Category Archives: TURKEY

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).

Massive Ancient Mosaic Floor Discovered in Turkey

Massive Ancient Mosaic Floor Discovered in Turkey

Archaeological excavations in the Incesu district of the Kayseri province in Central Anatolia, Turkey have turned up the largest floor mosaic in the Cappadocia region. 

Detail of the floor mosaic excavated in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023.

Measuring a whopping 600 square meters or more than 6,400 square feet, the tiled floor was uncovered in the Örenşehir neighborhood, within a villa that is estimated to date back to the 4th century.

The research, ongoing for three years now, has been carried out by the Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University, with the backing of the Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality. 

According to the university’s Can Erpek, who directed the excavation, the villa has roots in the Roman and Byzantine eras and was used long after the Turks arrived in Anatolia.

It encompassed a vast area and about 33 rooms, with “highly valuable” floor mosaics indicating the structure was a “high-level residence.” 

“In the Central Anatolia Region, which includes the Cappadocia region, we do not see such a large residence with floor mosaics,” Erpek said in a statement, adding, “We have not yet fully reached the boundaries of this residence.” 

The excavation site in the Incesu district of Kayseri in Central Anatolia.

In a statement, Şükrü Dursun, Kayseri’s provincial director of culture and tourism, further highlighted findings such as a Latin inscription in an area believed to be a reception hall, Greek engravings, and other geometric mosaics.  

In particular, Erpek pointed out the discovery of the name “Hyacinthos” in the inscriptions, which the archaeologists believe belongs to an administrator and the villa’s one-time resident. 

Kayseri rose from the foundations of an ancient city known as Mazaca, a key stop along trade routes between the Greek colony of Sinope to Euphrates. In the fourth century, the province formed part of the thriving cultural landscape of Anatolia, which prospered under Roman rule.

Kayseri also served as a hub of Christianity during that time, housing a major monastic complex, built by Saint Basil the Great, which has not survived. 

See more images of the mosaic below. 

An aerial view of the excavation site in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023.
Detail of the floor mosaic excavated in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023.
An aerial view of the excavation site in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023
An aerial view of the excavation site in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023.
Massive Ancient Mosaic Floor Discovered in Turkey
Detail of the floor mosaic excavated in the Incesu district of Kayseri, Turkey, on November 10, 2023.

1300-year-old baby footprints found in excavations at the ancient city of Assos in western Turkey

1300-year-old baby footprints found in excavations at the ancient city of Assos in western Turkey

1300 years ago, a baby stepped on baked bricks prepared to make a bread-baking oven. The baby was probably just starting to walk and had only taken two steps when an older one took hold of him.

The footprints of a 1300-year-old baby unearthed during the excavations of the Ancient City of Assos bring this moment to mind.

During the excavations of the Ancient City of Assos, located in the Behramkale Village of the Ayvacık district of Çanakkale, 1650-year-old earthen grills and various types of kitchen utensils were found last month.

Uncovering the 1300-year-old baby’s footprint in the past few days will allow more data to be collected about the city.

1300-year-old baby footprints found in excavations at the ancient city of Assos in western Turkey
A 1300-year-old baby footprint was unearthed in the ancient city of Assos.

Assos excavation head, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Archeology Department Lecturer Prof. Dr. Nurettin Arslan conveyed the following information to the AA correspondent.

“There are embellishments on the terracotta bricks used on the floor of the hearth. But apart from these decorations, there are traces left by a child, who we estimate to be 1-1,5 years old, by taking 2 steps. Besides that, there is a trace of a dog or a cat.”

“We interpreted the find as the toddler’s stepping on the slightly dried bricks while the bricks were being produced, and then being picked up and lifted.”

“The history of this structure dates from the 7th century. So, we see the footprints of a baby on a brick from 1300 years ago. If the child had walked on all of them, it would have caused marks or deterioration on the other bricks. Because his first footprint is very deep.

Afterward, we see that the traces are more superficial as if they were suddenly removed and did not continue. We can see from his steps that he is just a toddler.

Because the steps between 2 feet are 5 centimeters We see him walking with very small steps.”

2,800-year-old ivory ornament unearthed in Hattusa archeological site in Türkiye

2,800-year-old ivory ornament unearthed in Hattusa archeological site in Türkiye

2,800-year-old ivory ornament unearthed in Hattusa archeological site in Türkiye

A 2,800-year-old ivory ornament has been discovered by archaeologists in northern Türkiye at the excavation site of Hattusa, the capital of the Hittites, one of the most ancient Anatolian civilizations

The archaeological excavations in the present-day Bogazkale district of Corum province started in 1906 and have been led by Andreas Schachner on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute since 2006.

