Text and photos by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia.
Following on from my previous article (Apollo on my mind), I believe that it may be necessary, even prudent, to qualify some of the evidence which I proffered therein.
Most notably the abject attitude of some local people towards this incredibly rich vein of historical artefacts which are seemingly endless in their historical scope, the innumerable disparate peoples and cultures, the endless number of belief systems which were active over so many millennia and the sheer diversity within this landmass which once was, without doubt, the ‘crossroads of the earth’.
Text by our correspondent from Didyma, Glenn Maffia.
Just prior to Christmas, I received a number of communications from my sources within Europe concerning the future of investigations into the Temple of Apollo at Didyma. Nothing concrete, you must understand, but nonetheless intriguing in the way that such archaeological tenets are being evolved, or rather dissolved, by the principle institutions engaged in this highly valuable and crucial work.
As it is also the case of other ancient cities, also the archaeological artefacts found in Ephesus can be seen in different locations around the world. The findings excavated between 1867 and 1905 were taken to the British Museum, while the Ephesos Museum in Vienna displays numerous artefacts discovered between 1896 and 1906, when seven Austrian archaeological expeditions transported findings to Vienna. Luckily, numerous artefacts are now on display in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk, near the ruins of Ephesus.
The exhibits unearthed during the excavations in Miletus are scattered across numerous museums. In Turkey, the finds from Miletus are on display in the small local museum in Miletus, but also in archaeological museums in Izmir and Istanbul. However, taking into account the long and eventful history of Miletus, the collections displayed in the Turkish museums are surprisingly sparse. For instance, one of the most interesting objects - the Market Gate - was transported in pieces to Germany and reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Moreover, there are also numerous other finds from Miletus on display in other museums, forming the famous Museum Island in Berlin. This publication looks closer at the artefacts presented in the oldest museum of this group - the Altes Museum.
The year 2022 saw many remarkable archaeological discoveries made in the area of Turkey, spanning the millennia and broadening our knowledge about the prehistory and history of that region. Excavations continued in many locations, including Ephesus, where the last quarter of the year brought the announcement about a groundbreaking find: the archaeologists working for the Austrian Academy of Sciences were able to uncover an early Byzantine business and gastronomy district in the heart of this ancient city.
Many discoveries concerned the prehistory of Anatolia, as the researchers worked in Çatalhöyük, one of the best-preserved Neolithic settlements where the remains of an 8500-year-old wooden ladder were found. The end of the year brought one of the most important discoveries of 2022: an 11,000-year-old wall relief, located near Şanlıurfa's Sayburç, depicting two humans, a bull, and two leopards. Moreover, 8,200-year-old stone cutting tools were excavated in the Yeşilova Mound in Izmir.
Also, knowledge of the Urartian civilization that once thrived in the area of what is now eastern Turkey, was vastly improved. In May, the water level of Lake Van fell, revealing a one-kilometer Urartian road connecting Çarpanak Island to the shore. Two months later, treasure hunters revealed a 2,700-year-old Urartian temple in Garibin Tepe in Alaköy. Moreover, at the ongoing excavations in the Gürpınar district of Van province, a chamber tomb carved into the bedrock and a water channel dating back to the Urartians were found.