Prisoners excavate in ancient Kedrai
An excavation team made up of 25 people, includes 15 prisoners who have been working to reveal historical artifacts in the ancient city of Kedrai on Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, off the western province of Muğla. The ancient city is home to the ruins of the Apollon Temple, theater and cemetery.
In order to get to the island, the excavation team takes a half hour boat ride to the port in Çamlı neighborhood. Nearly 150,000 locals and foreigners visit the island every year.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Muğla Museum Director Sabiha Pazarcı said archaeological excavations have been initiated in the ancient city for the first time and the works have been carried out by the museum and the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
“Important archaeological data has been found during the excavations. The ancient city of Kedrai, overlooking the Gökova Gulf, has always been an important spot as it is surrounded with strong walls, can only be reached by sea and has sheltering ports,” said Pazarcı.
The museum director said the Kedrai Theater, had a unique structure belonging to theaters in the Karia region. “The theater has a capacity of 2,500 people. After the excavations and cleaning works, significant data on the orchestra will be obtained. The excavations will be completed at the end of the month,” she said.
Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Head of Archaeology Department Professor Adnan Diler said Kedrai was an island settlement and the region had archaeological importance, adding that settlements in the ancient region were in the field surrounded by walls.
“We have seen that people here had been portrayed as half-barbaric through old documents. It is evident that Kedrai is an Anatolian settlement. The settlement began here in the sixth century and went on until the Turkish era. Most of the ruins are from the Eastern Roman era,” said Diler.
He also said environmental arrangements would be made for the theater and the Apollon sanctuary, which receive many visitors. A tender has been made by the ministry for the theater project.
“Excavations will continue here. This area also has natural importance because it is where nature and culture coexist, so we have also been carrying out work for the protection of the olive trees while the theater is excavated. We plan to organize a walking route after the excavations. This will allow visitors to see the ruins better,” said Diler.
Many inscriptions have also been found during their work, which have been important in understanding the history of Kedrai and Karia, said the professor.
Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University member Şahin Gümüş said they had uncovered the stage and seats of the theater. Gümüş also said there were Byzantine-era settlements in the field.