Myra, on the southern coast of Turkey, was home to the 4th century bishop St Nicolas (of Santa Claus fame). What remains of his city? In 2009, Prof. Çevik and his team launched major investigations to discover more. The first season has revealed the most unexpected results.
This autumn the Penn Museum will hold an exhibition on their first-ever excavation at Nippur in modern Iraq. But it all centres on a most scandalous affair, as Richard Hodges, Director of the Penn Museum explains.
As the capital of two great empires, Istanbul (and in its previous incarnation as Constantinople) contains a great wealth of culturally important material. Little wonder that it has been named Europe’s Capital of Culture 2010.
Exquisitely located just 11km from the Mediterranean coast, the city was founded atop a 60m high acropolis. Its history is both deep and complex. According to the Classical author Strabo, the city was founded after the Trojan War by Achaeans under the leadership of Mopsus and Calchas. In fact, the site dates back to the late 5th millennium BC, and has been continuously occupied since the early 3rd millennium BC.
Sagalassos lies about 100km north of Perge, some 1,450-1,750m above sea level. It was occupied by at least the 5th century BC, and by the 4th century BC it controlled the whole Valley of Ag˘lasun. Its territory was further expanded after the city’s conquest by Alexander the Great in 333 BC.
The city of Caunus (also known as Kbid), on the southwest coast of Turkey, first finds fame in the literary sources during the time of the Persian Wars (546 BC). There is a great deal to be found at this fascinating site including numerous monumental buildings and impressive rock-cut tombs.
When Otto Benndorf presented his excavation project plans to the Ministry of Culture in 1893, he calculated that Ephesus could be uncovered in about five years. What followed has been the largest archaeological enterprise carried out on Turkish soil, 115 years of excavation.
In his writings, Strabo explains that the city of Metropolis is 120 stadia from Ephesus – and indeed it lies about 35km north of Ephesus on the western coast of Turkey. Though much less well known than Ephesus, Metropolis deserves a place on any discerning visitor’s itinerary.
Laodicea is well sited on a high plateau and surrounded by the rivers Lycos, Kapros and Asopos. Little wonder the city has an ancient history: our excavations in the area have revealed architecture, pottery, obsidian and flint stone finds dating back to the 4th millennium BC.
The site has become famous partly for its large size (about 5,000-8,000 people lived there) and long occupation (the site is Neolithic and Chalcolithic and dates from 7400 BC to 5500 BC). It is also famous because of the crowding of its houses. There were no streets, instead people moved around the settlement on the roofs and entered the houses by ladders.
From one iconic archaeological site to another, we end this round-up at Troy, on the western coast of Turkey. The site was more or less continuously inhabited from about 3000-500 BC, with a small village surviving into the Middle Ages. It is the location of the legendary city of Ilion, also known as Troy in the Iliad, the epic poem attributed to Homer, one of the oldest works of literature in Europe.
What was life like for the Cro-Magnons, Europe’s first anatomically modern humans? Having harnessed the archaeological data, Brian Fagan then gathers us around the literary campfire to imagine life in the Ice Age…
New species of hominid have been discovered in South Africa and Siberia, adding to the story of the evolution of modern humans from our early primate ancestors. Potentially the most important for filling in the gaps in our understanding of human ancestry is the near complete skeleton of an adolescent boy, along with the partial […]
Volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland caused airline havoc in April 2010, but the far bigger Toba volcanic eruption that occurred on the Indonesian island of Sumatra 74,000 years ago nearly wiped out human life in Asia. Now, an international multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, is […]
Volcanic eruptions have helped Icelandic archaeologists pin down to within one or two years the earliest settlement of the island. The 2001 excavations at the site of the Reykjavik Centrum hotel led to the discovery of the remains of a longhouse that have now been dated by means of the ash that seals part of […]
A team of UK-based researchers have been working in India’s Andhra Pradesh region in search of more recent industrial archaeology. The team, led by Dr Gill Juleff of the University of Exeter’s Department of Archaeology, forms one half of a five-year project with the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), in Bangalore, exploring and recording […]
The difficulty of defining ethnicity on the basis of genetic evidence has once again been demonstrated by the recent analysis of DNA from a Viking gravesite in southern Greenland. Those buried in the 1,000-year-old graveyard are among the first settlers to have arrived on the island after it was colonised in AD 985 by Icelanders […]
When Leonard Simmons, a Londoner with a passion for history, served in the Royal Air Force in the Middle East from 1945 to 1948, he took home a clay tablet that he bought in a market as a souvenir. And when Irving Finkel, an expert in cuneiform script, was shown the tablet earlier this year, […]
What is being claimed as ‘the world’s southernmost site of early human life’, a 40,000-year-old tribal meeting ground, has been found as a result of an archaeological survey carried out ahead of roadworks near Tasmania’s Derwent River. Up to three million artefacts have been found at the 600m by 60m riverbank site, including stone tools, […]