Ancient ampulla found in the ancient city of Dara
A 1,400-year-old ampulla (a glass or terracotta bottle in Rome) with the figure of Saint Menas has been found in the ancient city of Dara in the southeastern province of Mardin.
The head of the excavations, Kafkas University academic Professor Hüseyin Metin, said the ampulla was used by the pilgrims at that time to carry cosmetic materials such as fragrant holy water or oil.
“Even the fingerprints of the master who made this are on the ampulla. It is a priceless, first class material. This finding revealed that a holy pilgrimage was made from Dara to Egypt. Those who went to Egypt from Dara kept their cosmetic products such as fragrant holy water or oil in this ampulla.”
Saint Means was born in Egypt in the 3rd century and was killed during the Christian massacres in the reign of Diocletian.
Metin, drawing attention to the figure of Saint Menas on the ampulla, stated the story of this is also extremely important. “This artifact found during excavations in Dara is one of its best finds. The find also has a story. Ampulla has a similar feature to today’s fragrance bottles. There is a saint figure in the middle. There are kneeling camels on both sides and cross motifs on the top. These ampullae have standard forms. There are exactly similar examples in excavation sites such as in Africa, Anatolia Europe and some parts of Syria. The ones found in Western Anatolia are called
Western Anatolian ampullae and are quite different from this one,” he said.
As for the story of the saint, Metin said, “We know that the saint was a soldier in the Phrygian Region at the end of the 3rd century, during the reign of Diocletian. However, after the saint became a Christian and Diocletian had persecuted Christians, he left the army and secluded himself. Then the emperor killed him. His body was taken by his followers in the later period and buried in the Abu Mena region of Alexandria. The pilgrims, who visited Abu Aziz Menas, used to bring cosmetic products such as holy water, oil or fragrance in this type of materials. This find in Dara is very important because it had never been found here before.”