September 2020 in Turkish archaeology

Hadrian's Temple in Kyzikos
Hadrian's Temple in Kyzikos

September 2020 brought some amazing archaeological discoveries from the area of Turkey. The excavations continued at Hadrian's Temple in Kyzikos, in the ancient city of Satala, and Dara in the southeastern province of Mardin where a water cistern was discovered. Moreover, 2,000-year-old rock tombs were found in the Kizilkoyun Necropolis area of Şanlıurfa while a terracotta mask dating back nearly 2,400 years was found during the excavations in Daskyleion. Sadly, the installation of air conditioners on the walls of the 1300-year-old Hirami Ahmed Pasha mosque in Istanbul rose much controversy and bad news reached us from Nilüfer district of the northwestern province of Bursa where St. Georgios Church collapsed down due to lack of care for the last seven years.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for September 2020. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

September 1, 2020

Centuries-old traces in Satala ancient city

Excavations have been resumed in the ancient city of Satala, one of the four legions of the Roman Empire in Anatolia and used as a military headquarter, to be carried out by a team of 25 people headed by Şahin Yıldırım, Director Associate Professor at Bartın University’s Faculty of Letters, Archeology Application and Research Center. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 2, 2020

Installing air conditioners on walls of historical mosques in Istanbul sparks controversy

The installation of air conditioners on the walls of the 1300-year-old Hirami Ahmed Pasha mosque in Istanbul and the later addition of tile coverings and plastic lamps inside the historical structure has stirred debate. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 3, 2020

Ancient cistern in Dara an architectural masterpiece

In the excavations carried out in the ancient city of Dara in the southeastern province of Mardin, a water cistern, which is 6 meters deeper than the Byzantine-era Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, was unearthed. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Relief of mythological Satyr figure under restoration

Artifacts dating back thousands of years are being unearthed in excavations carried out by Izmir Katip Çelebi University in the ancient city of Smyrna in Izmir province, situated on the Aegean coast of Turkey, with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The 1,800-year-old relief of a Satyr, which measures at 1.70-meters-tall (5.5 feet) and is made of marble was found in the Smyrna Theater by the excavation team and is now being restored by experts. Source: Daily Sabah

September 4, 2020

‘Hagia Sophia of Bursa’ falls to ruin after 7 years of disrepair

St. Georgios Eastern Church, located in the Nilüfer district of the northwestern province of Bursa, popularly known as “Hagia Sophia of Bursa,” fell down on Sept. 2, due to lack of care for the last seven years. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Akdamar Church to hold mass with COVID-19 measures

Akdamar Church in Turkey’s eastern province of Van will host the 8th special mass Sunday amid precautionary measures due to COVID-119. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Pieces gathered to shed light on history

The excavations work at the Temple of Hadrian in the ancient city of Kyzikos, located in the skirts of Kapıdağ Mountain in the Erdek district of the northwestern province of Balıkesir, which resumed on July 2, have unearthed many stone objects in pieces. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 6, 2020

Excavations in rock tombs to bare Göbeklitepe’s mystery

Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality in cooperation with the Culture and Tourism Ministry carries out the excavations in the Kizilkoyun Necropolis area, where 2,000-year-old rock tombs were discovered. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

2,400-year-old mask unearthed in ancient city

A terracotta mask dating back nearly 2,400 years has been found during excavations in western Turkey, said the leader of the dig. Archaeologist Kaan Iren, who heads the excavation team in the ancient city of Daskyleion in the Balıkesir province, told Anadolu Agency that a mask of the ancient Greek god Dionysus, found in the city’s acropolis, is one of this year's most interesting findings. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish architecture brought to life in ‘City of Gladiators’

A team of art historians is working to restore traditional Turkish buildings in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, an important city-state in Anatolian lands, along with excavations and restorations. Source: Daily Sabah

September 9, 2020

Structures in Lagina Hecate Sanctuary revived

The works carried out in the 3,000-year-old Lagina Hecate Sanctuary, located in the Yatağan district of the western province of Muğla and considered as the center of the Pagan belief, have gradually revived the structures for tourist attraction. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Investigation launched into missing artifacts in prestigious Antalya Archaeology Museum

