2018 was a busy year for archaeologists working in the area of Turkey. Almost 350 archaeological excavations and around 50 rescue missions were carried out, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism that provided 26 mln liras. Below you will find an overview of the most important discoveries in the country.
Nothing is stunning about the building of Saruca Pasha Mosque, and not much can be written about the structure. However, the small graveyard situated next to the mosque, on its north-eastern side, is quite another matter. We may begin by noting that the alternative name of the mosque is Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Mosque because of the person buried in the graveyard. In order to understand the importance of this grave, it is necessary to move forward in time, from the era of Mehmed II to the end of the 17th century, when the Ottoman Empire made the last attempts at expansion into Central and Eastern Europe.
In November 2018, it was announced that the year 2019 will be "Göbeklitepe Year". The most important archaeological discoveries made in the area of Turkey were: an earthenware seal dating back 8 thousand years found in the Aegean Region, and a Viking sword thought to be over 1,000 years old, discovered in Patara. The end of November saw the return of twelve ancient Zeugma mosaic pieces, looted during illegal excavations in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep nearly 50 years ago.
The connoisseurs of ancient monuments that can be found in such abundance in Turkey may still be surprised by the fact that in the very centre of the historic district of Ankara stands a ruined ancient theatre. Just a few months ago, in the summer of 2018, this structure was almost completely forgotten and abandoned, even by the authorities of the Turkish capital. Only a few researchers of the ancient history of Ankara and a group of local drink enthusiasts remembered about this modest building. Fortunately, in autumn 2018, the first steps were taken to protect the monument, and this article may further contribute to the dissemination of information about it.
Many times, during the discussions held among the people travelling around Turkey, I heard that there was nothing interesting to see in Ankara, especially when it comes to ancient ruins. It always seemed very suspicious, because the capital of Turkey, centrally located in Anatolia, has a long and turbulent history. Therefore, surely some traces of its past must have survived. For a long time I have known the magnificent Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Atatürk Mausoleum, and a few years ago I was also able to visit the temple of the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus. However, in 2018, we set out on a mission to find less-known ancient gems, preserved in Ankara. One of them is the ruined baths from the Roman period, commonly referred to as the Baths of Caracalla. Currently, its grounds are open to public as Roma Hamamı Açik Hava Müzesi.