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.
Turkey is to assist in the restoration of cultural and historical sites offering training to officials from the ministry of culture. It has expressed a special interest in helping to maintain Ottoman-era buildings and shrines.
The plans have been discussed by Turkish ambassador Ahmed Baksh and Culture Minister Habib Al-Amin, Adel Sunallah a ministry spokesman told the Libya Herald.
Sunallah explained that Turkey will give archaeological training to 30 Libyans from the culture ministry as well as further training to border police and guards at archaeological sites. Read more.
Classical scholars from the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” made an unusually large find of seals in an ancient sanctuary in Turkey. They discovered more than 600 stamp seals and cylinder seals at the sacred site of the storm and weather god Jupiter Dolichenus, 100 of which in the current year alone. “Such large amounts of seal consecrations are unheard-of in any comparable sanctuary”, said excavation director Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter and archaeologist Dr. Michael Blömer at the end of the excavation season. In this respect, the finding of numerous pieces from the 7th to the 4th centuries B.C. close to the ancient city of Doliche is unparalleled.
"The amazingly large number proves how important seals and amulets were for the worshipping of the god to whom they were consecrated as votive offerings", according to Classical scholar Prof. Winter. Many pieces show scenes of adoration. Read more.
Archaeologists digging in Turkey have found the guardians of the “Gate to Hell” — two unique marble statues which once warned of a deadly cave in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, near Pamukkale.
Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition. It was discovered in March by a team led by Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.
"The statues represent two mythological creatures," D’Andria told Discovery News. "One depicts a snake, a clear symbol of the underworld, the other shows Kerberos, or Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog of hell in the Greek mythology." Read more.