Excavations at Aspendos continue to uncover ancient riches
Ongoing excavations at the ancient city of Aspendos have unearthed 2,000-year-old shops and storage facilities.
Located in Belkis neighborhood in the southern province of Antalya’s Serik district, the ancient theater at Aspendos hosts many artistic and cultural events. Archaeological digs are also uncovering new artifacts and structures at the theater, which is among the most visited historic sites in the popular touristic province Antalya.
Surface surveys were initiated in Aspendos in 2008 and then developed into archaeological excavations with a cabinet decision in 2014. Academic Veli Köse from the Hacettepe University Archaeology Department is currently heading the excavations at Antalya.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Köse said a two-storey shop complex was discovered in this year’s excavations and the works were centered there. The excavation teams made the building survey of the structures in the field and Köse stressed the importance of the 2,000-year-old shops and structures.
“We think valuable materials were sold or held in these stores. Some were used as offices. The fact that such a unique structure was unearthed right next to the agora in the city center supports this idea,” he said.
Köse added that they found many coins in the shops dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
“We found a mini glass amphora, pieces of oil and scent bottles, candles, a bronze belt buckle, a bone hair tie, lots of studs, rings and ring stones,” he said.
The team also unearthed hundreds of mussel shells in a field, while pieces of some wall paintings were found on the ground.
An important commercial center
Köse noted that the Aspendos coins, which were printed in the 5th century B.C. in the Persian standards, were frequently used in the early Hellenistic era. He said the coins had a horse figure on one side and a slingshot stone figure on the other side.
“The existence of two-storey shops and a structure complex in an ancient city symbolizes that this place was an important commercial center. We also know it from the inscriptions. Aspendos is famous especially for grain harvest and horse breeding,” Köse added.
The ancient city of Aspendos was first established in the 10th century B.C., and it is known for having the best preserved ancient theater in Turkey, the Aspendos Ancient Theater, which seats 7,000 people.