ARCHAEOLOGY > Ancient city of Iasos rises out of the ashes

MUĞLA - Doğan News Agency

Muğla’s ancient city of Iasos is effectively rising from the ashes of the Thera volcano thanks to new discoveries. Italian archaeologists, who have been working in the area for half a century, have found crucial data about the region’s history

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This year excavations in Iasos have revealed a sewage system that was in place in the 4,000-year-old city and tunnels to the city’s theater. DHA photo

This year excavations in Iasos have revealed a sewage system that was in place in the 4,000-year-old city and tunnels to the city’s theater. DHA photo

Archaeologists working on Iasos on Turkey’s Aegean coast have recently discovered that the ancient city was buried under a mountain of ash caused by the explosion of Mt. Thera on Santorini 3,600 years ago.

Excavation works have also revealed a sewage system that was in place in the 4,000-year-old city and tunnels to the city’s theater.

Excavations are being carried out by the world-famous Italian archaeology team of Studi Delle Tuscia University. The head of the excavations, Professor Marcello Spanu, is working with assistant archaeologists Emanuele Borgia and Şevki Bardakçı, Culture and Tourism Ministry official Selvet Karamahmut, 28 other Italian archaeologists, as well as university students who have recently unearthed new historic sites within the ancient city.

Spanu said columns that were found one meter underground provided vital information about the history of the city. “Following the explosion of the volcano Thera, which also caused the destruction of the Minoan civilization on the islands of Crete and Santorini, the ancient city was covered with ash and remained so for a while.

This is why its sewage system and tunnels to the ancient theater did not change. At the end of the excavation and restoration works, for which we spend nearly 100,000 Turkish Liras annually, I am sure that this place will be Turkey’s largest, as well as one of its most important, archeoparks,” Spanu said.

Plans to attract more tourists

But Bardakçı, the deputy head of the excavations and an official from the Mediterranean Civilizations Research Institute, lamented the poor state of the promotion of Iasos, as well as the historic and cultural heritage of the surrounding Kıyıkışlacık village, while noting that they would undertake new endeavors to draw in more visitors.

He said the excavation and restoration works had shed light on historic artifacts across a vast area and succeeded in providing key data about the region’s past.

“As a result of works that will be carried out in the agora, the Artemis and Astias holy area, the Zeus Mefistos area, the mosaic house, the acropolis, the western port castle and the port, which was constructed between 1481 and 1522, the region will become one of the richest ancient cities in terms of cultural heritage. We have prepared the exact location and a digital map of the ancient city with satellite photos. When the project is done, we expect that tourists will rush to the area. As of next year, we will be in negotiations with travel agencies and tour operators to promote Iasos by way of daily boat tours and jeep safaris,” Bardakçı said.


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Leonidas Argyraspid

10/2/2013 5:58:49 PM

Astonishing and strange to have discovered that Iasos was covered by the ashes from Mt Thera, while as far as I know this has never been mentioned in neighboring ruins like Halikarnassus, Euromos or Didyma? If Iassos was covered, the entire area should have been too?

Droits de l'homme

10/1/2013 1:07:15 AM

The article doesn't mention whether the ancient city was Greek or not because its' aim is to give information about its' current condition. It does not say Greek or Roman because it doesn't have to. Anyone with minimal history knowledge can guess its' origins. You miss the point people, be happy that the city have risen out of the ashes and stop being nationalistic minded about it.

Athena Sophia

9/30/2013 9:38:32 PM

@silent Resident;.. u are right Iasos was a Greek city ..anyone with a google search would know this.. i dont know why this is very important part is not mentioned in a Turkish newspaper

Silent Resident

9/30/2013 1:22:35 PM

Sadly the article still doesn't inform the readers that Iasos (Iasus in Latin) was an ancient Greek city, founded by colonists from Argos. Also forgot to mention that Iasos was originally an island, but is now connected to the mainland due to drastic geological/geographical changes in the region over the course of 2.000 years. Iasos was at a strategic location -with Greek tribes such as Spartans, Macedonians and Persians conquering it in different time periods, until it was conquered by Romans.
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