March 2022 in Turkish archaeology

March 2022 brought the discovery of a Rhodes shipwreck from the 3rd century CE in the depths of the Gulf of Fethiye and a 2,500-year-old graffiti featuring 21 ships in the basement of the civil basilica of the Agora of Smyrna. Moreover, eighty percent of the restoration work of the Imperial Harem section of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul was announced and the new project of the restoration of the Serpent Column that stands on the Hippodrome of the Constantinople was initiated.

 Imperial Harem of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul
Imperial Harem of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul

Shall good fortune be fleeting?

Text and photos by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia.

My trustworthy observers were once again active last week within the vicinity of the Temple of Apollo. They reported that though the Sacred Road continues to be securely locked and bolted along its closest juncture to the temple a surprising touch of good fortune revealed itself when driving from Mavişehir into the centre of Didyma village (also known locally as Hisar or Yoran).

Sacred Road at the end of the field, Didyma
Sacred Road at the end of the field, Didyma

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Not much change to the writing on the wall

Text and photos by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia.

An ever vigilant friend messaged me last week to say that after meeting with some people close to the Temple of Apollo in Didyma she decided to walk home taking a route around the back of the Temple’s outer perimeter wall.

What she observed appalled her; sections of the fencing which top the walls had been ripped or weathered down, the ageing walls themselves (constructed in the early 1900s to deter the villagers from entering the active archaeological site) are in a sorry condition with some of the stones toppled during the last large earthquake in 2019, whilst the stones in the ‘hidden from the public’ areas have been blighted by that adolescent curse of daubing their names in spray paint. The site, therefore, is not secured in the slightest, and the sight of the spray paint an abomination to those who happen upon all this graffiti.

Graffiti on the perimeter wall of the Apollo Temple in Didyma
Graffiti on the perimeter wall of the Apollo Temple in Didyma

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Column of the Goths

Perhaps the oldest surviving Roman monument in Istanbul is the Column of the Goths, located in the northern part of Gülhane Park. This monument, 18.5 meters high, consists of a rectangular base and a column made of Proconnesian marble, topped with a capital in the Corinthian order.

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Istanbul: "Byzantine Secrets of Istanbul".

Column of the Goths
Column of the Goths

February 2022 in Turkish archaeology

While February 2022 was a relatively quiet month in the context of archaeological discoveries made in the area of Turkey, several significant events took place in that month. Rare swords from the Byzantine Empire were discovered in a fortified city of Amorium, a military stronghold located between the Byzantine capital of Constantinople and the cities of Nicaea and Ancyra. Several 2,500-year-old fortifications were uncovered in the ancient city of Pergamon. Moreover, Roman remains dating back 1,800 years were found in a valley near the Balkayası village of Ağın district in the eastern province of Elazığ. Finally, new findings unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Dara in the southeastern province of Mardin revealed that the historical site had been an important olive production and trade centre.

Acropolis of Pergamon
Acropolis of Pergamon

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