment building.

Archaeologists also found wheat varieties used in making bread and pasta, as well as grains such as lentils, barley and vetch.

Associate Professor Erkan Fidan, the head of the excavation, said that the human skeletons found in the excavation area belonged to the oldest adolescent humans ever in the Neolithic era in western Anatolia.

“We have uncovered the first villages of human communities that came here 9,000 years ago and remained here for nearly 1,000 years,” Fidan said, adding that the people living in the region who know how to do agriculture also domesticated animals.

Fidan noted that they also found skeletons of other humans in the excavation field and that the skeletons would be examined in detail at Hacettepe University’s Anthropology Department Laboratory.

“In the very near future, we aim to learn many things about ages, genders, diseases these people had as well as the kind of food they ate,” he added.

The finds discovered during the excavation will be exhibited at the Bilecik Archaeology Museum after the completion of the restoration process and research works.

Turkey, ancient, archaeology.

1,800-year-old headless Greek statue found at Turkey’s Metropolis site

1,800-year-old headless Greek statue found at Turkey’s Metropolis site

Archaeologists in western Turkey have unearthed a 1,800-year-old marble statue from the ancient ruins of Metropolis, known as ‘City of the Mother Goddess’ during the Roman period.

Earlier this month, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Department announced the discovery of the Roman-era statue, a robed female figure with her head and both arms missing.  

The limbs were probably attached separately, according to Art News, though more work needs to be done to uncover the identity of the figure, researchers say.

The current excavation is a collaboration between the ministry and Celal Bayar University in Manisa, Turkey.

Metropolis (Greek for ‘mother state’) was a name bestowed on various cities, though this one is in Western Turkey’s Torbali municipality, about 25 miles from modern-day Izmir, the country’s third-largest city.

The headless Greek statue.

Humans have occupied the land for at least 8,000 years, since the Neolithic period. 

Artefacts indicate it was inhabited by Hittites during the Bronze Age (when it was known as Puranda) and was also active during the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

It was founded as Metropolis by the Greeks in roughly 300 BC and, despite its matriarchal name, was home to one of only two known temples devoted to Ares, the Greek god of War.

The sculpture dates to Metropolis’ Roman era—when the empire controlled Anatolia, the portion of Turkey located on the Asian continent.

Roman scientist-philosopher Ptolemy described the town as an important trading post in Lydia, about halfway along the ancient trade routes between Smyrna and Ephesus.

Though the figure’s head and arms are missing archaeologists say she is otherwise quite well-preserved

Fieldwork began in the region in the 1970s, with excavations at Metropolis starting in the mid-1980s.  

Since then, archaeologists have uncovered more than 11,000 artefacts, according to Art News, including coins, ceramics, glass, ivory and metal objects.

The city ‘has a deep-rooted history dating back to prehistoric times,’ Celal Bayar University archaeologist Serdar Aybek told the Turkish-language Demirören News Agency in January, according to an English-language report in Arkeonews. 

‘It has the fertility brought by the Küçük Menderes River. It is a region that has always been settled.’ 

Notable finds include a Hellenistic marble seat of honour uncovered in the outdoor theatre, elaborate Roman baths featuring sculptures of Zeus and Thyke, goddess of good fortune, as well as other Roman-era buildings including a sports complex, government building, various shops, galleries and public toilets.

More recently, four massive interlocking cisterns big enough to hold 600 tons of water were uncovered in the city’s acropolis last year.  It’s believed they were used during the Late Roman period and may have been helpful when the city was under siege by invaders.

The Greek theatre at Metropolis restored in 2001. Photo taken 2007.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, when the cisterns were no longer used to provide water, they became a garbage dump, with animal bones, broken ceramics and other detritus of daily life found on the site, according to the Daily Sabah

The Turkish government opened the ‘City of the Mother Goddess’ to tourists in 2014.

Is there an ‘underworld’ under the earth, according to a new archaeological find?

Is there an ‘underworld’ under the earth, according to a new archaeological find?

Excavations at the Yazlkaya Rock Temple in Turkey, which began over 200 years ago, have uncovered an ancient calendar and a map of the cosmos, both of which provide fascinating evidence.

The paintings in the strange stone carvings, which were probably made about 3,200 years ago, include details of an “underworld” sitting beneath the earth.

Watch an explanation from Luwian Studies University that researched the subject:

In the temple, discovered by a French archaeologist and historian Charles Texier as early as 1834, limestone carvings depicting more than 90 different figures, including animals, monsters and gods, have been found.

It took almost 200 years to decipher the paintings, but researchers have determined that the representations are of a cosmos that includes the Earth, the sky and the “underworld” that show the vitality of the creation myth.

On one wall there are drawings of the goddess of the sun and the goddess of the storm, where one can see that gods were placed in the painting higher than the other figures.

In contrast, on the eastern and western walls of the temple one can see the lesser people, the phases of the moon and the seasons, signifying “cycles and rebirth,” according to the researchers.

Is there an 'underworld' under the earth, according to a new archaeological find?
Relief with the twelve gods of the underworld at Yazılıkaya Rock Temple

According to estimates, scholars estimate that in those days there were about 17 deities, each with a line marking between the gods. Also, in one of the rooms of the temple was a painting dedicated to the “underworld,” with testimonies of the god of the sword.

“We believe the temple fully represents a symbolic image of the universe, including its static levels – earth, sky and underworld, as well as the cyclical processes of renewal – day and night or summer and winter,” one researcher explained in an interview in an article published in the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology.