August 2020 in Turkish archaeology

Mosaic of the enrollment for taxation before Governor Quirinius in the former Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora
Mosaic of the enrollment for taxation before Governor Quirinius in the former Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora

August of 2020 brought the conversion of yet another museum (and previously a historical Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora) into a mosque in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul. The archaeological excavations revealed a Byzantine granary in the ancient city of Amorium and a statue in Perge, believed to have belonged to a female benefactor from one of the aristocratic families of this ancient city. Moreover, the excavation teams reached the inner walls of a memorial tomb of the ancient Greek didactic poet Aratus in Soli (Pompeiopolis) and a Roman bathhouse and gymnasium in Smyrna.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for August 2020. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

August 1, 2020

Culverts scanned in 3D in Hagia Sophia

The underground culverts of Hagia Sophia, which have been ventilating and keeping it alive, have been scanned in 3D for the first time since its construction. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 3, 2020

Byzantine granary found in ancient city of Amorium in central Turkey

A granary containing 11 pithoi, which are large storage containers, filled with wheat and dating back to the ninth-century Byzantine period, was found during excavations in the ancient city of Amorium in the Emirdağ district of the central province of Afyonkarahisar. Source: Daily Sabah

August 4, 2020

2-millennia-old lavatory in Turkey’s Denizli to undergo restoration

Archaeologists excavating ruins at the ancient city of Tripolis, located in the present-day Turkish province of Denizli’s Buldan district, unearthed the ancient lavatory earlier this year. Now they are working to reopen the 40-person capacity lavatory to the public as a tourist attraction. "This is a site built to prevent pandemics," associate professor Bahadır Duman, who heads the team of archaeologists, said. Source: Daily Sabah

August 5, 2020

Turkey to reopen 2200-year-old theater of Laodicea

An ancient theater in southwestern Turkey will reopen when restoration work is completed in the 2,200-year-old site next year. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 7, 2020

1,700-year-old statue ‘may be philanthropist’

An ancient statue, found a couple weeks ago during excavations in the ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya, is believed to have belonged to a female benefactor from one of the aristocratic families of the ancient city. The 1,700-year-old woman statue, whose head is broken by the neck, reflects the features of the Perge Sculpture School with its plain dress, wavy hair, the veil on her head, eyebrows, eyebrows, lips and chin. The statue built in third century A.D. will be presented to the visitors in Antalya Museum after the cleaning and assembly works. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 10, 2020

Archaeologist buried in ancient city she excavated

Turkish academic and archaeologist Vuslat Müller-Karpe has been buried in the 3,800-year-old Hittite city of Kayalıpınar, where she conducted excavations for years, after she died on Aug. 7. Karpe, who was the head of an excavation team during the excavations that started in 2005 in Kayalıpınar, located in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas’ Yıldızeli district, died of a heart attack in Germany. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

4th-century church unearthed in Turkey's ancient city of Tyana

Archaeologists are hard at work on the excavations in the ancient city of Tyana, located in the Kemerhisar district of Turkey’s central Niğde province. During recent work at the site, an octagonal church and rare coins thought to date back to the fourth century were unearthed. Source: Daily Sabah

August 11, 2020

65 million-year-old plant fossils discovered in Turkey’s south

Two plant fossils were found on 3,000-year-old rocks, one of which is thought to be 65 million years old in Beydağları in the Mediterranean province of Antalya and the other shows the formation of cliffs in the area where world-famous Düden Waterfall falls in the same region. Geologist Erdal Koşun from Antalya University stated that both plant fossils were found during geological field studies conducted to obtain information about the formation process and history of the world. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient bathhouse, gymnasium unearthed in İzmir

Archeologists have unearthed a Roman bathhouse and gymnasium, as part of excavations in Turkey's western province of İzmir. The excavations were carried out by researchers from the İzmir Katip Çelebi University in the ancient Smyrna city's İkiçeşmelik area. Experts found the remains of a building from the 2nd century, which was used for physical, social and cultural activities. The structure is believed to be from the era of Roman Emperor Hadrian. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 12, 2020

Archaeologists reach inner walls in site of ancient Greek poet’s tomb in Turkey’s south