A few pieces were noted missing in Mediterranean Antalya’s Archaeology and History Museum, prompting an investigation, daily Hürriyet reported. Awarded “European Council’s Museum of the Year” in 1988, the 30,000 square-meter space houses 14 galleries, gardens and an open-air display. Source: Duvar.English

Grave of Urartian woman buried with jewelry unearthed in eastern Turkey

A grave belonging to a noble Urartian woman buried with her jewelry was found at the Çavuştepe Castle in the Gürpınar district of the eastern province of Van. Source: Daily Sabah

Ancient boardgames: Experts find the missing piece (but can't figure out how to play)

'Dogs and Pigs', a set of 5,000-year-old figurines found in Turkey’s southeast, is nominated as one of the world's oldest and most crowded games but its rules remain a mystery. Source: Middle East Eye

September 10, 2020

Restoration of Walls of Diyarbakir begins

Restoration of the ancient walls of Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey – on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2015, and dating back as far back as 5,000 years – are set to bolster the magnificent structures. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 11, 2020

Turkey to open museum dedicated to Mehmet the Conqueror

A science committee of 19 scientists was formed to establish the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Museum in the Saatli Madrasah in the northwestern province of Edirne. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

500-year-old Ottoman bridge in Bulgaria to be revived

The ancient Roman road corridor between Bulgaria and Turkey, also known as the Diagonal Road, connecting the east and west for centuries, will be revived within the scope of a restoration project. The 500-year-old Siyavuş Paşa Bridge, located on the border, will be restored within the scope of the project. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 12, 2020

Figurines found in Myra ancient city

More than 50 terracotta figurines have been found in the ancient city of Myra in the Demre district of the southern province of Antalya that consisted of partially preserved clay female, male, god, goddess, ram and horseman figurines and inscriptions of vow from the 1st and 2nd century B.C. that have excited the scientific world. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Underwater St. Neophytos basilica resurfaces with retreat of Lake Iznik

The underwater remains of a 1,500-year-old basilica in honor of St. Neophytos has re-emerged with the withdrawal of waters from a lake in the Iznik district of the province of Bursa, northwestern Turkey. Source: Daily Sabah

September 13, 2020

More mosaic areas on display in Germanicia

Two new mosaic areas, which were unearthed during the excavations in the ancient city of Germanicia in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, have now been presented to visitors. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Some 2,500-year-old objects made from goat bones unearthed in Turkey’s west

A large number of goat bones and objects made from them have been found during the ongoing archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Aigai, whose history dates back to the eighth century BC. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 14, 2020

Women shed light on history in mound

Women working in the rescue excavations that have been carried out in Seyitömer Mound in the western province of Kütahya have contributed to the unearthing of the 5,000-year-old historical remains. The excavations, which were initiated in 1989 in order to bring the coal under the mound into the economy, have been carried out for two years by the Kütahya Museum Directorate under the presidency of the museum’s Deputy Director Serdar Ünan. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 15, 2020

New deity figurines unearthed at central Turkey's Kültepe site

Archaeologists have unearthed the statuettes of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Anatolian people thousands of years ago, at the Kültepe, also known as Kanesh, site in the central Kayseri province. Source: Daily Sabah

September 16, 2020

Shepherd finds Stone Age artifacts in Tunceli, eastern Turkey

According to archaeologists, a 16-year-old boy who stumbled upon a host of old, stone implements in eastern Turkey has landed upon a find that can cast more light on early human civilization. The young shepherd, Umut Can Öner, contacted archaeologists who were working on a nearby dig in the district of Ovacık, in the eastern province of Tunceli, about a set of strange tools he had discovered. Source: Daily Sabah

Historical rituals in Göbeklitepe inspire expository documentary

Göbeklitepe, the archaeological site in southeastern Turkey's Şanlıurfa province described as "the zero point of history," continues to be highlighted in books, films, series and animated films. Historical rituals in the ancient marvel are the subject of a recent documentary titled "Göbeklitepe Sakinleri” ("Residents of Göbeklitepe"). Source: Daily Sabah

