In February 2024, the focus of the Turkish archaeologists seemed to be ancient Pergamon, where the cultural revitalization project was launched with a $32M budget. The project is aimed at the revitalization and conservation of the rich cultural heritage of Pergamon, modern-day Bergama, through extensive archaeological excavations. Moreover, as a part of research on medicinal plants in Bergama, the academics from Ege University were investigating the Galen's (the renowned ancient Roman physician) prescriptions.
In every significant ancient settlement founded by the Greeks, the main square called the agora played the central role in the life of the city. Ephesus had two agoras - a political one and a commercial one - situated at opposite ends of the city. The spacious State (Upper) Agora was situated in the south-eastern part of Ephesus, while the Commercial Agora - in the north-western part of the city. As it is also the case of the Lower Agora, also this square was created in the location of an old necropolis - the fact demonstrates how quickly the city had expanded beyond the previously planned boundaries.
The most important archaeological news from the area of Turkey in January 2024 was the discovery of a collection of 10 coins believed to date back nearly 1,400 years at the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Karabük Province. Moreover, 10 clay amphorae dating back to the second century BCE were discovered during excavations conducted at the ancient city of Amos in Muğla Province. The visitors to Istanbul may be interested in learning that, after several years-long break, it is possible to visit the upper galleries of Hagia Sophia with its iconic mosaics. However, the entrance fee is collected for the privilege. Finally, the restoration of the Temple of Athena in Side, that started two years ago, is due to be completed in 2024. Sadly, January 2024 was also marked by the passing away of Glenn Maffia, our friend, Turkish Archaeological News correspondent, and the author of the guidebook to ancient Didyma, Faint Whispers from the Oracle.
Aslantepe Tumulus, also sometimes spelled as Arslantepe, is a 5,000 year-old tumulus located in Malatya Province in the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is identified with the ancient city called Melid. It dates back to Chalcolithic period and late Hittite period. THe excavations started in 1932, and are still carried out by the teams of Italian archaeologists. Aslantepe became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021.
The unearthed king's palace is an open-air museum. Some of the artifacts, including the first swords known in the Early Bronze Age, are exhibited in Malatya Museum while others - in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.
The museum in Amasya, located on the southern side of the city, less picturesque than the northern one, occupies an unremarkable concrete building, painted pink for greater effect. However, do not be discouraged by the first impression, because the museum has many interesting exhibits in its showcases, the most shocking of which are probably the real mummies.