Excavation teams have reached the inner walls of a memorial tomb of the ancient Greek didactic poet Aratus in the Mediterranean province of Mersin’s Mezitli district. The archaeologists, led by academic Remzi Yağcı from Dokuz Eylül University, have been carrying out excavations to unearth the memorial tomb of the Hellenic-era astronomer and poet in what was then called Soli. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Excavation underway around Anatolia's first Turkish mosque

Excavation and restoration work at Ebu'l Manuçehr, the first Turkish mosque in Anatolia, has entered its second month. The mosque, located at the Ani Ruins in eastern Turkey's Kars, will be opened to worshippers once the restoration is complete. Source: Daily Sabah

August 13, 2020

Emperor Neron’s lighthouse to shine on Turkish shores centuries later

The restoration of Patara Neron Lighthouse, which was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Neron in AD 54 as a “prestige project” in the ancient city of Patara, began on Aug. 11. “The removal of tower blocks for Patara Lighthouse has started. These blocks, which will carry the heaviest load, will go to the stone hospital established on the site for conservation,” said Professor Havva İşkan Işık, the head of the project, announcing the first step for the excavation. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 14, 2020

Remains of Phrygian to be searched in Kütahya Castle

Archaeological excavations that have been initiated in the Kütahya Castle, one of the leading castles in Turkey in the western province of Kütahya, will be searched to find traces of the Phrygians. The rescue excavation initiated by the Kütahya Museum Directorate under the sponsorship of the Kütahya Municipality and the Special Provincial Administration in the lower castle section near Paşam Sultan neighborhood is being carried out under the direction of the museum director Serdar Ünan. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Search underway for site of Battle of Manzikert in Turkey

It is a battle that paved the way for centuries of Turkish rule in Turkey, but its exact location has remained a mystery so far. A group of researchers with the help of modern technology aim to find where exactly the Battle of Manzikert or Malazgirt was fought 949 years ago. Source: Daily Sabah

August 15, 2020

1800-year-old Zerzevan Castle entrance found

Archaeologists have unearthed the 1800-year-old entrance of the Castle of Zerzevan, situated in the Çınar district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Archaeologists in Kayseri dig out turtle, teeth fossils

Fossils of a turtle and three teeth, thought to be of the ancestor of elephants (Proboscidea), believed to be some 7-8 million years old, have been found in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 16, 2020

Excavations at Kütahya’s Seyitömer mound shed light on history of region

One of Turkey's largest-ever rescue excavation projects, carried out at the Seyitömer mound in western Kütahya province, has cast light on the history of the region. Source: Daily Sabah

August 17, 2020

Historical Şehzade Korkut Mosque in Antalya to regain former glory

The Şehzade Korkut Mosque, located in the historic city center of the southern resort city of Antalya, is nearing its long-awaited reopening as restoration work is almost complete. Having been rendered unusable by a devastating fire, the mosque was closed in 1896. The Antalya Regional Directorate of Foundations initiated the restoration project for the mosque three years ago. Thanks to the comprehensive restoration, the mosque is regaining its former charm. Source: Daily Sabah

August 18, 2020

German archaeologist’s belongings at a museum

The belongings of late German archaeologist Friedric Karl Dörner, who is an important figure due to the excavations that he carried out around Mount Nemrut in the eastern province of Adıyaman, have been collected at a museum. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 19, 2020

Centuries-old cistern found in ancient city

A cistern, believed to be 700 years old, has been found in the ancient city of Beçin in the Milas district of the western province of Muğla. The ancient city is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 20, 2020

Colosseum-like structure unearthed in western Turkey

A structure similar to Rome’s Colosseum, regarded as the best example of Roman architecture in the world, has been unearthed in the 2,700-year-old Mastaura ancient city in the Aegean province of Aydın’s Nazilli district. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

2,500-year-old pottery shows close ties between ancient Israel and Turkey

A group of Israeli and German archaeologists have recently shed new light on the following chapter of the history of the area and its commercial development: in the 5th century BCE trade routes in Eastern Mediterranean experienced a revival as did Greek style pottery. In a paper recently published in the journal Levant said there was one difference: the popular band-painted bowls, plates, jugs and table amphorae all came from a specific location, Kelenderis in Cilicia (modern Turkey). Source: Jerusalem Post/i>

