ARCHAEOLOGY > Turkish archaeologists reveal 6th century baptistery abroad

PRISTINA - Doğan News Agency

A historic baptistery structure has been unearthed at one of the most important ancient sites in Kosovo by Turkish archaeologists. It is the first such excavation to be carried out by Turkish archaeologists in Europe

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Since the beginning of excavations in July in Kosovo’s ancient city of Ulpiana, a baptistery dating from the Byzantine period have been unearthed by Turkish archaeologists of the Mimar Sinan University. DHA photo

Since the beginning of excavations in July in Kosovo’s ancient city of Ulpiana, a baptistery dating from the Byzantine period have been unearthed by Turkish archaeologists of the Mimar Sinan University. DHA photo

At an excavation site in Kosovo’s ancient city of Ulpiana, a team of Turkish archaeologists have discovered a baptistery dating from the Byzantine period.

The archaeological team, consisting of archaeology students from Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan University and headed by Professor Haluk Çetinkaya, excavated in a 250 square-meter area, unearthing an important part of the sixth-century city. Mimar Sinan University graduate Elvis Shala, a native of Kosovo, also joined in the excavation, which lasted 70 days.

Work at the site began on July 2, Çetinkaya said. “Baptisteries are rarely found in this region. We have succeeded in making a very important finding, as part of the first excavation Turkey has carried out abroad.

In accordance with a five-year agreement, we will continue to work at the same site. This is very important, because it shows that Turkey has progressed in the field of archaeology, and is now in a position to provide consultation to other countries. We worked very carefully and quickly, without missing anything. It is not easy to carry out an excavation like this in such a short period of time. We worked 10 hours a day to unearth the remains of the structure.”

Turkish archaeologists are invited abroad

The group will continue to work in Kosovo to reveal more historic structures, Çetinkaya said, adding that because archaeological work is being carried out at some 600 ancient sites in Turkey, Turkish archaeologists rarely have the opportunity to join excavations abroad.

“In the past, Turkey was a country where European archaeologists carried out excavations. Now everyone appreciates our work in this field, and now [Kosovo has] invited us to their country,” Çetinkaya said.

The discovery of the baptistery is very important for Kosovo, said Kosovo’s minister of Public Administration, Mahir Yağcılar. “The unearthing of structures from the Ottoman period may provide new opportunities to promote tourism. The Turkish archaeologists’ work here makes the collaboration between the two countries stronger.”

The excavation at Ulpiana is important because it marks the first time a Turkish archaeological team has joined an excavation in Europe, said Turkish ambassador to Kosovo Songül Ozan.

“We expect Turkish archaeologists to join more excavations abroad. Kosovo is a young country, the youngest in Europe, but it is the site of Europe’s oldest centers of human settlement. As a representative of a country that lived with the people of Kosovo for 500-600 years, I must say that Kosovo will develop more and get what it deserves among civilized countries as long as its preserves its Ottoman Turkish heritage and the heritage of earlier civilizations,” she said.

The site was also visited by Dutch ambassador to Kosovo Robert Bosch, Kosovo Culture Ministry officials and Kosovo’s Museums Director. The Turkish archaeologists’ conducted their work in Kosovo at a cost of 25,000 euros, funded by Mimar Sinan University.


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Maria Conception

10/7/2012 2:24:21 PM

This excavation seem to be strange. There are reports, that the hole site has been investigated with geophysicla methods by german archaeologist and they published the exact location of several monuments. Eben though the Baptisterium "the türkish discoverd" now again ? Is this truth ? It seems to be a stupid fighting of archaeologist, the main question will be, if the Balkans want to be liberal western wourld (Europe?) or muslim East ? Cheers


9/7/2012 7:08:59 PM

Do not know about others but I have NO problem with all the Greek heritage in Asia Minor. We call it the cradle of civilization for a reason. Of course there is more aniquities in just one province of Turkey than whole of Greece. On the other hand Greeks seem to minimize Roman and Byzantine identities. Ancients were not Christians first of all. Not to mention the eradication of all Ottoman/Turkish heritage and names from lands under Greek control now. It is Rum, remember, not Yunan.

Spyros Savvas

9/7/2012 5:09:02 PM

Asia Minor is more Hellenic than Athens itself...! No matter what you say - what you write, no matter what your propaganda does... You are standing on Hellenic land! And..., please tell me what is the turkish word for "Archaeologist"...? Because, this is a Hellenic word ( as most of the important terms on the civillised part of the world ).


9/7/2012 4:16:11 PM

"As a representative of a country that lived with the people of Kosovo for 500-600 years". I think he means, "invaded by force and occupied by force for 500-600 years".


9/7/2012 4:07:01 PM

Why dont you drop that chip on your shoulder, you will feel much better. There are no Turks in Greece either... now that is a joke. By the way, Greeks you refer to were not Christians at all, and have you heard of Roman, Eastern Roman and Byzantine Empires? Turks did not make up these names or empires.

Nadiri Başaran

9/7/2012 10:36:42 AM

Ha ha, even 'greek' cypriots aren't Greeks.

Stefanos Kalogirou

9/7/2012 8:23:06 AM

"Turkish archaeologist" is a short joke! International recognition for turkish archaeology won't come if every Greek thing found in Anatolia is either called "roman" or is hidden. Archaeology with policies of erasing the memories of peoples' history that lived in Anatolia before the late arrival of the Turks is not archaeology but propaganda. The very ministry of turkish foreign affairs in its site states that "Cyprus was never Greek". The rest of the world loughs.
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