September 17, 2020

1800-year-old stele on way back from Italy after 23 years

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has finally managed to retrieve the nearly 1800-year-old Lydian temple stele, which it had been chasing for 23 years from Italy. “The stele will be delivered to our embassy in Rome on Sept. 19 and will be brought back to Turkey in the following days with Turkish Airlines,” said the ministry in a statement. The stele is believed to have been stolen from the Apollon Aksyros Temple located in the ancient city of Saittai in the western province of Manisa at the beginning of the 1990s. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Study Says Turkey’s Stored Ancient Grains Were Collected as Tax

According to a Nature report, Amy Bogaard of the University of Oxford and her colleagues analyzed 3,000-year-old grain recovered from a subterranean silo at Hattusha, the capital of the Hittite Empire in central Anatolia. Discovered in 1999, the silo contained hundreds of tons of grain stored in 32 chambers that caught fire shortly after they were put into use. Source:

September 18, 2020

1,800-year-old inscription seized in Turkey's west

Turkish security forces seized a 1,800-year-old inscription in Turkey's western Isparta province, said the security sources on Sept. 17. Isparta provincial gendarmerie teams, acting on a tip, carried out a raid to a house and arrested a person hiding a historical artifact from the Roman-era, said the sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on media. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Excavations start to unveil ‘city of dead’ in Zerzevan Castle

The “city of the dead” will be unearthed in the 3,000-year-old Zerzevan Castle, which is the last garrison of the Roman Empire in the east and is home to the Temple of Mithras in the Çınar district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Polish envoy visits archaeological site revealing Vikings’ presence in Istanbul

The Polish ambassador to Turkey visited an archaeological site in Istanbul on Friday where traces of the Vikings have recently been found during excavations. Envoy Jakub Kumoch said that the Vikings most probably came to the site of Bathonea, in what is now Istanbul’s Avcılar district, from Poland, adding that the country is eager to support further digs. Source: Daily Sabah

September 19, 2020

Secret road of sultans in Topkapı Palace reopens to public visit

A closed division in the world-wide known Topkapı Palace, known as the “Grand Ride” or “Horse Ramp,” which the sultans of the Ottoman Empire used to leave the palace in disguise, reopened to public visits on Sept. 18. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 20, 2020

Italy returns smuggled inscription back to Turkey

Smuggled from Turkey and discovered during a police raid in Italy in 1997, an 1,800-year-old Lydian-era inscription of confession has been delivered from the Italian authorities by Turkey’s Embassy in Rome at the end of a long legal process. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 21, 2020

Historical mansion turned into ethnography museum in southern Turkey

The Bağ Mansion, which is a large vineyard mansion located in the central district of Bağlar in southern Diyarbakır province, will be converted into an ethnography museum as part of the "Ethnography Museum Project" of the Dicle University (DU). The restoration, conservation, exhibition and arrangement works have been initiated to transform the mansion, which was included in the campus of DU 27 years ago and has been serving as a guesthouse since 1995, into a museum. Source: Daily Sabah

September 22, 2020

Historical Seljuk-Kara Koyunlu Cemetery to be restored in eastern Turkey's Van

Housing the graves of Turkish folk poet Ercişli Emrah and his beloved Selvihan, the historical Seljuk-Kara Koyunlu (Qara Qoyunlu) Cemetery in the eastern province of Van will be restored, according to a statement by Nuri Mehmetbeyoğlu, the Erciş district governor and deputy mayor. Source: Daily Sabah

September 23, 2020

Turkey takes initiatives to get back Sion Treasure

After managing to retrieve the nearly 1,800-year-old Lydian temple stele after a long chase of 23 years, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has now embarked on a struggle to bring back the remaining parts of the priceless Treasure of Sion, which was stolen from the Mediterranean province of Antalya’s Kumluca district some 53 years ago. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Mosaics in ancient church unearthed

Archeologists in southeastern Turkey initiated an excavation to unearth mosaics belonging to a 1600-year-old church. Built in 396 A.D. in Mardin’s Göktaş village, the church was discovered on Sept. 18, 2019 and the area was declared as an archeological site. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 24, 2020