August 21, 2020

Turkey converts Kariye Museum into mosque

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 21 ordered another ancient Orthodox church that became a mosque and then a popular Istanbul museum to be turned back into a place of Muslim worship. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient cuneiform tablet found in Turkey’s Hatay

A 3,400-year-old tablet has been found in archaeological excavations carried out in Aççana Mound, the old city of Alalah in the Reyhanlı district of the southeastern province of Hatay. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

‘Glass Wreck’ reveals traces of East-West maritime trade in southwestern Turkey

The Serçe Port shipwreck, on display at the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology in southwestern Muğla province, offers a glimpse into the popular 11th-century trade route between the Middle East and Europe. Popularly called the "Glass Wreck," the exhibit hosts hundreds of items reflecting the ship’s historical and archaeological importance. Source: Daily Sabah

August 23, 2020

Visitors rush to Kibyra to see Medusa

A 2,000-year-old “snake-haired, sharp-toothed female monster” figure, the Medusa mosaic, which adorns the orchestra section of the 3,600-seat Odeon in the ancient city of Kibyra in the Gölhisar district of the southern province of Burdur, attracts the attention of visitors. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 24, 2020

Archaeologists unearth Viking neighborhood in Istanbul

Archaeologists looking for traces of the Vikings in Istanbul have discovered a Viking neighborhood in the ancient city of Bathonea near Lake Küçükçekmece, officials told daily Milliyet. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 25, 2020

8,500-year-old human skeleton discovered in Turkey’s Bilecik

Archaeologists in northwestern Turkey’s Bilecik on Tuesday discovered a human skeleton that dates back to an estimated 8,500 years. The skeleton was found in the yard of an apartment building. The site, likely one of the first spots of human settlements in western Anatolia, was first discovered after a resident reported some ceramic fragments found there to the Archaeology Museum. Excavation works began last year. Source: Daily Sabah

Visitors flock to see Carian Princess' tomb, golden artifacts at newly renovated Bodrum Castle

The tomb and golden jewels of the Bronze Age "Carian Princess," discovered during excavation work on the site of an ancient necropolis in the Bodrum district of Muğla, have attracted a throng of visitors following the completion of restoration work on the hall of Bodrum Castle. Source: Daily Sabah

Two-millennium-old statue of Heracles saved from overturning

A 2,060-year-old statue of Heracles, located on the West terrace of Mount Nemrut, which leaned forward due to earthquakes and snow piles, has been saved from overturning with the help of silk ropes in a two-day mission. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 26, 2020

Roman-era dam found in central Turkey

A 110-meter-long and 10-meter-high dam, built during the Roman Empire era 2,000 years ago, has been found in Bozdağ National Park, located in the Karatay district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

5,000-year-old paint palette unearthed in northwest Turkey

A 5,000-year-old paint palette believed to be used for painting dishes was unearthed during excavation works at the Küllüoba settlement mound located in Eskişehir province's Seyitgazi district. Source: Daily Sabah

August 27, 2020

Excavation starts in ancient city unconquered by Alexander the Great

Archaeologists have started excavation works in the 3,000-year-old ancient city of Sillyon, located in the Serik district of the southern province of Antalya, known for its strong resistance that Alexander the Great could not conquer. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ottoman sultan’s portrait arrives in Istanbul

A 540-year-old portrait of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, known as Mehmed the Conqueror, purchased by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, arrived in Istanbul from London on the night of Aug. 20. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 28, 2020

First concert held in ancient city to commemorate 2020 as ‘Patara Year’

The first concert was launched at the Ancient Patara City in the southern province of Antalya after the announcement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that 2020 is the “Patara Year.” Source: Hürriyet Daily News

August 29, 2020

Textile tools dating back 8,600 years found in Denizli

Bone needles and round stones used for spinning thread dating back some 8,600 years were found in an excavation site in Ekşi Höyük, one of the oldest settlements in western Anatolia, located in the present-day Denizli province. Source: Hürriyet Daily News