December 2017 in Turkish archaeology

Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
Topkapi Palace in Istanbul

The end of 2017 was a very intensive period for archaeologists working in Turkey. The biggest news was undoubtedly the discovery of a hidden chapel covered with marvellous frescoes in the famous Sümela Monastery. Moreover, an ancient city with complex burial chambers and temples was found in Erzurum Province while a hammam used by the sultans was discovered in Topkapı Palace during the renovation process.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for December 2017. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

December 1, 2017

Irish man traces smuggled Turkish Islamic artifacts

Irish art historian Mikail Patrick Duggan, who lives in the southern province of Antalya, is working to find Turkish Islamic artifacts that have been smuggled abroad. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Historic towers to rise again in ancient Perge

Two towers in the ancient city of Perge, visited by thousands of tourists every year in the southern Turkish province of Antalya, have been undergoing a restoration process. The original stone blocks of the towers are now being placed in the towers. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Water problems to be eliminated at Göbeklitepe

Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality started drilling a well to supply water to Göbeklitepe, a site believed to be the oldest temple complex in the world and one of Turkey's nominees to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source: Daily Sabah

December 2, 2017

Ancient city from Urartu civilization discovered in Turkey's eastern Erzurum

An ancient city with complex burial chambers, temples, a settlement and a water tunnel from the Iron Age Urartu civilization has been discovered in Turkey's eastern Erzurum province, reports said Saturday. Source: Daily Sabah

World heritage site Cumalıkızık village attracts 50,000 tourists in northwestern Turkey

With its rich history of 700 years, Cumalıkızık, which is located in northwestern Anatolia region, attracts about 50,000 tourists every weekend as one of the oldest Turkish villages, according to media sources. Source: Daily Sabah

December 4, 2017

Bronze Age artifacts used meteoric iron

You may already be surprised to hear there are iron objects dating back to the Bronze Age, but their meteorite origin is even more astonishing. Though meteorites had already been recognized as one source of this metal, the scientific community couldn’t determine whether they accounted for most or simply a few Bronze Age iron artifacts. Albert Jambon, as part of his work at the Institut de minéralogie, de physique des matériaux et de cosmochimie, has demonstrated that iron used during the Bronze Age is always meteoric and he explained how this practice was abandoned during the Iron Age. Source: Heritage Daily

Three Ottoman-era Qurans discovered in historical Palestinian mosque

Three Qurans published during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1908) have been found in a mosque in Palestine's historical town of Tayibe, which currently lies inside Israeli territory. Source: Daily Sabah

Ancient rock divided into two

A huge rock mass in the ancient city of Aigai, located in the western Turkish province of Manisa, has been broken by treasure hunters. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 5, 2017

Archeologists team up with convicts to excavate ancient site in western Turkey

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is conducting an excavation in the ancient city of Cedreae (Kedrai) on Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, in Muğla, where a Temple of Apollo, theater and remains of a necropolis attracts around 150,000 local and foreign tourists every year. An excavation team of 25 people, including 15 prisoners, has been working to unearth the buried secrets of the ancient site. Source: Daily Sabah

Turkey refers to FBI for Zeugma mosaics

Turkey is demanding that the 12 Zeugma mosaics, dating back to the 2nd century A.D. and is being exhibited at the Wolfe Art Center in the U.S., should be returned to Turkey. Turkish authorities have asked for help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for their repatriation. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

2,800 year-old Urartian stele discovered in Turkey's eastern Van

A 2,800-year-old stele from the ancient Urartu civilization which had been missing for the past 120 years has been found in Turkey's eastern Van province, reports said Tuesday. Source: Daily Sabah

Ancient Urartian settlement found in eastern Turkey

Archaeological excavations have unearthed a settlement, rock tombs, temple and a 50-meter-deep water tunnel in the eastern province of Erzurum’s Dumlu neighborhood. The settlement is believed to date back to the Urartian Kingdom. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 6, 2017

Turkey’s Culture Ministry spends 90 mln liras on archaeological works

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry spent nearly 90 million Turkish Liras on archaeological excavations and researches this year. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 8, 2017

Prisoners excavate in ancient Kedrai

An excavation team made up of 25 people, includes 15 prisoners who have been working to reveal historical artifacts in the ancient city of Kedrai on Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, off the western province of Muğla. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 9, 2017

Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Illuminate the Demise of the Hittites

Eight Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions each more than 3,000 years old have been published for the first time, thereby significantly increasing at one stroke the number of transmitted signs dating to the Bronze Age from this long-forgotten script. Source: Heritage Daily

December 12, 2017

Drought causes Seljuk-era inn to emerge from dam

The ruins of an 816-year-old Seljuk inn have emerged from the waters of the Altınapa dam, which provides drinking water to the Central Anatolian province of Konya. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 14, 2017

Marble column pieces dating back to Roman era uncovered in western Turkey

1,500-year-old historical remains dating back to the Late Roman period was discovered by municipality workers during sewerage work in western Turkey's Denizli province on Thursday. Source: Daily Sabah

Frescoes, mosaics in Hagia Sophia of Trabzon to be revealed

A church converted into a mosque in the Black Sea province of Trabzon will be renovated to reveal the frescoes and mosaics covered behind wooden shutters. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 15, 2017

