An inscription dating back to the sixth or seventh century that was stolen from Istanbul’s Yoros Castle has been found buried in a barn in the city’s Anatolian-side district of Beykoz.
Acting on a tip, the Istanbul Police Department searched a house in Beykoz’s Tokat village. During an excavation in a barn directly next to the house, police officers found the castle’s inscription and subsequently informed the Istanbul Archaeology Museums Directorate.
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.
Treasure hunters have plundered two historic Byzantine sites in Istanbul, apparently due to the lack of preventative measures to protect them.
Two historic sites, the caves of İnceğiz and the İnceğiz necropolis of Maltepe, which were declared first-degree archeological sites in 1994 by the Istanbul Board of Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets, have since been plundered by treasure hunters. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has so far been ineffective in protecting the sites from grave robbers.
As Today’s Zaman reported citing the Akşam daily, the Çatalca Culture and Tourism Association is in possession of photos showing holes in the ground around the İnceğiz necropolis as a result of illegal excavations, as well as photographs of treasure hunters caught red-handed, excavating grave sites. Read more.
ISTANBUL — For 1,600 years, this city — Turkey’s largest — has been built and destroyed, erected and erased, as layer upon layer of life has thrived on its seven hills.
Today, Istanbul is a city of 13 million, spread far beyond those hills. And on a long-farmed peninsula jutting into Lake Kucukcekmece, 13 miles west of the city center, archaeologists have made an extraordinary find.
The find is Bathonea, a substantial harbor town dating from the second century B.C. Discovered in 2007 after a drought lowered the lake’s water table, it has been yielding a trove of relics from the fourth to the sixth centuries A.D., a period that parallels Istanbul’s founding and its rise as Constantinople, a seat of power for three successive empires — the Eastern Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Read more.
Under the elegant, soaring arches of Istanbul’s newly restored, 16th century Süleymaniye Mosque, dozens of security cameras keep an eye on visitors’ every move. Vigilant security guards patrol indoors and out. Turkey, police say, is becoming the epicenter of an international market for stolen Islamic art, and Turkish mosques and museums alike are on high alert.
That means the responsibilities of the imam at Süleymaniye Mosque, widely considered the city’s most magnificent, now include not only looking after the people’s faith, but, increasingly, the valuable contents of the mosque itself.
“We are more comfortable with the presence of the security guards. We feel this place is secure,” said Imam Ayhan Mansiz. “Thank God, we didn’t experience any theft. Our mosque is safe. The restoration has just been completed and everything is listed and categorized, and the most valuable items are now in museums.” Read more.
Researchers from the Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul and the Laboratoire de Tribologie et de Dynamiques des Systèmes have analyzed the oldest obsidian bracelet ever identified, discovered in the 1990s at the site of Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey. Using high-tech methods developed by LTDS to study the bracelet’s surface and its micro-topographic features, the researchers have revealed the astounding technical expertise of craftsmen in the eighth millennium BC. Their skills were highly sophisticated for this period in late prehistory, and on a par with today’s polishing techniques. This work is published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science, and sheds new light on Neolithic societies, which remain highly mysterious.
Dated to 7500 BC, the obsidian bracelet studied by the researchers is unique. It is the earliest evidence of obsidian working, which only reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia BC with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels. Read more.
Ancient mosaic tiles were returned to the Hagia Sophia Museum 55 years after employees there gave them to an American tourist, the Radical daily reported on Wednesday.
Eliza B. Chrystie was given the historic mosaic pieces by employees at the Hagia Sophia in 1956 during a visit to Turkey with her husband, a soldier, who had a meeting to attend in Ankara. The couple visited İstanbul, where they went to see the Hagia Sophia, which was under restoration at the time. The employees gave Chrystie five mosaic tiles made of stone and six tiles made from gold-leaf-plated glass, Radikal reported, which she put in her bag and stored in her home for years.
But, according to the Radikal report, she started feeling very remorseful and suffered from nightmares for years.
She returned to İstanbul with her sister in September to deliver the mosaic tiles and stones to their rightful owner. Not daring to return them herself to Hagia Sophia officials, she instead gave them to a jeweler while shopping in Sultanahmet Square. Read more.
In the course of the ongoing archeological excavations at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site, the world’s best preserved shipwreck, a merchant vessel whose contents and wooden parts are in exceptionally good condition, was revealed. The archaeologists believe that the ship is from the fourth or fifth century and that it sank in a storm. Surprisingly, most of the amphorae on the ship are in perfect condition.
The archeological excavation started in 2004 at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site and reaches 8,500 years into the history of İstanbul. Skeletons, chapel remains, water wells and footprints, in addition to 35 shipwrecks, have been uncovered by archeologists so far.
A 15 to 16-meter-long, six-meter-wide shipwreck loaded with dozens of amphorae found last May brings new historical data to life. The amphorae are shaped and colored differently than previously found examples. It is assumed that the ship was completely buried in mud and that this oxygen-free atmosphere protected the vessel and its contents from breaking down or being damaged. The ship was loaded with pickled fry, while almonds, walnuts, hazels, muskmelon seeds, olives, peaches and pine cones found on the shipwreck were also in good condition. Read more.