Heinrich Schliemann has been described as ‘the creator of prehistoric Greek archaeology’, but he was an amateur when he took up archaeology aged 46 after making his fortune in business.
A superbly carved and intact lion sculpture, excavated by a Canadian team in south-eastern Turkey, is reminiscent of the lions excavated by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in 1911 at the royal Hittite city of Carchemish. This lion was unearthed from the remains of a monumental gate complex at the entrance to the citadel of […]
I have returned to Knidos after 40 years. Across the decades you forget the outlines of the trenches and the stratigraphic relationships these contained. Instead, Knidos remains etched in my memory as a panorama encompassing the suggestive silhouettes of many of the
Dodecanese islands, as well as the brilliant crystalline blue expanse of the Aegean.
The house-proud Neolithic inhabitants of Çatalhöyük inadvertantly frustrated archaeologists by keeping their homes clean. Now Lisa-Marie Shillito examines an aspect of the site’s rich archaeological heritage invisible to the naked eye.
Last summer, one day stands out above all others: my first trip to Gordion (ancient Gordium), a Turkish city associated with Midas, and the golden touch of a Penn professor, Rodney Young. From all I had heard, I assumed it would be arid and charmless. But archaeologists are the very worst travel-guides. Seldom, if ever, […]
Spanning Emperor Constantine’s inauguration of Constantinople in AD 330 to the city’s fall to the Ottomans in AD 1453, Byzantium is one of history’s most complex, fascinating, and misunderstood Empires. A Companion to Byzantium aims not to provide a blow-by-blow narrative history describing every nuance of Byzantium, but to explore issues and themes that are […]
To sail the Turkish Coast is to embark on an historical and archaeological adventure that spans over 3,000 years of history. It brings to life successive civilizations of Lycians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, all of whom stamped their mark on this remarkable region. These great cultures have not only left beautiful and inspiring physical […]
For the Hittites of the Late Bronze Age it was a difficult, wild country where the restless Kashka people lived. For the Romans, it was a hostile highland zone harbouring the Mithridatic kings who battled Rome for over 200 years, until the region was finally incorporated within the empire. And in the Byzantine period the […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Between the Mediterranean and the Taurus Mountains, the Olba region of Southern Turkey is rich with archaeology. Ümit Aydinog˘lu takes us on a tour from coast to inland.