Sultans’ bath discovered in Topkapı Palace

A Turkish hamam used as a bath by five Ottoman Sultans has been uncovered during restorations in Topkapı Palace — the most famous of the sultans’ residences and administrative centers in Istanbul. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Viking statue seized from man traveling from Bodrum to Istanbul

Gendarmerie forces on Dec. 14 seized a historic Viking statue from a man traveling on a bus on the Söke-Milas highway in western Turkey. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ottoman-era bath, underground bazaar discovered in northern Turkey

A Turkish bath and an underground bazaar were discovered Friday during pavement works in northern Turkey's Çorum province. Source: Daily Sabah

December 16, 2017

13th century complex offers a glimpse of Seljuk architecture, medical practices

Located in central Anatolia, in modern-day Kayseri, the Gevher Nesibe Medical Complex offers insight into the medical techniques of the 13th century. Source: Daily Sabah

December 18, 2017

Ancient settlement sought near Istanbul's oldest burial site

The metro excavation site located in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district, where 3,500-year-old cairn-type sepulchers were discovered, is most likely home to an ancient settlement, the head of Istanbul's Archaeological Museums said Monday. Source: Daily Sabah

December 20, 2017

Excavations reveal ancient Germanicia

The ancient city of Germanicia, which was discovered 10 years ago in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, is progressing to become the Ephesus of the region. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 21, 2017

Achilles’ sword, Alexander bust among record Turkish police haul of 26,456 ancient artifacts

In an operation spanning four cities including Istanbul, authorities seized 26,456 smuggled artifacts. Dubbed the biggest operation against artifact smugglers, the operation netted 19 suspects. Source: Daily Sabah

Construction workers discover underground city in central Turkey's Çorum

Construction workers in Turkey's central Çorum province have discovered a tunnel, which is thought to be an underground city in the past, reports said Thursday. Source: Daily Sabah

December 22, 2017

Ancient settlement found in Cappadocia

Archaeologists from the Hacı Bektaş University in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir have unearthed a Bronze Age settlement in Cappadocia. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ottoman-era ceramics, coins found during construction work in western Turkey

Ceramics and coins dating back to late 19th century Ottoman period were found Friday during construction work in western Turkey's Çanakkale province. Source: Daily Sabah

Secret tunnel discovered in Sümela Monastery

Two years of restoration works in the Sümela Monastery located in the northeastern province of Trabzon have unearthed a field in the upper right side of its northern roof. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 24, 2017

İzmit’s historic Karaburç to be restored

Karaburç castle and its historic walls, which have traces of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s İzmit district, will undergo restoration. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

3,600-year-old rare Hittite seal discovered in central Turkey on display for first time

The invaluable bronze seal, which was allegedly used in correspondences between a Hittite king and his scribe, had been confiscated in 2015 by police in Turkey's central Çorum province, as smugglers were trying to sell it to collaborators abroad. Source: Daily Sabah

December 25, 2017

Ottoman shop unearthed in Central Anatolia

A historical structure has been unearthed during infrastructure works carried out in the central Anatolian province of Çorum. Works have been ongoing to bring the Ottoman-era structure to light in the İskilip district. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 26, 2017

Restoration in Aydos almost finished

The Aydos Castle in Sultanbeyli, known as the place where the conquest of Istanbul started, will be open to tourism in 2018, immediately after restoration in the castle ends. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Farmer discovers 2,000-year-old Hermes statuette in Turkey’s Çorum

A farmer from Turkey's central Çorum province found a 2,000-year-old statuette dating back to the Roman period while working in the field, a report said Tuesday. Source: Daily Sabah

Farmer discovers 2,000 year-old terracota jar in Turkey's Malatya province

A 2,000-year-old terracotta jar from the Roman Period has been discovered by a farmer in Turkey's eastern Malatya province, reports said Monday. Source: Daily Sabah

Turkey requests France return tiles stolen from Sultan Selim II’s tomb at Hagia Sophia

Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has requested that France return china tiles stolen from Sultan Selim II's tomb at the Hagia Sophia during a so-called restoration in the 1890s. Source: Daily Sabah

December 27, 2017

German Archaeologists Find Collection of Ancient Clay Seals in Turkey

Archaeologists from the University of Münster, Germany, have unearthed a large collection of 1,800-year-old clay seals, or bullae, at the ancient city of Doliche, which was part of the province of Syria in Roman times. Source: Sci News

December 28, 2017

Over 70 pct of 5,000-year-old Perga city in southern Turkey still underground

Around 70 percent of the 5,000-year-old ancient city of Perga in Turkey's southern Antalya province remains underground to be discovered, as archaeologists continue excavations to reveal its hidden beauties. Source: Daily Sabah

Topkapı Palace gets most comprehensive makeover in its history

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace has been entirely restored with a budget of 300 million Turkish Liras. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

December 30, 2017

Golden crown of Hecatomnus to be returned

A golden crown stolen in 392 B.C. from the burial chamber of Hecatomnus in the Aegean town of Milas and later smuggled to Scotland is set to return to Turkey. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Chapel discovered during renovations at Sümela Monastery in Turkey's Trabzon

A chapel only accessible through a hidden passage has been discovered during the restoration of historic Sümela Monastery in Turkey's northern Trabzon province on the Black Sea coast. Source: Daily Sabah