In the 117th year of the excavations, a piece of art that can provide insight into Iron Age art was unearthed on the northwest-facing slope of the Great Fortress area of the ancient city.

The piece, nearly 30 centimeters (1 foot) in length and 10 cm in width, features a sphinx, a lion, and two trees of life etched on an ivory surface.

Speaking to Anadolu, excavation chief Schachner said the artifact was found in the Iron Age layer of the Hattusa dig site, which contains traces of many civilizations.

“Most likely, in its own period, it was added as a decoration to a wooden box or a piece of furniture made of wood.

The work is broken on its right and left sides, but the upper and lower sides are intact. So, it can be inferred that it was actually longer,” Schachner said.

“This work is a unique piece for Bogazkoy. For the first time, we are facing a work adorned with such an intense and beautifully crafted scene.

Extensive excavations have been carried out in Bogazkoy for the Iron Age, but a work with such detail has not been encountered before,” he said.

The artifact shines a light on artistic relationships in Bogazkoy in this era, extending towards southeastern Anatolia, as well in the southwestern direction, and Greece, according to Schachner. 

Roman-Era Female Statue Dated Back To 1,800 Years Ago Unearthed In Anemurium, Türkiye

Roman-Era Female Statue Dated Back To 1,800 Years Ago Unearthed In Anemurium, Türkiye

Among many extraordinary finds reported from the archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Anemurium located in the province of Mersin in southern Türkiye, is a Roman-era female statue probably dated back to 1,800 years ago.

Roman-Era Female Statue Dated Back To 1,800 Years Ago Unearthed In Anemurium, Türkiye

This ancient statue is believed to represent an important person according to the archaeology team led by Professor Mehmet Tekocak from one of the Konya Selçuk University, one of the largest universities in Türkiye.

The statue is believed to have collapsed and remained underground due to a strong earthquake that occurred 1,500 years ago in the ancient city of Anemurium.

Describing the statue, the archaeologists say that the dressed female statue from the Roman era has a completely well-preserved intact body.

It is reported that the statue, which is decorated with two different clothes, a chiton at the bottom and a himation on top, represents a goddess, empress or philanthropic woman belonging to an aristocratic or important family who lived there 1,800 years ago.

Both the excavation works and restorations continue on a wide area in the ancient city, located in the southern province of Mersin, throughout the year, and there are new very interesting discoveries in the ruins of Anemurium, the city which had once a strategic position and importance, especially during the Roman Empire and Byzantine Period.

During this period, Anemurium, the main settlement of the Anamur Plain, became a prestigious market and administrative center for the mentioned plain and also a trade center due to its proximity to Cyprus.

Ruins of Opera House in Anemurium.

It took all day long for the teams to remove the statue. Finally, since a crane could not approach the area, the statue was removed, with the help of a small work machine with great care by an expert team from the Antalya Restoration and Conservation Regional Laboratory Directorate, and taken under protection for scientific studies, cleaning, conservation and restoration works.

“The ancient city of Anemurium is located in the Anamur district of Mersin, approximately 10 kilometers away from the city center, where findings are mainly from the 2nd century to the 6th century A.D. It is like a time capsule.

The moment you enter here, you are going back 1,800 years ago. We clearly know that the city existed 2,500 years ago.

It is also said that it goes back to the Hittites, but we have no information about this yet,” Tekocak said.

“This is an area right next to the Harbor Bath. We first started excavations in this structure to determine the characteristics and functions of the spaces of the Harbor Bath.

Later, we started excavations here to understand whether there was a relationship with the bath in this area right next to it, and we came across very interesting ruins and finds,” explained Professor Tekocak, adding that the exact place of this discovery is the lower city with many public building.

Ruins of the ancient city of Anemurium.

“We think that this place may be a ‘nymphaeum,’ that is, a fountain monument in ancient times. And we uncovered a very beautiful female statue decorating this fountain monument,” as cited by Hurriyet Daily News.

For now, the researchers do not know who is depicted in the statue. “Its head, arms, and feet are still missing. We later found one of her arms.

The work continues, and I hope we will find the other missing parts. It may be the portrait of someone, and if so, we will see the silhouette, picture or statue of someone who lived here 1,800 years ago for the first time.”