4,000-year-old textile mill unearthed in western Turkey

Turkish archeologists have unearthed parts of a loom, textile tools and accessories dating back 4,000 years in the country’s west. The team carried on the excavation and restoration work at the Beycesultan Mound in Denizli province this year. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

'Zeugma of Black Sea' 3,500 years older than previously thought

With ongoing excavations over the last five years in the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in the Eskipazar district of Turkey’s northern Karabük province, it has been revealed that the history of the ancient city dates back 5,500 years, much earlier than previously thought. Source: Daily Sabah

September 25, 2020

Some 3 mln tourists visit historical sites in summer

Over 3 million tourists visited historical places in Turkey in the June-August period of this year as travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus eased. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Fortress from Ottoman, Byzantine eras to become Istanbul's most glamorous cultural venue

One of Turkey's and the world's oldest open-air museums, Istanbul's Yedikule Fortress, meaning "Fortress of the Seven Towers," is preparing to welcome visitors again following a comprehensive restoration. The fortress, which has borne witness to many eras of Istanbul, is undergoing a restoration process and will showcase many of the stories of the historical city. Source: Daily Sabah

September 26, 2020

Women from different countries to trek along 120-km-long Troy Culture Route

Some 20 women from different countries and different professions will trek along the 120-kilometer-long Troy Culture Route under a project dubbed “Athenas on the March” to celebrate the power of women. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Archeologists discover sun disk in northwestern Turkey

Archeologists in northwestern Turkey discovered a sun disk on a rock altar on Sept. 25 in the ancient Thracian settlements. Engin Beksac, head of the art history department at Trakya University told Anadolu Agency that the Thracian rock altar, discovered in Edirne, dates to 3,500 years ago. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 27, 2020

Unique finds uncover history of ancient city of Euromos in southwestern Turkey

A number of items uncovered during excavations in the ancient city of Euromos in the Milas district of southwestern Turkey's Muğla are being restored by a team of experts, working under the direction of professor Abuzer Kızıl of Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University. The recently discovered artifacts include tile works, vessels and grave markings, causing excitement among the team of archaeologists working at the site. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

September 28, 2020

Oldest worship place in Black Sea region unearthed

The Kahin Tepe excavations in the northern province of Kastamonu’s Araç district have unearthed findings belonging to the Neolithic period in the the oldest place of worship found in the Black Sea. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

1,700-year-old waterway on verge of collapse due to dynamites

A 1,700-year-old ancient waterway from the East Roman Empire era in Istanbul’s Çatalca district is on the verge of collapse due to dynamites planted by a sand quarry company. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient city of Patara to regain former glory

Efforts are in full swing to restore the ancient city of Patara, located in the sun-soaked Turkish province of Antalya, to its former glory. Source: Daily Sabah

September 29, 2020

Turkey's Kula-Salihli geopark takes visitors on journey through time

The Kula-Salihli UNESCO Global Geopark, located in the western province of Manisa, continues to draw visitors with a number of historical and natural wonders, such as the ancient city of Sardis – the former capital of the Lydian Kingdom, as well as the Kula volcanoes, stacked rocks known as fairy chimneys, the Kurşunlu hot springs, the Bintepeler burial mounds and Adala Canyon. Source: Daily Sabah

Sun disc discovered on ancient Thracian altar in northwest Turkey

Archaeologists Friday discovered a sun disc on a rock altar in the ancient Thracian settlements of Turkey's northwestern Edirne province. Engin Beksaç, head of the art history department at Trakya University, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Thracian rock altar discovered in the city dated back 3,500 years. Source: Daily Sabah

September 30, 2020

Ancient city of Dara in Turkey's Mardin aspires to enter UNESCO list in 3 years

The ancient city of Dara, located 30 kilometers (around 18 miles) southeast of Mardin, will be eligible for the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list in three years thanks to ongoing efforts, according to associate professor Hüseyin Metin, the head of the excavation delegation in the ancient city and faculty member of the Department of Archaeology at Kafkas University. Source: Daily Sabah