Roman-era sports facility found in central Anatolia
Roman-era sports facility has been unearthed at a construction site in the Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Sarayönü district.
The finding emerged after a local in the district’s Ladik neighborhood, known as a Laodicea city and an important center of the Roman era, applied to the local museum directorate after wanting to build a house on the land where the facility was unearthed.
The museum directorate’s experts conducted drilling works in the construction site, located on a region listed as a third degree archaeological site, unearthing a mosaic with geometrical shapes from the Roman period.
Following 10 days of work, Konya Museums Directorate teams discovered a tomb with a mosaic, column and bases.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Konya Museums Director Yusuf Benli said the neighborhood was the ancient city of Laodicea.
Stating that the region, which is home to many artifacts, was a third-degree archaeological site, Benli said, “Historical artifacts have been obtained during drilling works in the construction site. Excavations started with the permission of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums. We have been working here for 10 days and found a different structure. It is normal to find such a structure in an ancient city but geometric mosaic is rarely seen in Konya.
The first field we dug is 100 square meters. In the middle of this field is a medallion motif that reads ‘Constructed in the name of Ergenos, the son of Documanos.’ This place was a sports facility in the ancient city. We can tell this by looking at its column bases and column headings.”
Benli said a tomb was also discovered in the field. "The tomb was made with collected materials,” he said, adding that a second mosaic field was detected around the tomb.
"We have been working on this field for two days. Our purpose is to protect this area. Because mosaics are very delicate and can easily be destroyed. We will first take it under protection and then we can use it in our works. The region is a settlement. If we protect this place, we can revive Ladik again. We are working on a field of 373 square meters. Such a structure will give a different importance to Konya I believe,” he said.
The mayor of Sarayönü, Nafiz Solak, said he was very excited with this finding in their neighborhood, adding that remarkable artifacts had been found in the ancient city so far.
“A project is being designed. When the work is done, we plan to open the area to visitors. It is important that this place is next to the highway to Istanbul. We believe people will visit this place because it is attractive,” he added.