2,000-year-old statue of priest’s head unearthed in Turkey’s west

2,000-year-old statue of priest’s head unearthed in Turkey’s west

2,000-year-old statue of priest’s head unearthed in Turkey’s west

A statue of a priest’s head, which is believed to be 2,000 years old, has come to light in the ongoing excavation and restoration works in the ancient city of Laodicea, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List.

Located in the western province of Denizli, Laodicea on the Lycus was an ancient metropolis and an unknown archaeological site before 2003. It was only after the excavation works that were initiated by the Denizli Museum that the city came to light.

A team of Turkish archaeologists headed by Pamukkale University’s Professor Celal Şimşek has been working in Laodicea continuously.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Şimşek said that they have unearthed an exciting artifact in the 15,000-seat western theater of the 7,500-year-old city.

Noting that they are trying to restore the theater by preserving it precisely, Şimşek said that they found a priest statue, which was believed to be around 2,000 years old, during the excavation works.

“There was an eight-meter embankment next to the fortification wall extending west from the stage building of the theater and was built at the beginning of the fifth century. We encountered a stunning statue of a priest during the removal of the filling, which was the waste of buildings destroyed by earthquakes,” Şimşek noted.

“It is among the most beautiful finds of the year 2020 in terms of its age, profession, and especially being a very vibrant portrait, which we can date to the late Hellenistic early empire period,” he added.

Ancient sources say that the city was founded in honor of Laodice, the wife of Seleucid King Antiochus II Theos, in the third century B.C. However, excavations revealed that the history of Laodicea dates back to 5,500 B.C.

The city had its golden period between the first and third centuries A.D and according to the calculations, the city’s population was around 80,000 during that period.

Considering that the ancient cities of Hierapolis and Tripolis had populations of around 40,000, Laodicea can be called a metropolis.