Still recovering from the disastrous earthquakes, Turkey is now preparing for the possible disasters of this kind to hit the country in the future. Towards this goal, it was reported that the restoration and strengthening works against possible earthquake risk in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, which have been going on for about three years, mostly came to an end in April 2023. Moreover, nearly 400 small artefacts from the Hatay Archaeology Museum, some of which got damaged during the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes in February, were sent to the Kırşehir Museum for protection against aftershocks.
On a brighter note, the past month saw the return of the artefacts smuggled over the years from the country. For instance, the Met Museum returned looted antiquities while the Antalya Archaeology Museum opened an exhibition displaying a special section of 12 smuggled historical artefacts the U.S. returned to Turkey. Moreover, efforts are underway to return the head of the life-size bronze statue of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus from Denmark. The body of the statue has already been returned from the U.S. Finally, Italy returned to Turkish authorities a funerary stele, dating from the 2nd century CE and carrying a loving inscription to the dead woman’s spouse, after investigation determined that it was illegally excavated in Zeugma in southeastern Turkey.
Text by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia.
Native archaeologists appear to possess a particular predilection in rebuilding ancient sites. Probably at the behest of transient politicians whose belligerent insistence in procuring touristic revenues are in stark contrast to historical enquiry.
Contrary to perceived opinion, regularly espoused, I have absolutely no qualms about visitors arriving in this historically wealthy land, the crossroads of a multitude of civilisations.
In March 2023, the news concerning archaeological activities in the area of Turkey was dominated, unsurprisingly, by the stories related to the February earthquakes that shook the south-east of the country. However, several important discoveries were also reported, including the new rock paintings from the prehistoric era found on Mount Latmos. Moreover, the Belgian archaeologists digging at the site of the ancient city of Sagalassos unearthed a most unusual burial. The burial was sealed with two dozen bricks and an additional layer of plaster. Topping everything off, around three dozen bent nails were sprinkled around the edges of the tomb, possibly as magic talismans meant to keep the deceased person trapped inside.
Almost precisely one month has passed since the deadly series of earthquakes hit southeastern Turkey and north-western Syria. As we are writing, more than 52,000 deaths have been confirmed, including around 46,000 in Turkey alone. The terrible events that affected some 14 million people were accompanied by widespread destruction in the area. Below we will look at the effects of this earthquake on Turkey's historical heritage, including buildings and archaeological sites such as Arslantepe, Antakya Archaeological Museum, and Gaziantep Castle.
In February 2023, all other news from Turkey was overshadowed by the tragic earthquakes that shook southern and central parts of the country, as well as northern and western Syria. As we write, more than 51 thousand deaths have been confirmed, including more than 44 thousand people who perished in Turkey. The terrible loss of life, and the devastation that affected around 14 million people, was accompanied by widespread damage in the area. Below, you will find the links to many articles dealing with the damage to Turkey's historical heritage, including the historical sites and buildings, and archaeological sites, such as Arslantepe, Hatay Archaeology Museum, and Gaziantep Castle.