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.
Archaeological excavations continued throughout the country. Especially interesting finds were announced in Istanbul, where a Roman statue was unearthed on the site of Saint Polyeuctus Church, which was once Constantinople’s largest church. In the same city, the 1,600-year-old sandals and comb were found during the excavations of Theodosius Harbor, the second-biggest harbour of Constantinople, located on the coast of the Marmara Sea.
Among the restoration projects, it is worth mentioning that Istanbul's iconic Blue Mosque was reopened in April, following a restoration effort that began in 2018. Additionally, it was reported that 30 mausoleums across Istanbul were reopened after extensive restoration. In the Ottoman Empire's former capital, Edirne, the renovation works continued for Selimiye Mosque, the masterpiece of Mimar Sinan, the most famous Ottoman architect.
Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for April 2023. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!
April 2, 2023
The Antalya Archaeology Museum opened an exhibition on March 31 displaying a special section of 12 smuggled historical artifacts the U.S. returned to Türkiye following the efforts of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
April 3, 2023
The restoration and strengthening works against possible earthquake risk in Istanbul’s historic Grand Bazaar, which have been going on for about three years, have mostly come to an end. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
More looted art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art is on its way back home, with two recent repatriation ceremonies to Greece and Turkey, and the planned return of 15 antiquities smuggled by disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor, now in jail in India for his crimes. Source: Artnet News
April 5, 2023
At Saraçhane Archaeology Park, where the Church of St. Polyeuctus is situated, excavation work by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) teams found a statue that is thought to date back to the Roman era. Source: Arkeonews
April 10, 2023
Nearly 400 small artifacts in 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. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
April 12, 2023
The 1,600-year-old sandals and comb unearthed during the excavations of Theodosius Harbor (Portus Theodosiacus), the second-biggest harbor built on the coast of the Marmara Sea, fascinate those who see it. Source: Arkeonews
The disappearance of one of the historical snake statues on the columns in the front gate of Galatasaray High School on the İstiklal Avenue of Istanbul has sparked controversy. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
April 14, 2023
A team of osteoarchaeologists, archaeologists and veterinarian scientists from Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, Atatürk University, University of Environmental and Life Sciences, has found evidence of early Romans breeding dogs with flat faces. In their study, reported in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, the group examined the remains of a dog found in a tomb in what was once a city called Tralleis, in what is now modern Turkey. Source: Phys.org
April 21, 2023
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reopened Istanbul's iconic Blue Mosque on Friday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan Bayram, also known as Eid al-Fitr, following a restoration effort that began in 2018. Source: Daily Sabah
April 23, 2023
Zeugma Mosaic Museum, among the largest mosaic museums in the world, has reopened its doors to visitors after the earthquakes that rattled the east of the country on Feb. 6. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
April 24, 2023
Within the scope of the works carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums on the return of historical artifacts smuggled from Türkiye in the past, 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 been returned from the U.S. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
April 25, 2023
Amid the ongoing archaeological excavations to uncover Smyrna Agora and Smyrna Theater on an area between İzmir’s Kadifekale and Kemeraltı districts, the traces from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, as well as various principalities and the Ottoman era, have come to light so far. Source: Hürriyet Daily News
Edirne's Selimiye Mosque, the self-proclaimed "masterpiece" of Mimar Sinan – the famous chief Ottoman architect of the 16th century – has been ongoing for nearly two years and continues today with the renovation of its dazzling dome. Source: Daily Sabah
April 26, 2023
Istanbul Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism Coşkun Yılmaz stated that many works of art had been restored in Türkiye in the last 20 years. Yılmaz emphasized that the restoration of 30 of the 124 tombs under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Istanbul has been completed. Source: Daily Sabah
April 28, 2023
Italy on Friday returned to Turkish authorities a funerary stele, dating from the second century and carrying a loving inscription to the dead woman’s spouse, after investigation determined that it was illegally excavated from southeastern Turkey. Source: The Washington Post