Byzantine graves found in ancient city
MUĞLA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThis year’s excavations at the ancient city of Stratonikeia, which is located in the western province of Muğla’s Yatağan district and on UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage Site list, have unearthed many Byzantine-era tombs. The ancient city is considered one of the world’s largest marble cities.
The head of the excavations, Pamukkale University Archaeology Department Professor Bilal Söğüt, said excavations in the ancient city had begun in 2008.
He said work has been carried out under the inspection of experts from various fields such as research, conservation and restoration.
Söğüt said the 3,000-year-old ancient city had remains from each period of history. He said excavations in the Roman bath and Western Street were continuing this year and also the drawing and restoration project of the Seljuk bath would be finished this year.
The professor said they had reached all structures in the ancient city from the entrance gate to the emperors’ temple, from the Roman bath to the Turkish house.
“One of the most important gymnasiums of the ancient era is on the Western Street. Our goal was to unearth the street completely. But we have seen mass graves from the Byzantine era in the lower layers.
We have found out that there is an early-era Byzantine church below the graves. This area was left after the church collapsed and began to be used as a graveyard,” Söğüt said.
He said salvage excavations continued in the area and they had so far opened 40 graves. “There is not only one person in the graves; some are mass graves and include damaged bones. We estimate that the number of graves will increase in the coming days,” he concluded.