A statue, believed to be the ancient Greek goddess Demeter, has been unearthed at an illegal excavation in Simav, western Turkey. The statue, weighing in at 610kg and standing 2.8 meters tall, was discovered by two Turks, Ramazan C. And Ismail G, 26 and 62 years old respectively, who are alleged to have been conducting illegal excavations in the wider area where the statue was found. The two men were taken into custody by the Turkish police and sent to court.
The head of the statue and the altar, missing during the raid, were later found in a house in the city centre.
In Greek mythology, Demeter, one of Zeus’ sisters, so the story goes, was the goddess of agriculture, nature, abundance and seasons, and mother of Persephone, wife of Hades. (source)
The Adamkayalar (man-rocks), located on the sheer slopes of the Şeytan Deresi Valley in the southern province of Mersin, often take visitors by surprise with their large-scale human reliefs, which are estimated to have been made between the first century B.C. and the second century A.D.
The rocks are made up of 11 males, four females, two children, an ibex and Roman eagle reliefs in nine niches. Ümit Aydınoğlu, an associate professor in the Archaeology Department of Mersin University, said the Adam Kayalar are completely unique in Anatolia.
As the Adam Kayalar region was once considered a sacred area, the reliefs of notables or commanders’ families and children were made on the rocks to show appreciation. Read more.
Pieces of grills, which date back to 2,200 years ago, have been unearthed in the ancient city of Assos in the northwestern province of Çanakkale’s Ayvacık district. The barbecues are made of earth and kiln.
The head of the excavations in the ancient city, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University member Professor Nurettin Aslan said they had found important clues that locals in the area did not fry fish and meat, but grilled them in barbecues, cooking them in a healthier way. Among the findings are earth and kiln barbecues, their tools and cookers, Aslan said, adding, “These are small portable cookers. We see that some of them have the ‘bearded Hermes’ figure.” Read more.
Two amphoras, which were smuggled out of Turkey 64 years ago, have been returned to their homeland.
According to a written statement released by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the two amphoras, which date back to the eighth century and were smuggled to the U.S. at the beginning of the 1950s by William O’Ryan, a U.S. official who had been posted to Turkey, were returned to Turkey by the man’s son, Rick O’Ryan.
Rick O’Ryan, who came to the Washington Culture and Promotion Office, said that he was impressed by Turkey’s recent efforts to repatriate smuggled artifacts and that he wanted to give back the amphoras that his father had brought from Turkey. Read more.
From the Neolithic caves riddling its cliffs to the honey-colored, 15th-century minarets looming over its streets, Hasankeyf, Turkey, is a living museum of epic proportion.
Rare birds soar around the crumbling towers of its Artuqid bridge. Shepherds’ songs have echoed through its canyons for centuries, even as the area transformed from a Byzantine bishopric to an Arab fortress to an outpost in the Ottoman Empire. Almost every major Mesopotamian civilization has occupied this 12,000-year-old settlement site on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey, not far from the border with Syria.
But today’s reigning power, the Turkish Republic, has a unique plan for Hasankeyf: submerging the ancient town beneath 200 feet (60 meters) of water. Read more.
A cache of perfectly preserved Neolithic grain, the largest so far known in the Middle East, has been uncovered by Polish archaeologists working at Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey.
Çatalhöyük is one of the centres of urbanisation of the earliest farming communities and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
”In a small room with an area of approximately 7 square metres we discovered four containers formed from packed clay containing a large quantity of multi-row grains” – explained Prof. Arkadiusz Marciniak from the Institute of Prehistory in Poznan. Read more.
Residents of Sardis, an ancient city in modern-day Turkey, spent decades rebuilding after a devastating earthquake struck one night in the year A.D. 17. To ward off demons and future disasters, some locals may have sealed eggshells under their new floors as lucky charms, archaeologists found.
In the summer of 2013 archaeologists were excavating an ancient building at Sardis that was constructed after the earthquake. Underneath the floor, they found two curious containers that each held small bronze tools, an eggshell and a coin, resting just atop the remains of an earlier elite building that was destroyed during the disaster. Read more.
Two secret tunnels have been discovered under Turkey’s second largest castle, in the northern province of Tokat’s Niksar district. The tunnels date back to the Roman period, and it has been claimed that one of the tunnels was used by a Roman king’s daughters in order to go to the bath in the Çanakçi stream area.
The excavations are being carried out by the municipality in the 6.2 kilometer-wide Niksar Castle, which is Turkey’s second largest castle after Diyarbakır Castle. The tunnels are located in the southern and northern facades of the castle and are approximately 100 meters long.
The earth masses in the tunnels have been removed, but work was subsequently halted as permission for the excavations expired and the number of staff was insufficient. Read more.