Tayinat: Lion gate discovered in Turkey

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 […]


A postcard from Knidos

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.


Turkey: Neolithic life at Çatalhöyük

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.


Postcard from Gordion

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, […]


Book Review: A Companion to Byzantium

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 […]


Travelling Turkey

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 […]


Turkey Ancient Paphlagonia

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 […]



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.

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