March 2020 in Turkish archaeology

For well-known reasons, March 2020 was a slow month in many ways, as the world almost stopped. The archaeological activities were also very limited in the past month, with the most impressive discovery announced by Italian archaeologist Vittoria Dall'Armellina, who discovered that a mislabeled sword in the Venetian Saint Lazarus Monastery is actually 5,000 years old. The chemical composition of the sword matches that of other specimens found in the Royal Palace of Arslantepe, an archaeological site in Eastern Anatolia, and the sword found in the Tokat Museum in Turkey, originating in the Sivas region. Their shapes are also remarkably similar.

The nine swords from the archaeological site of Arslantepe (Melid) attest the use of this weapon for the first time in the world – at least a millennium before the already known examples. They date back to the Early Bronze Age (c. 33rd to 31st centuries). A cache of nine swords and daggers was found in the 1980s by Marcella Frangipane's team of Rome University. They are composed of arsenic-copper alloy. Among them, three swords were beautifully inlaid with silver. These weapons have a total length of 45 to 60 cm which suggests their description as either short swords or long daggers. Some of these swords are now on display at the Archaeological Museum in Malatya.

Swords from Aslantepe in Archaeological Museum in Malatya
Swords from Aslantepe in Archaeological Museum in Malatya

Eastern Fortifications of Troy VI

Eastern Fortifications of Troy VI, possibly of the Homeric city, include the long stretch of walls of ashlar masonry, the ingeniously designed gate, and the magnificent Eastern Tower. The walls were erected around 1700 BCE while the tower was added in the later period, possibly in the 13th century.

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

Eastern Fortifications of Troy VI
Eastern Fortifications of Troy VI

Eternal Stone of Troy

Just beyond the Pithos Garden, also on the right side of the main sightseeing path, there is a small square. Its main attraction is a monumental stone block, called the Eternal Stone of Troy. It is a symbolic monument brought to Troy in 2002, funded by a private sponsor. It commemorates the most important people from the past who contributed to the development of the ancient Troy and its modern-era excavations. After this point, you will start the walk around the hill where the layers of Troy settlement have been unearthed.

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

Eternal Stone of Troy
Eternal Stone of Troy

Pithos Garden of Troy

A pithos is a thick-walled, bulbous storage jar made of clay, sometimes higher than a standing person. Pithoi were widely used in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East regions, mainly for the storage and transportation of goods, but sometimes also as coffins. These storage containers were typically found half-buried in the floors of pantries and warehouses, where olive oil, water, honey, salt, and cereals were kept. The pithoi guaranteed the best conditions for these foodstuffs, keeping them cool and protected against rodents. They could also be sealed and stamped to mark their owners. If used for transportation, they were equipped with large handles in the upper part, through which the ropes were pulled. The pithoi shown in the exhibition were found at Troy, for instance in Megaron VI.

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

Pithos Garden of Troy
Pithos Garden of Troy

The complex riddle of a road forever closed

Those of you who follow my articles, or have purchased my book, shall be acutely aware of my desire to once more open the Sacred Road at its conclusion at the Temple of Apollo in Didyma. It is a forlorn sight to be witness to countless foreign visitors peering through the metal railings, or over the stone wall, which impedes their imaginations. Some travel from the other side of the globe to see the ancient treasures of Turkey, but their efforts to experience this particularly interesting site is sadly and mysteriously out of bounds. It rather posits the question, “Why? For what earthly reason?”

Text by Glenn Maffia

Sacred Road in Didyma
Sacred Road in Didyma

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