The filtering news of a possible Minoan harbour being located just below the sea-level off of Tavşan Adası (Rabbit Island) near Didim has created a rush of interest both locally and from my colleagues across Europe. It has long been known of a Minoan connection with Miletus region because of the datable pottery found in the vicinity of the city. Also, the etymology of the name ‘Miletus’ is, of course, an Hellenic name in the Ionic dialect, in the Doric dialect it spelt slightly differently, Milatos. This is believed to refer to an ancient city of the same name on the island we know today as Crete. Crete was home to the Minoan people whom were named after the legendary King Minos. Hittite documents, an Anatolian people contemporary with the Minoans, refer to the city as Millavanda.
It has all been rather quiet on the Didyma archaeological front this year. The Covid virus has prevented the team from the German Archaeological Institute from arriving this year.
There was some initial hope that their usual August date for arrival would be possible, but then I received word that September was pencilled in, though in their continued absence it is evident that this month, too, was not considered tenable. It is a pity as I particularly wanted to speak to the Director of Excavations on a number of topics.
What a feeling of freedom invades the senses now that we have the option of self-determination as to our movements and actions once again. Naturally, there are guidelines to be adhered to if we are to be further free of this virulent Coronavirus, therefore, with freedoms come responsibilities. ‘Caution’ and ‘social distancing’ must be the bywords along this path to safety.
The rather clement weather we appreciated in January (from the Roman god Janus, the two-faced god who looked both backward and forward; old year, new year) allowed myself and my equally historically inquisitive friend Jay Jean Jackson to venture out to Akköy. Our aim was to pick up the Sacred Road and then proceed in the direction of Didim.
It was at this time last year that I had first heard, from a Turkish friend who works alongside the archaeologists, the whisper that the ‘small finds’ house, next to the Temple of Apollo precinct, was to have its contents moved to the Miletus Museum or the Excavation House in Didyma.
Upon inquiring as to why this should be necessary he told me that the house was to be opened to the public. Intriguing, but no great revelation therein. Though when he expanded his reasoning to reveal that this would be a prelude to the Sacred Road being reopened to the public my happiness reached euphoric levels.