Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "anatolia"


The earliest use of copper in the Near East comes from the Sumerians who manufactured spears, arrowheads and tools such as chisels from the metal as early as 6000 years ago. They also used copper in works of art.

Copper is a metal used for thousands of years and is relatively abundant in such mountainous areas as the Lake Van district in eastern Anatolia, the mountains of Lebanon and the Red Sea hills of the eastern desert of Egypt. Its use is traced back to approximately 5000 BC, when mankind began to shape it into weapons and other items. In fact copper gave its name to the Chalcolithic era, the period of time between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, with bronze being an alloy of copper. Read more.

The ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya will finally open to visitors by the end of summer following excavations that have revealed a façade, according to a written statement made by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Thirty-nine workers, seven archaeologists and three restoration experts are working in Perge, which was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia and the capital of Pamphylia. Archaeological work in the ancient city has been continuing for 65 years, and many columns along the city’s streets have been successfully restored during this process.

The Perge excavations are the longest-running in Turkey. Over 65 years, archaeologists have unearthed 20 to 25 percent of the ancient city. Read more.

During excavation in the ancient city of Magnesia, located in the Ortaklar district of Germencik in the Aegean province of Aydın, the best preserved stadium in Anatolia has been unearthed. Excavations and restoration works have continued for 28 years under the leadership of the head of the Ankara University Archaeology Department Professor Orhan Bingöl. 

“It took 35 days to clean the semicircular ‘Sphendona’ part [of the stadium], which was 70-meters underground the stadium,” Bingöl said. 

He said that the ancient city of Magnesia, which lies within the borders of the village Tekinköy continued for an additional three months this season thanks to the increase in financial support provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Read more.

The Indo-European languages belong to one of the widest spread language families of the world. For the last two millenia, many of these languages have been written, and their history is relatively clear. But controversy remains about the time and place of the origins of the family. A large international team, including MPI researcher Michael Dunn, reports the results of an innovative Bayesian phylogeographic analysis of Indo-European linguistic and spatial data.

Their paper appears this week in Science.

The majority view in historical linguistics is that the homeland of Indo-European is located in the Pontic steppes (present day Ukraine) around 6,000 years ago. The evidence for this comes from linguistic paleontology: in particular, certain words to do with the technology of wheeled vehicles are arguably present across all the branches of the Indo-European family; and archaeology tells us that wheeled vehicles arose no earlier than this date. The minority view links the origins of Indo-European with the spread of farming from Anatolia 8,000 to 9,500 years ago. Read more.

ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 10 - Numerous archaeological excavations are underway at a huge site in Anatolia which will uncover an ancient and rich yet forgotten kingdom known as Tuwana from the darkness of history, which will be featured in an open-air museum. The news was reported by Lorenzo d’Alfonso, an Italian archaeologist leading the joint mission by the University of Pavia and NYU, who provided details on the excavation campaign in a press conference in Istanbul this month, during which the details of the Italian archaeological missions in Turkey were explained.

This “new discovery” from the pre-classical age which “needs to be continued” in southern Cappadocia took place in Kinik Hoyuk, the scholar said, referring to a site mainly involving the beginning of the first millennium BC. The area is “fully” part of the “forgotten kingdom” of Tuwana, said d’Alfonso, known until now through hieroglyphics and from several sources from the Assyrian Empire, but “never studied archaeologically”: “A completely intact site that has been left untouched”, trying to “place it historically to understand which civilisation it belonged to and what it’s role was in the region”. Read more.

V&A holds carved head removed from sarcophagus by Britain’s consul-general in 1882

Turkey is demanding the return of an ancient marble head, now languishing in the stores of a London museum, which was taken from Anatolia more than a century ago.

The Turkish culture ministry has asked the Victoria and Albert Museum to return a 1,700-year-old life-sized marble carving of a child’s head, described as bearing a likeness to Eros, the Greek god of love.

Tolga Tuyluoglu, the director of Turkey’s culture and tourism office in London, said: “The Turkish ministry of culture thinks this item belongs to Turkey. We believe if an item has been removed from a country then it should be returned to the original place.”

In 1882, the archaeologist Sir Charles Wilson, then Britain’s consul-general in Anatolia, removed the head from the Sidamara Sarcophagus, a huge tomb dating from the third century, which he had excavated. Read more.

ISTANBUL — After years of pleading in vain for the return of Anatolia’s cultural treasures from Western museums, Turkey has started playing hardball. And it is starting to see some results.

This month, Germany reluctantly agreed to return a Hittite statue taken to Berlin by German archaeologists a century ago. “It was agreed that the statue will be handed over to Turkey as a voluntary gesture of friendship,” the German government said after weeks of negotiations between the countries’ foreign ministries.

Days later, Ankara announced it was stepping up a campaign to obtain a breakthrough in a similarly longstanding dispute with the Louvre in Paris over an Ottoman tile panel that went to France in 1895.

The 16th-century ceramic, one of the finest surviving examples of Iznik ceramic art, once decorated the tomb of the Ottoman Sultan Selim II on the grounds of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. While the Louvre continues to maintain that the panel was acquired legally and is not eligible for restitution, Turkey says it was removed from the tomb by a French collector who replaced it with a fake and sold the original to the Louvre. Read more.

Two skeletons dating back 8,500 years, making them the oldest ever found in what is now Turkey, have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Istanbul’s Yenikapı area.

“Such remains have not been discovered during the excavation before; these are the oldest graves in Anatolia,” said Dr. Yasemin Yılmaz, an expert on anthropology and prehistory, who expressed excitement about the find.

According to Yılmaz, the use of wooden blocks – preserved to this day – to cover the coffins makes them distinctive from other finds. Read more.