March 2020 in Turkish archaeology

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

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.

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

March 6, 2020

Mosaics protected by roof in ancient city

A roof has been constructed to protect the 1,600-year-old Byzantine-era mosaics in the ancient city of Stratonikeia in the western province of Muğla’s Yatağan district while the work is underway to make a glass terrace. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 7, 2020

Digs unearth riches of Istanbul's 'Land of the Blind'

Archeological excavations around a train station in Istanbul have unearthed a wealth of historical ruins, including tombs, artifacts, and a bath, all hinting of the rich past of the ancient city of Khalkedon (Kadıköy), also called "the Land of the Blind." Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 8, 2020

Conservation focus in Göbeklitepe, archaeologists say

Efforts at the ancient site of Göbeklitepe, known as the world's oldest temple, now must focus on conservation rather expanding excavation, said Turkish and German archeologists working at the 12,000-year-old dig site in southeastern Turkey. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 9, 2020

Portrait at Antalya Museum belongs to Sappho

A portrait sculpture which has been in the Antalya Museum since 1972 belongs to Sappho, known as the first and most important female poet of the ancient period, according to Havva İşkan Işık, a professor of archaeology at Akdeniz University in the southern province of Antalya. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 10, 2020

Historic buildings near Galata Tower face danger of collapse

Two historic towers near Istanbul’s landmark Galata Tower, which has an important place in the unique silhouette of the city, face the danger of collapse. The six-hundred-year-old towers, which have been heavily damaged from the groundwork to the top, are in a very weak state, according to experts. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 12, 2020

Student discovers 5,000-year-old sword hidden in Venetian monastery

The ancient sword was thought to be medieval in origin and maybe a few hundred years old at most — but studies have shown that it dates back about 5,000 years, to what is now eastern Turkey, where swords are thought to have been invented, in the early Bronze Age. Source: Live Science

March 16, 2020

Remains of Ottoman soldiers unearthed after 108 years

A mass grave belonging to soldiers who died while serving in the 86th Regiment of the Ottoman Army in what is today a suburban district of Istanbul during the Balkan War has been unearthed. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Historical objects found in house planned to be demolished in Turkey’s east

Three large vase-like structures have been found in a house which was planned to be demolished after sustaining several damages in an earthquake in the eastern province of Elazığ earlier this year. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient Stratonikeia to have stone hospital

A new building is under construction for destroyed stones that have been unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Stratonikeia. The new building will serve as a “stone hospital,” which was previously a tent. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 17, 2020

Rock-carved Çakırkaya monastery in Black Sea region to open to tourists

Çakırkaya Monastery – carved out of a 65-meter-high (213 feet) rock mass in the 13th century in the Black Sea region's Gümüşhane province – will be brought into the tourism sector under a TL 1 million restoration project. Source: Daily Sabah

Capital of tourism attracts with its inns

The historical inns in the southern province of Antalya, called “the capital of tourism” in terms of the number of tourists it welcomes, attract visitors, too. With the highest number of hotels and 42 percent of a total of 1.2 million bed capacity in the country, Antalya lures tourists from 193 countries. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 18, 2020

Fresco travertine blocks revive southwestern ancient city of Laodicea

In the ancient city of Laodicea, located in Turkey's southwestern Denizli province, 1,750-year-old fresco travertine blocks, buried 7 meters underground by an earthquake in A.D. 494, have been re-erected. Source: Daily Sabah

March 20, 2020

2,000-year-old sundial unearthed in southern Turkey's Denizli

A 2,000-year-old ancient sundial was unearthed in Turkey's Aegean city of Denizli on Friday. The Hellenistic-era marble sundial was found in one piece in the ancient city of Laodikeia, some 600 kilometers (373 miles) to the south of Istanbul. Source: Daily Sabah

March 23, 2020

Front of historical Istanbul mosque to be filled

Works have commenced for the remaining part of the Üsküdar Square Expansion Project, which was stopped three years ago when cracks occurred on the walls of the Şemsi Ahmet Paşa Mosque in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district, built in 1580 by the prominent Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

March 25, 2020

Centuries-old Genoese Castle in northwest Turkey to hosts visitors in August

The Genoese Castle is scheduled to open to visitors in August in northwestern Düzce province's Akçakoca district. While restoration work on the castle is still ongoing, other projects such as the rescue excavation and landscaping are expected to end soon. Source: Daily Sabah

March 27, 2020

Italian archeologist follows hunch to find that medieval sword actually dates back 5000 years

Italian archaeologist Vittoria Dall’Armellina, who specializes in Bronze Age weaponry, discovered that a mislabeled sword in the Venetian Saint Lazarus Monastery is actually 5,000 years old. Source: Daily Sabah